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Volume 2, Number 50              January 26 - February 1, 2003            Quezon City, Philippines

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Veterans Speak Out on Bush's Iraq-Attack


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A Call to Conscience from Veterans to Active Duty Troops and Reservists

We are veterans of the United States armed forces.  We stand with the majority of humanity, including millions in our own country, in opposition to the United States’ all-out war on Iraq.

We span many wars and eras, have many political views and we all agree that this war is wrong.  Many of us believed serving in the military was our duty, and our job was to defend this country.  Our experiences in the military caused us to question much of what we were taught.  Now, we see that our REAL duty is to encourage you as members of the U.S. armed forces to find out what you are being sent to fight and die for, and what the consequences of your actions will be for humanity.

We call upon you, the active duty and reservists, to follow your conscience and do the right thing.

In the last Gulf War, as troops, we were ordered to murder from a safe distance.  We destroyed much of Iraq from the air, killing hundreds of thousands, including civilians.  We remember the road to Basra -- the "Highway of Death" -- where we were ordered to kill fleeing Iraqis.  We bulldozed trenches, burying people alive.

The use of depleted uranium weapons left the battlefields radioactive.  Massive use of pesticides, experimental drugs, burning chemical weapons depots and oil fires combined to create a toxic cocktail affecting both the Iraqi people and Gulf War veterans today.  One in four Gulf War veterans is disabled.

During the Vietnam War we were ordered to destroy Vietnam from the air and on the ground.  At My Lai we massacred over 500 women, children and old men.  This was not an aberration -- it's how we fought the war.  We used Agent Orange on the enemy and then experienced first hand its effects.

We know what Post Traumatic Stress Disorder looks, feels and tastes like because the ghosts of over two million men, women and children still haunt our dreams.  More of us took our own lives after returning home than died in battle.

If you choose to participate in the invasion of Iraq, you will be part of an occupying army.  Do you know what it is like to look into the eyes of a people that hate you to your core?

You should think about what your “mission” really is.  You are being sent to invade and occupy a people who, like you and me, are only trying to live their lives and raise their kids.  They pose no threat to the United States even though they have a brutal dictator as their leader.  Who is the U.S. to tell the Iraqi people how to run their country when many in the U.S. don't even believe their own President was legally elected?

Saddam is being vilified for gassing his own people and trying to develop weapons of mass destruction.  However, when Saddam committed his worst crimes, the U.S. was supporting him.  This support included providing the means to produce chemical and biological weapons.

Contrast this with the horrendous results of the U.S. led economic "sanctions."  More than a million Iraqis, mainly children and infants, have died because of these sanctions.  After having destroyed the entire infrastructure of their country -- including hospitals, electricity generators, and water treatment plants --  the U.S. then, with the sanctions, stopped the import of goods, medicines, parts, and chemicals necessary to restore even the most basic necessities of life.

There is no honor in murder.  This war is murder by another name.  When, in an unjust war, an errant bomb dropped kills a mother and her child it is not "collateral damage," it is murder.  When, in an unjust war, a child dies of dysentery because a bomb damaged a sewage treatment plant, it is not "destroying enemy infrastructure," it is murder.  When, in an unjust war, a father dies of a heart attack because a bomb disrupted the phone lines so he could not call an ambulance, it is not "neutralizing command and control facilities," it is murder.  When, in an unjust war, a thousand poor farmer conscripts die in a trench defending a town they have lived in their whole lives, it is not victory, it is murder.

There will be veterans leading protests against this war on Iraq and your participation in it.  During the Vietnam War, thousands in Vietnam and in the U.S. refused to follow orders.  Many resisted and rebelled.  Many became conscientious objectors and others went to prison rather than bear arms against the so-called "enemy."  During the last Gulf War many GIs resisted in various ways and for many different reasons.  Many of us came out of these wars and joined with the anti-war movement.

If the people of the world are ever to be free, there must come a time when being a citizen of the world takes precedence over being the soldier of a nation.  Now is that time.  When orders come to ship out, your response will profoundly impact the lives of millions of people in the Middle East and here at home.

Your response will help set the course of our future.  You will have choices all along the way.  Your commanders want you to obey.  We urge you to think.  We urge you to make your choices based on your conscience.

If you choose to resist, we will support you and stand with you because we have come to understand that our REAL duty is to the people of the world and to our common future.

Veteran signers as of January 31, 2003:

Ed Armas, Army, 1962-1965
Peter B. AShaw, Marine Corps, 1951-1954
Tarik Aziz, Army, 1970-1975
Niall Aslen, Royal Air Force, 1962-1986
Aram Attarian II, Air Force, 1965-1966
Collin Baber, Air Force, 1994-1998
David E Baker, Army, 1988-1991
Philip L. Bereano, USPHS, 1966-1970
Anton Black, Navy, 1977-1984
Dave Blalock, Army 1968-1971
Michael Blankschen, Army, 1972-1973
David Bledsoe, Air Force, 1987-1997
Louis Block, Army, 1966-1972
Blase Bonpane, Marine Corps Reserve, 1948-1950
Fr. Bob Bossie, SCJ, Air Force, 1955-1959
Don Broadwell, Marine Corps, 1960-1966
Roger W Brown, Marine Corps, 1957-1960
Greg Busby, Air Force, 1980-2000
Rick Campos, Air Force, 1969-1971
William J. Cavanaugh, Army, 1951-1953; Army Reserve, 1953-1982
Fredy Champagne, Army, 1965-1966
Elwood A. Chirrick, Navy, 1970-1972
Debra J. Clark, Army, 1976-1984
Rockney Compton, Army, 1967-1974
James M. Craven, Army, 1963-1966
Charlotte Critcher, Army, 1964-1971
Carl Dix, Army, 1968-1972
Barry Donnan, British Army, 1987-1993
Pat Driscoll, Navy, 1972-1975
Kenneth Dugan, Navy, 1984-1988
Jake Elkins, Marine Corps, 1965-1969
Marcus Eriksen, Marine Corps, 1985-1991
T. Patrick Foley, Navy, 1997-2000
Dr. Ray Foster, Army, 1972-1975
Lou Fox, Army, 1965
Dean Friend, Marine Corps, 1981-1985
India Mahdi Gamboa, Air Force, 1985-1987
Ernest Goitein, Army, 1943-1945
Jay R Goodman, Army, 1969-1970
Todd Greenwood, Marine Corps, 1993-2001
James F. Harrington, Air Force, 1966-1967
Rev. Richard K. Heacock, Jr., Navy, 1944-1946
Glenn Helkenn, Army, 7 yrs
Dud Hendrick, Air Force, 1963-1967
Rodger Herbst, Army, 1969-1971
Andres Hernandez, Navy Reserve, 1979-1985
John Hockman, Army, 1963-1965
Walter Hrozenchik, Navy, 1951-1955
Eric Edward Johansson, Army, 1989-1992
James Michael Kearney, Army, 1963-1965
Keith Keller, Air Force, 1966-1972
Ron Kovic, Marine Corps, 1964-1968
Robert Krezewinski, Navy, 1973-1977
Marty Kunz, Navy, 1970-1976
Krystal Kyer, Navy, 1993-1997
Neal Liden, Navy, 1965-1969
Mark McCleary, Navy, 1996-2002
Teresa Media, Navy, 1972-1977
Jack Minassian, Army, 1943-1945
Michael Moore, Army, 1975-1979
Paul S. Moorhead, Navy, 1943-1946
Catherine Morris, Marine Corps, 1981-85 & Army Nat Guard, 1989-96
Paul Pat Morse, Air Force, 1965-1968
Bryan Morrison, Air Force, 1994-1998
Stan Nishimura, Army, 1964-1967
Bruce McFarland, Navy, 1982-1986
Rob Moitoza, Navy, 1965-1971
Dale L. Morgan, Air Force, 1956-1960
David Rees Morgan, British Royal Air Force, 1948-1950
John J. Pagoda, Air Force, 1965-1968 and 1985-1998
Todd A. Papasadero, Army, 1983-1989
John Pappademos, Naval Reserves, 1943-1946
Jeff Paterson, Marine Corps, 1986-1990
Wilson M. Powell, Air Force, 1950-1954
Erwin Rommel, Army, 22 yrs
Randy Rowland, Army, 1967-1970
Rodney A Rylander, Air Force, 1962-1967
Lee Santa, Army, 1965-1968
Nikko Schoch, Army, 1968-1970
Betty R. Scott, Navy, 1943-1945
Charles T. Smith, Army, 1969-1971
John Steinbach, Coast Guard, 1965-1969
Darnell S. Summers, Army, 1966-1970
Thomas Swift, Army, 1953-1955
Harold Taggart, Air Force, 1959-1964
Toby Tahja-Syrett, Army, 1992-1996
Tom Trigg, Army, 1967-1975
Joe Urgo, Air Force, 1967-1968
Gerald Waite, Army, 1967-1982
William H. Warrick III MD, Army Security Agency, 1968-1971
Joel Wendland, Army, 1991-1993
David Wiggins MD, Army, Gulf War
John P. Wirtz, Army, 1943-1946
Mike Wong, Army, 1969-1975
Howard Zinn, Air Force, 1943-1945

Please reprint and forward to other veterans.

"One is called to live nonviolently, even if the change one works for seems impossible. It may or may not be possible to turn the US around through nonviolent revolution. But one thing favors such an attempt: the total inability of violence to change anything for the better." - Daniel Berrigan

"We're not made by God to mass kill one another ... and that's backed up by the Gospel. Lying and war are always associated. Pay attention to war-makers when they try to defend their current war…if they move their lips they're lying."--Phil Berrigan

“If you see injustice and say nothing, you have taken the side of the oppressor.”Desmund Tutu.

"If any preacher tells you that personal salvation can be achieved without first paying attention to social justice, you may know by this sign alone that you are listening to a false prophet."--Sydney Harris

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