Bush says Bring 'Em On, but we say BRING THEM HOME NOW
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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 of Iraq.
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 bless.

(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!"

"All of 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!"

"My son returned from Iraq last weekend after a year’s 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.'

Rush Limbaugh 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!

Michael Gaddy, 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 found one."

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 and it
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 promised 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 life.

Sadly, like 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 off

This morning (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 my a$$.

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.