When opposition to the war in Vietnam grew inside the U.S. military, the movement was unprecedented in American history. Chronicled by David Cortright in Soldiers in Revolt, the GI movement played an important part in bringing that war to an end. Now a new movement among soldiers may be starting.
Nearly 500 active-duty service people have signed a message to members of Congress called “An Appeal for Redress.” It says, “As a patriotic American proud to serve the 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. Staying in Iraq will not work and is not worth the price. It is time for U.S. troops to come home.”
Two of the initiators of the appeal are Navy Seaman Jonathan Hutto, who served on a ship off the coast of Iraq, and Marine Sgt. Liam Madden, who served in the Anbar province of Iraq. Madden told The Washington Post, “I don’t think any more Iraqis or Americans should die because of the U.S. occupation.”
The goal is to have 2,000 signers of the appeal by Martin Luther King Jr. Day to deliver to Congress. “I think that’s easily attainable,” Madden told the Fredericksburg (Va.) Free Lance-Star. “There’s a seed of dissent in the military against this policy, and a core of people who are acting.”
When the soldiers are ready to come home, the war is on the way to being over.
Duane Shank is senior policy adviser at Sojourners/Call to Renewal. A version of this commentary appeared on the God’s Politics blog (www.godspolitics.com).