Sound Off! (some recent comments)
(From Donna-A, soldiers Mom 12/21/06) I listen to
the news ,Bush talking about no one wanting our troops to pull out
I want them home in the USA.My son is over there fighting,
The holidays are so hard for me , I had to be put on medication
for stress, I
cant watch tv or the news.I talk to people and they all want our
troops home. I
would like to know where Bush is getting his information. Bring
our troops back
home. Iraq does not want us there, how clearer do you need it. God
(From an American
working on relief ni Baghdad 10/13) The Baghdad military security
operation plan lead by the US army and Iraqi forces offered by PM
Maliki is still going on since last few months, but still we have
no security and the situation is getting worse! Curfew is applied
every Friday in Baghdad and other areas to prevent Friday's Prayers
from taking place and some times the curfew goes few days more,
so everything close in the Capital including the airport! Baghdad
was shut down from Oct. 2nd through Oct. 4th for an instance.
(From a 16-year-old
girl in Baghdad 11/22/05) "The terrorists came because they
wanted to kill Americans. But now all the people who die in the
explosions are Iraqi!"
this is from Bush! He has a black heart, he has no fear of God,
he loves war. If I could, I would stab him in the heart and drink
his blood. By God, I would!"
returned from Iraq last weekend after a years service. I confess
to breathing much easier now that he is out of that quagmire.
I have a personal
request for all of you George W. Bush supporters and Christian warhawks:
please do not support my troop.
Only in a true
Orwellian society could citizens send off poorly trained and equipped
soldiers, serving in a politically correct military, led by a civilian
leadership that has spent the majority of their adult lives in a
revolving door between the military industrial complex and government
service, and call the damn thing, 'supporting the troops.'
was actually right for a change: there can be no support for the
troops without supporting the war and the government that sent them
there. Your misplaced support for the troops is actually support
for a criminal enterprise in which the military serves as the enforcement
arm of that enterprise. If you want to support the troops, do not
allow the State to send them to their deaths for corporate profits
in wars sired by lies!
an Army veteran of Vietnam, Grenada, and Beirut
From Canada: Jeremy Hinzman, 26
TORONTO--My name is Jeremy Hinzman. I was a specialist with the 82nd Airborne division.
I'm from South Dakota, from an area where there were not many jobs. I went through school believing that you got to be part of something bigger than yourself. I was also looking for structure and a sense of focus in my life. I didn't just want to make money; I wanted to do something meaningful, and the Army fit the bill on all of those accounts.
I thought that I might be sent to places like Grenada, Honduras or Panama. I knew that something else could happen, and that I maybe would be sent to war. I wasn't naïve in that respect. What I didn't know -- or understand at the time -- was how deeply repulsed I am by the prospect of taking somebody else's life. Even after going through the Army training, all those systematic processes put in place to make you overcome your moral barriers and kill another person, no matter how hard I tried -- and I assure you I tried very hard -- I couldn't bring myself to believe that killing could ever be justified.
I really liked the Army, the people I worked with, and I wanted to be a part of it all. I was really disappointed with myself that I couldn't be part of it. I applied first for conscientious objector status. The Army turned me down based on my answers to questions that they were not even supposed to ask. They asked me if I would help defend our camp in Kandahar -- at the time of my application I was serving in Afghanistan -- if it came under attack by the Taliban. "Would you help immobilize a burglar if you discovered that your house is being burglarized?" I answered.
In my mind these were two different situations. Preparing an attack requires a different logic. You don't just happen to carry out a raid on enemy positions. You start preparing well ahead of the action, first on white screen, then on a model of the terrain, and then you drill your action in the camp over and over again, sometimes for weeks. But they used my answer about the burglary as a reason for rejecting my request.
After that, I applied for non-combatant status. You see, I didn't want to leave the Army. But that application was denied, too. So I was left with the prospect of going to Iraq, to continue killing in another country, and this based on a false pretense. There were not weapons of mass destruction in Iraq; there was not a connection between the Baathist Party, al-Qaeda and other Islamic fundamentalists. And the notion of going in to establish a government friendly toward the U.S. didn't seem to me to be very much like fighting for democracy.
I was faced with arbitrary military justice and the possibility of going to Iraq to take part in acts of human rights violations. In a series of long, painful discussion, my wife and I decided to seek refugee status in Canada, a country that has a history of welcoming war resisters. It was a momentous decision that may mean that we will never be able again to go back to America.
Now we're waiting for the result of our appeal to Canadian Federal Court to overturn the decision to reject my application for refugee status taken by Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board. They decide based on the Geneva Convention on Refugees. The convention establishes that a soldier can refuse to participate in a war condemned by the international community and deemed illegal, which I think is the case with the war in Iraq.
Daryl Anderson, 22
I'm from Lawton, Ky. I was stationed in Eastern Germany with the Army. On Jan. 15, 2004, my contingent was sent to Iraq. We stayed in Baghdad for seven months, where I was wounded and awarded a Purple Heart. After that I was sent back to Germany, where I trained for six months for another tour of duty in Iraq. On Christmas, on leave in the U.S., I decided that I couldn't go back to Germany and from there to Iraq. If I went back to Baghdad I would have been asked again to kill people, civilians, and I just couldn't do that anymore.
I got in the Army to get an education, to get out of a bad neighborhood. Yes, I eventually got it, but at a great price.
First steps you take in Baghdad, you realize that there's death and destruction all over the place. No weapons of mass destruction in sight. We're fighting people that we're supposed to help, but in fact they hate you and every time you walk down the street they shoot at you because you occupy their country. You're asked to get in their houses, in their businesses, block the roads, but you're an occupying power, you're messing up their daily life. You're not a liberator. You raid their houses and kill their family.
If I was in their position, if a foreign power had occupied the U.S., I would do the same. I don't mean to say that they should kill American soldiers, but if I were an Iraqi I would be fighting alongside my neighbor to free my country and to defend my family, my house.
Because you're in Iraq in a kind of war situation and unable to distinguish friends from foe, you adopt these drastic measures. You commit these crimes, these acts that you would never do under normal conditions. And even though in your unit everybody is against what you're doing, nobody can say anything because you'll end up in jail. That's not what I had imagined when I enlisted.
Ivan Brobeck, 19
I was in the Marines. I joined in June 2003, and after boot camp in March of 2004 I was sent directly to Iraq. This wasn't at all unsettling to me. You see, I went into the Army because I wanted to fight the bad guys. In school during history classes I learned that the Army and the Marines had done all these wonderful things, and it all sounded so patriotic and I wanted to do the same. I wanted to fight for freedom.
I didn't care, and I still don't care, if I died fighting for a good and noble cause, which is what I wanted to do.
In Iraq, I found myself being the problem instead of the solution. A problem in a normal town, in the life of normal people, like the people here in Toronto, trying to go about their life and risking getting shot at by me. Innocent people getting killed for misunderstandings, and for even more trivial things. I found myself in situations with my partners where we had to shoot at speeding cars, at people that probably were just trying to get out of our way.
All these insurgents, as they call them, they're not. They're people who have nothing left. There was this guy who was mad at us because we had killed his family. Wife, children, everybody but him had been killed. He was seeking some kind of retribution. That is not an insurgent, that's a desperate man.
My ethnic background is Salvadoran; my mom is from El Salvador. So the fight against tyranny is something that is dear to me, considering the history of El Salvador. I believed that the war in Iraq was a just war, and it was not. Now, before I get involved again, I really have to see somebody overcoming my country with weapons in hand
NOTE: The following
is from the blog of Spc.
Michael J. Smith, 24, of Media, Penn just before he died on
January 11, 2004
"well.. i know i haven't been updating much, or really talking
about my time here, so i'm going to have a run down of some things.
1. don't ask me if i've killed anyone. i don't like this question.
just know i've done what i've had to, to survive, and this doesn't
mean i have or haven't.
2. this is a run down of whats happened to me personally since
i've been here.
a. been the victim of 3 roadside bombs (IED's) but haven't been
injured in any of them.
b. been in 8 firefights. i was shot in one of them, but it only
went through my cargo pocket, didn't hit my body.
c. been mortared more times than i can count. our unit is the most
heavily mortared unit since the start of the war. but we've had
no casulties from them, except for some vehicle damage.
d. i've been in more iraqi homes than i can count, and the people
seem nice, some of the time. i've had lunch with one family, and
i've detained another."
"so i think i might have made a mistake. too many things have
entered my mind recently. i don't know if it's because i've been
in 3-4 fire-fights, but i'm realizing some things. i'm not going
to go into it, but if you must know, ask and i'll say what i can.
i don't even know what i'm thinking anymore. i'm just taking this
one day at a time, one mission at a time. this place sucks."
"i've been thinking a lot lately . . . i know i've always
said i don't regret anything i've done in my life, but i think i
hi my name is  i am new to this group to my brother just got
sent to the
war he has just turned twenty one and i am  he called yesterday
had been his first day in iraq...he is scared and so am i.
A lot has been
made of the 72 virgin thing for Muslims but our young fighters are
a lot too. Those recruiters really do a number on these kids. They
promise them respect, glory and hero worship simply for putting
on the uniform. Or what about the inducement of a college education,
a signing bonus that seems like a lot of money for a poor kid, or
travel to exotic and exciting places around the world. That can
be pretty intoxicating and heady stuff for a young man or woman
who has little, if any, chance of attaining these things in civilian
too many things in this life, if it sounds too good to be true,
it usually is. But, by the time most kids (foreign or otherwise)
figure that out, they're in deep sh** and it's too late.
My husband is in the National Guard. He has only
been in Bahgdad/Falluja since November 4th but called me breifly
and had to suddenly go. Monday I got a call from my family tree
that informed me that my husband's LT had been injured and was being
sent home. My first thoughts were " WHAT THE HELL??!! YOU MEAN
MY HUSBAND ( AN IT COMPUTER TECHNICIAN) IS IN TRUE COMBAT WITH ONLY
4 MONTHS OF TRAINING IN THE U.S.!!!!
RE: Female Soldiers
Eyed For Combat - All it will take is one pregnant woman to get
killed in combat and heads will roll. It's not a matter of if, it's
a matter of when.
I have been thinking about this (how much military
families are spending out of pocket to outfit troops in Iraq). Since
[ ] has been so big on tax relief for "all" how about
everyone start writing to your senators and congressmen - so that
these receipts can be deducted straight off of your income tax returns!
See what [ ] says to that! I think with enough momentum, maybe the
news media would pick this up. It is just an atrocious crime that
our troops depend on family and friends for essentials - and I really
don't think that the general population is aware of exactly what
everyone is going through! Of course, I really like the image of
all the receipts being presented to the whitehouse directly for
reimbursement, but that would really be a monumental task to pull
(October 13) I received an email from my son who told me that he
had requested an absentee ballot almost a month ago and has received
no acknowledgement & NO BALLOT. I called the local supervisor
of elections and was informed that they had not received anything
from him. I mail pkgs to him that reach him in two weeks or slightly
less sometimes. So what could possibly prevent this request from
reaching this office in this length of time? So far, the grand promises
by the post office & others seems to have failed here. When
I called the elections supervisor's office this morning, the only
promise I got from them was "I will email your son". Well,
whoop-dee-doo. What good will an email do? Are they going to send
him an absentee ballot or not? So I called back and got a different
lady who took my request by phone and promised that she will mail
his absentee ballot today. Please check with your family member
who is overseas and see if they have received their absentee ballots.
According to the information that I have a family member can request
the ballot to be sent to your soldier.
My name is
[ ], and I am a military wife. My husband is currently serving in
Iraq, and he has been there since January 2004. This war has changed
every factor of my life. My mental health and well being has suffered
the worse. I am now diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, Severe,
PTSD, and nightmares of my husband being killed. I am now on so
much medication to deal with this, that I cannot work. I take 7
pills every night, just to sleep. I will never recover. Even when
he gets home, I will still have the symptoms and need to be treated
by a therapist and a psychiatrist. We tried to get him out on a
hardship discharge twice now, but to no avail, they deny it. His
first sgt just received his hardship because he kids weren't being
taken care of properly. Imagine that. It has always taken us a month
to get our turn down, and he got his approval in 3 days. Again,
imagine that. Wonder who was helping him in that?
My only support
person, my grandmother, passed away in July, and now, I have no
support person. I truly needed him here. The army didn't listen.
I have Dr. statements that say that they are concerned for my health
and safety. I weighed 140 in January, and now, 108. And, on a 5'3"
frame, needless to say, skin and bones. I can not eat without throwing
up. My nerves are shot, as i am sure that all the military wives
feel. The army still does not care. [ ] I can now express outloud
how I feel about all this, instead of being "proud". This
is a feeling I do not share with the other people. I am not "proud".
I am tramatized. I hope that this will help you with your speech.
Just a bunch of ramblings from a soldiers wife. Don't worry about
crying. That is something to be "proud" of. You truly
will express, in your tears, the grief of all of us whom this war
has directly altered their lives. Shed a few for me, no use in holding
it in. God Bless
Hello! My husband
is getting ready to deploy to Iraq and it's of course a difficult
time. I've decided to get involved in the solution which has made
dealing with the reality of this much easier. I'm proud of my husband
not because he's going to Iraq but because he's making his voice
heard loud and clear before we goes and will make his voice heard
when he returns. It takes a brave man to fight a war and an brave
many to fight against a war. While he's gone I want to do everything
I can to make his voice and the voice of thousands of other soldiers
heard. Although the politics of the war has disgusted me since day
one, I am more upset at how our soldiers are being treated. If your
war isn't popular enough that you can't get people to enlist, then
you shouldn't be fighting this war. Who is paying the price for
the fact that young men are lining up to fight? The soldiers who
put their faith in their commander in chief. These young men and
women are being tortured through the use of the stop loss, forced
reenlistments, deployment of the undeployable, etc. I've written
every news organization I can think of and all of my congressmen,
but I have been ignored! I want to get involved and help in any
way that I can! I was hoping you all could lead me in the direction
that is most effective. Any guidance you can
give will be greatly appreciated!
i sit here
this morning with a giant knot in my throat. i still don't feel
like a military mom. my son is in the military yes.... but i don't
think it was for the same reasons a true military person joins the
service and i think that's why he was so quick to seek the C.O.
status for discharge. In the beginning he strutted around in his
military uniform seeking approval from everyone he knew. his aunts,
uncles, friends and even went to eat lunch at the school in full
uniform with his siblings. It was overwhelming the respect he received
from everyone that reassured him he had made the right decision.
He had never received that kind of respect before.
His letters from boot camp and the calls home tore my heart out..
the cadences they sang ... the unraveling of all the years i'd put
into parenting... It was the most disturbing event i had ever attended
as I watched those soldiers graduate boot camp.I think we could
have become a proud military family for all the same reasons proud
military families do. it was immediate when we were deceived...
just like we had been in so many other ways before. It may be very
well be that remain a military mom if they don't let my son out.
but if they do......where do i belong? [ ]
i don't even have any money anymore that i can contribute...all
i can do is what i can do. if things keep going like they are i'm
not sure we're going to have a home for my son to come home to.
We no longer can afford health insurance, barely afford auto ins...
we're like millions of other people in this country who are being
squeezed so tight we can't help but to encourage the service for
our children cuz there ain't much else offering what they are...
and yet our kids don't understand why we can't go grocery shopping
this week...why can't we take dance classes, why can't we go on
a vacation, why can't we we get a drivers license.... it's getting
worse and worse and i can't help but to think it's planned along
side our economic development groups. If they can stick the military
in the No Child Left Behind legislation then they are bound to be
working with our local state and national chamber of commerce and
purposely squeezing our kids into the service. yeah... no draft
well i went from tears to anger in one email... thanks for letting
me vent ~
First and foremost,
I join the others who expressed their apologies to you for your
perception that [ ] is unwelcoming. I know there are lurkers on
all the "peace" boards out there. I learned the hard way
myself when I tried to get involved locally (I'm in [ ] - you think
it's easy here?) and found myself confronted with a jerk
transplanted from [ ] (he is a tax resister- how patriotic) telling
me my daughter is a murderer, and trained killer for being in the
Army. Hell, he never even met her! Oh, by the way she's not in Iraq,
she's [ ] . Does that count?
I wish we could
find a better way to communicate...we are all human beings and
we all owe our veterans tremendously. My family is VERY critical
of my being outspoken against the war, the president, etc, they
call me a communist, a socialist, and god knows what behind my back.
They say how can I say such things when my [ ] is risking his
life to defend my freedoms. I say HOW CAN I NOT when he is being
led by a stubborn, corrupt madman?! I
supported my son when he joined the military, in fact, I encouraged
it. He really wanted to & I knew that it would be the only way
he would get an education. I am very proud of him. And, anytime
I ever hear my fellow peace-activists speak in blanket statements
against military personnel, I always correct them.