Resistance in the US Military to the War on Iraq



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Resistance in the US Military
to the War on Iraq
ByAnn Wright
June 25, 2006

Nuremberg International Principles: It is Citizens’ Duty to STOP Its Government’s Illegal Actions

Taken from: http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/062506A.shtml
This article and the one below, Stop the Beast, published in this website on July 25, 2006.

Bill OReillyCuts the Mic to US ex-Colonel Ann Wright
Taken from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsuooIpnArQ

 

As a 29-year Army and Army Reserves veteran, I am horrified to see the politicization of theUS military under the Bush administration. The "ethics and professionalism" of theUS military has been targeted for destruction by the civilian appointees of this administration. They want "yes" men and women who do not question the legality of the policies of the administration. Tragically, from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs on down, Rumsfeld and crew have been successful in stifling professional discussion within the military, with the exception of former Army Chief of Staff Shinseki and now six retired generals. Under the Bush administration, there is no accountability or responsibility for criminal actions; privates and sergeants are court-martialed, while senior civilian and military leaders responsible for the criminal policies are free.

Despite the "yes, sir" attitude of senior military officers toward the Bush administration’s illegal policies, there is resistance within the US military to the war on Iraq. Military personnel know they have the right and duty to refuse illegal orders, including the order to deploy to an illegal war. They know the United States executed German and Japanese military officers and civilians for their participation in wars of aggression in World War II. They know that the Nuremberg principles adopted by the international community after World War II require civilians and military personnel to stop their government from committing illegal acts. Those in the military who dissent and resist what they know are illegal actions of the Bush administration are persons of the highest courage and conscience.

Resistance to the war on Iraq within the US military community is growing. Over eight thousand American soldiers are absent without leave (AWOL), most living underground in the United States. Many now refer to AWOL as "Against War of Lies" instead of Absent Without Leave. Individual non-public resistance in the military generally results in an administrative discharge without publicity. Thousands have turned themselves in to military authorities and have been administratively discharged from the military. US military bases discharge dozens of war resisters each week.

Public resistance by military personnel to the war on Iraq results in court-martial to make an example of the resister. Some military personnel have applied for conscience objector (CO) status. Most have been denied CO status and ten have been court-martialed and imprisoned for publicly refusing to obey orders to deploy to Iraq to commit criminal acts there, including murder by bombing innocent civilians, shooting innocent civilians, and torture. Those who refuse to deploy to Iraq and kill for the Bush administration generally receive more punishment than those who commit criminal acts of murder and torture.

Four women who had served in the military were honored last week at the annual War Resisters meeting in New York City. Three had applied for CO status and had been refused by the military. One is now imprisoned at Fort Lewis,Washington, for refusing weapons training and deployment. One completed her assignment inIraq and returned to become a co-founder of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW).

Hundreds of US military have chosen to resist the war by living in Canada, most under the radar of the now-conservative Canadian government. Twenty-fourUS military have publicly moved to Canada and are seeking political refugee status. They are supported by an incredible network of Canadians citizens and American war resisters from the Vietnam era who are now Canadian citizens, who assist the next generation of US military who resist illegal wars of aggression.

This weekend Iraq Veterans Against the War, Veterans for Peace and Gold Star Families for Peace, including Cindy Sheehan and myself, participated in Buffalo,New York, fundraisers for US war resisters living in Canada. We met seven of the twenty-four brave men and their families who have said that the Bush administration’s war on Iraq is a war crime and that their participation in the war would mean that they too are war criminals. While they are volunteers for the defense of our country, they are not "yes" men to the administration; they are "yes" men to the Constitution of the United States. They are persons of conscience who see the war for what it really is and are resisting the pressures to dutifully comply to military orders to conduct illegal actions.

Their decisions to live in Canada underscore the right of military personnel to challenge an illegal order and to live with the consequences of that challenge. They have chosen live in Canada with their families rather than being imprisoned for saying no to killing for the Bush administration’s goals. Should the security of the United States truly be threatened, they would defend it.

They live free of guilt of killing innocent Iraqis. But the decision to live in Canada comes with its own penalties. These brave soldiers and marines leave the support network of friends and buddies in the military. These persons of courage endure family divisions when family members do not agree with their decision to leave the military and go to Canada. These honorable men undertake the daily struggles of suddenly caring for their families in a new country. These honorable soldiers are unable to return to theUnited States until an amnesty is offered by a future president. But the consequences of this act of conscience mean these soldiers and marines will not have the lifelong guilt of murdering innocent civilians, nor the nightmares of seeing their friends blown up in a war whose purpose they believe is illegal and a war crime.

This week Army First Lieutenant Ehren Watada will become the first officer to refuse to deploy with his unit to Iraq. He will be the first officer of this war who refuses to participate in military actions guaranteed to destroy his future emotional, if not physical, life – and impact his family for decades to come. This week also marks the first time in this war that a church is offering sanctuary to war resisters. The membership of First United Methodist Church of Tacoma, Washington, just outside of FortLewis, where Lieutenant Watada is stationed, has said that they will resist the Bush administration’s illegal war by sheltering any who refuse to participate in the war.

Another aspect of resistance within the military community comes from retired generals who are now publicly questioning the military operational plans that have put US troops in jeopardy in Iraq and the impact of the war on Iraq on the military and its ability to respond to genuine threats to US national security.

For the twenty-nine years I was in the military, either on active duty or in the Reserves, my worst nightmare was that an administration would get the United States into a military conflict that I knew was illegal. Today, if I were recalled from the US Army’s Retired Ready Reserves, I would have to say, "I will not serve the Bush administration’s war on Iraq. I will not agree to be recalled. You will have to court-martial me as I will not participate in this illegal war of aggression, this war crime."

Acts of resistance, big and small, recognized nationally or never heard of by most, by military and civilians are all important elements of ending the illegal war, the war crime, committed by the Bush administration. People of conscience all over the country are refusing to be silent and are taking courageous steps to end the illegal war on Iraq.

What will you do to stop this illegal war?

Ann Wright
Ann Wright is a retired Colonel with 29 years in the US Army and Army Reserves and as a US diplomat for 16 years, and resisted the war on Iraq by resigning in March 2003 from her position as Deputy Chief of Mission, or Deputy Ambassador from the US Embassy in Mongolia.
Ann served in the diplomatic corps in
Nicaragua,Grenada,Somalia,Uzbekistan,Kyrgyzstan,Sierra Leone,Micronesia and Mongolia and helped reopen the US Embassy in Kabul,Afghanistan, in December, 2001. As a US military officer, she participated in post-conflict reconstruction in Grenada,Panama and Somalia. She received the State Department’s Award for Heroism as the acting US Ambassador during the evacuation of the international community during the brutal rebel takeover of Freetown,Sierra Leone, in 1997.
With her service in both the US military and the US State Department in areas of conflict all over the world, she felt the US invasion and occupation of an oil-rich Moslem country that had done nothing to the United States and was no threat to US national security would make the world more dangerous and place the United States in greater jeopardy. She believed the act of invading
Iraq would be an act of aggression, a war crime.
Two others from the
US diplomat corps also believed the Bush administration’s war on Iraq was illegal and resisted by resigning from the US government. As civilian US government employees, there was no penalty to their resistance to the war except giving up their careers.

Links:
GI Hotline
War Resisters Support Campaign-Canada
Peace Has No Borders
War Resisters League
Iraq Veterans Against the War
Veterans for Peace
Gold Star Families for Peace
Military Families Speak Out
The Real War Heroes

WWW.TRUTHOUT.ORG

Stop the Beast
ByMarjorie Cohn
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Monday 05 June 2006

«To date, the Iraq War represents the fullest and most relentless application of the Bush Agenda. The ‘freer and safer world’ envisioned by Bush and his administration is ultimately one of an ever-expanding American empire driven forward by the growing powers of the nation’s largest multinational corporations and unrivaled military.»

—Antonia Juhasz, The Bu$h Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time

In an annual security conference on Saturday, Donald Rumsfeld assured the audience, "We don’t intend to occupy [Iraq] for any period of time. Our troops would like to go home and they will go home."

Why, then, would the United States be building an enormous embassy in Baghdad and a base so large it eclipses Kosovo’s Camp Bondsteel, which had been the largest foreign US military base built since Vietnam?

The new embassy, which occupies a space two-thirds the area of the national mall inWashingtonDC, comprises 21 buildings that will house over 8,000 government officials. It has a huge pool, gym, theater, beauty salon, school, and six apartment buildings.

The gargantuan military base, CampAnaconda, occupies 15 square miles of Iraqi soil near Balad. The base is home to 20,000 soldiers and thousands of "contractors," or mercenaries. The aircraft runway at Anaconda is the second busiest in the world, behind only Chicago‘s O’Hare airport. And, depending on which report you read, between six and fourteen more US military bases are under construction in Iraq. It doesn’t appear we’ll be leaving anytime soon – or anytime, really.

Bush’s trumped-up war on Iraq has claimed nearly 2,500 US military lives and tens of thousands of Iraqi lives. Thousands of US soldiers suffer in military hospitals, most with head injuries, many missing limbs. Thousands more have PTSD [Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Editor’s N.] is in shambles from the war and Bush’s tax-cuts-for-the-rich. And America‘s moral standing in the world continues to plummet.

So, with all the construction activity in Iraq, and with an overextended military and an under funded budget, how could the Bush administration possibly consider expanding the fight and attacking Iran? Logic and reason say it couldn’t happen and shouldn’t happen. But this administration has rarely paid much heed to logic and reason.

The plan to attack Iran has long been in the works. Bush gave us a preview in January 2002 when he inaugurated it into his "axis of evil." His 2006 National Military Strategy says, "We may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran." On Saturday, Donald Rumsfeld called Iran the world’s leading terrorist nation. Does any of this have a familiar ring to it?

To understand why the US may attack Iran, one must consider the underlying motive of US militarism. The recent US strategy is calculated to maintain economic, political and military hegemony over oil-rich areas of the world. A 1992 draft of the Pentagon Defense Planning Guidance on post Cold War Strategy that was leaked to the New York Times said, "Our overall objective is to remain the predominant outside power in [the Middle East and Southwest Asia to] preserve US and Western access to the region’s oil."

Truthout writer Dahr Jamail, an independent journalist who spent eight months in occupiedIraq, told a gathering at Thomas Jefferson School of Law on Friday that the US has been conducting ongoing special operations inside Iran. He cited unmanned surveillance drones flying over Iran. Jamail predicts Bush will invade Iran before the November election.

Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern agrees with Jamail’s prediction, but thinks it will happen in June or July. "There is already one carrier task force there in the Gulf, two are steaming toward it at the last report I have at least – they will be there in another week or so," McGovern said on the Alex Jones Show.

Team Bush is following the same game plan used in the run-up to Iraq – hyping a threat that doesn’t exist and going through the motions of diplomacy.

Bush &Co. are not motivated by rationality. They act in the interests of the huge corporations, at the expense of humanity. During the Bush years, oil companies have earned record profits. Dick Cheney’s Halliburton has landed many of the juiciest contracts in Iraq. New Iraqi laws that US ambassador Paul Bremer put in place lock in significant advantages for US corporations in Iraq, including corporate control of Iraq‘s oil.

Neoconservative Thomas Friedman, in a March 1999 New York Times article illustrated by an American flag on a fist, accurately summed up US foreign policy:

«For globalism to work, America can’t be afraid to act like the almighty superpower that it is … The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist – McDonald’s cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the designer of the F-15. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley‘s technologies is called the United States Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.»

As long as we allow our government to pursue this strategy, Abu Ghraibs and Hadithas will continue to emerge, our soldiers and thousands of people in other countries will continue to die, and our economy will continue toward bankruptcy. It is up to us to stop the beast —now!

 

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