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Strong Opposition to the Iraq War in the US Military

Posted by libhom Sunday, August 02, 2009

From the NY Times 7/30/09:

A senior American military adviser in Baghdad has concluded in an unusually blunt memo that Iraqi forces suffer from entrenched deficiencies but are now able to protect the Iraqi government, and that it is time “for the U.S. to declare victory and go home.”

CODEPINK has some interesting commentary on the memo:
This is frustrating, if not welcome news, for millions of Americans involved in the peace movment, who’ve marched in the street, signed petitions, called Congress, worn “Boot Bush” buttons and more. They’ve called for an end to the war for six years, citing the same reasons at Reese and the common, basic idea that violence begets more violence, further alienates Iraqis and is not a productive strategy to effect change worldwide — unlike diplomacy (imagine if we all solved all problems with guns, bombs and occupation?). The U.S. military destroyed Iraqi infrastructure, killed thousands of innocent civilians and alienated most of the world with its effort, not to mention Iraqis. Troops must be withdrawn now so Iraq can stand on its feet. The same must happen in Afghanistan, as military presence there only helps to further destabilize it.

What interests me the most is that so many people in the corporate media act as if this memo is surprising. There has been a lot of opposition to the war on Iraq within the military for years. Our troops are threatened with discharges and imprisonment for speaking out against the war, yet no penalties are involved for any member of the military that wants to speak out for the war.

The Iraq War is much different than other wars the US is currently fighting, different in ways that make it especially frustrating for the military. Iraq did not attack the US, and we now know that the Bush regime was lying when they said Iraq had WMDs at the time of the invasion. Our troops on the ground see that no reconstruction of that country is happening, despite corporate media propaganda to the contrary.

The views of Iraq Veterans Against the War represent a significant faction, if not a majority, of our active duty troops in Iraq, despite propaganda to the contrary. These same propagandists would like us to forget that there was significant opposition in the war in the Pentagon before it even started.

Being forced to fight a brutal war that has nothing to do with defending the US is bound to alienate our active duty military. In some cases, it also is resulting in dangerous, even deadly behavior by our troops when they get home. The most common resulting violence is the violence that our Iraq War vets commit against themselves in suicides and suicide attempts. But, that isn't the whole story.

In mid July, Ten Percent noted a murder spree in Colorado by former Iraq War vets. Democracy Now has given national publicity to a series of stories on this by the Colorado Springs newspaper, the Gazette. Here's the summary paragraph from the 7/30/09 Democracy Now broadcast.
A startling two-part series published in the Gazette newspaper of Colorado Springs titled “Casualties of War” examines a part of war seldom discussed by the media or government officials: the difficulty of returning to civilian life after being trained to be a killer. The story focuses on a single battalion based at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, the 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment. Soldiers from the brigade have have been involved in brawls, beatings, rapes, drunk driving, drug deals, domestic violence, shootings, stabbings, kidnapping and suicides. The Army unit’s murder rate is 114 times the rate for Colorado Springs. We speak with the reporter who broke the story and get the Army’s response.

Iraq Veterans Against the War has done a lot of excellent work publicizing the atrocities during the war on Iraq during in their Winter Soldier project. Obviously, those atrocities have a horrific effect on the Iraqis. But, we don't have the luxury of ignoring the damage they do to our troops and how that damage lasts years after they return home.

Here are some examples of the carnage in Colorado Springs.
In August of 2007, twenty-four-year-old Louis Bressler robbed and shot a soldier he picked up on a street in Colorado Springs.

In December of 2007, three soldiers from the unit—Louis Bressler, Bruce Bastien and Kenneth Eastridge—left the bullet-riddled body of a soldier from their unit on a Colorado Springs street. Two months earlier, the same group intentionally drove into a woman walking to work. One of the soldiers then repeatedly stabbed her.

In May and June of 2008, police say Rudolfo Torres-Gandarilla and Jomar Falu-Vives drove around with an assault rifle, randomly shooting people.

In September of 2008, police say John Needham beat a former girlfriend to death.

Josh Butler was sent to prison for beating his pregnant wife. Months later, his child was born with severe birth defects and died. Butler blames himself, in part, for the child’s death.

While Fort Carson has instituted a number of new policies and programs to help returning soldiers adjust to civilian life, the killing has continued. In May, Thomas Woolly was charged with manslaughter after shooting a nineteen-year-old woman. Two weeks later, another member of the unit committed suicide in California.

An irony in all of this is that Colorado Springs is ground zero for the militant, Christian fundamentalist hate groups that strongly supported the Iraq War as a religious crusade.

I have to wonder how much of this is happening in other parts of the country, without the diligent reporting of the Gazette.

 

1 Responses to Strong Opposition to the Iraq War in the US Military

  1. bus Says:
  2. The other face of Barak Obama.

     

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