Mar 162013

Call to Conscience from American Armed Forces Veterans to Active Duty Troops and Reservists

Date: 1/14/2003 10:49:12 PM

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 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 Basraa – 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


The date posted here is due to our website rebuild, it does not reflect the original date this article was posted. This article was originally posted in Yonip in 2003




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