David Cortright: Soldiers Say 'No' to Escalation in Iraq
Active duty service members are saying no to Bush's proposed escalation of the war in Iraq. On January 16, to commemorate Martin Luther King day, messages are being delivered to Congress from more than 1,000 active duty and Guard and Reserve service members who are opposed to the war in Iraq and have signed the Appeal for Redress. The message of the Appeal is patriotic and respectful in tone but clear it its rejection of the war. It reads:
As a patriotic American proud to serve my nation in uniform, I respectfully urge my political leaders in Congress to support the prompt withdrawal of all American military forces and bases from Iraq. I believe that staying in Iraq will not work and is not worth the price. It is time for U.S. troops to come home.
The Appeal is the largest and most significant expression of anti-war sentiment in the ranks of the military since the Vietnam War, when a large scale GI peace movement developed. The Appeal is reminiscent of, and was inspired by, the full page ad that appeared in The New York Times on November 9, 1969, in which 1,366 active duty members of the military called for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Vietnam.
The Appeal for Redress is an indication of the widespread doubts about the war that exist in the ranks of the military today. These doubts will grow in the coming months as service members find themselves re-deployed back to Iraq, or forced to remain in-country for extended tours of duty. People in the military are being forced to pay the price for Bush's failed policies. They are speaking out against that policy, and for an end to the military occupation. They deserve our support.
David Cortright is a board member of Sojourners/Call to Renewal. He is research fellow at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame and president of the Fourth Freedom Forum.