CSMS Magazine Staff WritersAbout one hundred US troops serving in Iraq have sent “Appeals for Redress” to members of Congress, urging “the prompt withdrawal of all American military forces and bases from Iraq.” This action is perfectly normal because under the Military Whistle-Blower Protection Act, active-duty military, National Guard and reservists are allowed to file and send a protected communication to a member of Congress on any subject without reprisal.However, the action marks the first time that active-duty officers have sent petitions to Congress requesting an end to the Iraq war. CSMS Magazine has learned that the organizations sponsoring the effort are Iraq Veterans Against the War, Military Families Speak Out and Veterans for Peace.Under the military code, active members can speak out only while off duty and out of uniform, making clear that they are not speaking for the military. Also, they are not allowed to say anything disrespectful about their commanders or the president.Two active-duty servicemen have taken the risky step of publicly representing the campaign: Jonathan Hutto, a Navy seaman stationed in Norfolk, Virginia, and Liam Madden, a Marine Corps sergeant in Quantico, Virginia. Madden spent six months in Iraq.Hutto and Madden, as well as a female member of the military who remained anonymous, spoke at a media teleconference yesterday. Hutto told the media that he had come up with the idea for the appeals drive in January 2006. While deployed in a ship off the coast of Iraq he read a copy of David Cortright’s Soldiers in Revolt: GI Resistance During the Vietnam War.The GI movement, explained Hutto, was comprised of “active-duty, sailors, marines and soldiers in the military during the Vietnam War who advocated and fought to end that war and bring the troops home…. By 1971, over 250,000 of these active-duty service people” had petitioned their political leaders.Today’s appeal, said the sailor, states “that the Iraq war should come to an end and that we should end the occupation and bring the troops home.” He believes that the resources being spent on the war should be redirected to solving the economic and social problems at home.Madden, 22, added: “I oppose the war in Iraq and I feel it is my duty not as a Marine but as an informed citizen to tell other service members that there’s a powerful tool available to them…. The real grievances are: why are we in Iraq if the weapons of mass destruction are not found, if the links to Al Qaeda are not substantiated?“If democracy is our goal, I believe we’re going about it all wrong and the occupation is perpetuating more violence. I think it’s the biggest destabilizing thing we can do in the Middle East. Furthermore, it’s costing way too many Iraqi civilian and service members’ lives…. The only people who benefit in my eyes—visibly see the benefit—are corporations, such as Halliburton….If people want to support the troops, then they should support our coming home.”It is no surprise that soldiers are publicly questioning the war. More than 90 servicemen have died in Iraq, this month alone. The end is nowhere near according to most experts in the field.Also see Iraq: The embarrassing impasse: http://www.csmsmagazine.org/news.php?pg=20061022I311
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