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There's something happening here: A new protest movement inside the military ... [View All]

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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-05-06 06:06 PM
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There's something happening here: A new protest movement inside the military ...
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Edited on Sun Nov-05-06 06:13 PM by ProSense

There's something happening here

A new protest movement inside the military -- including active-duty soldiers back from Iraq -- is calling on Congress to end the war immediately.

By Mark Benjamin

Nov. 02, 2006 | An extraordinary full-page antiwar ad appeared in the Sunday edition of the New York Times on Nov. 9, 1969. In it, 1,366 active-duty U.S. service members signed a statement calling for an end to the war in Vietnam. The signatures represented a tiny minority of the 3.5 million troops serving on active duty then -- but behind those signatures was a groundswell of dissent inside the military. With the Vietnam adventure sliding into an abyss, that dissent would become more apparent as an Army that included many conscripts faced ugly resistance from within: soldiers disobeying orders, deserting, using drugs, and even "fragging" their own officers with grenades.

Today, there are echoes of the Vietnam experience in the protracted Iraq war -- including a growing protest movement in the military. Its trappings are starkly different this time. Rather than insubordination and violence, it has formed around a form-letter campaign, presumably conducted within the bounds of military regulations that restrict what soldiers are allowed to say. Last week, a group of current troops, with support from a handful of antiwar organizations, announced plans to petition Congress with a collection of "appeals for redress," which call for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq. They had 65 signatures from active-duty troops and reservists.

Since then, the effort has quietly swelled to nearly 500 troops, and continues to grow. Organizers, including 22-year-old Marine Sgt. Liam Madden, say they are currently working to validate the identities of several hundred more troops who have signed on, and will send the validated collection of letters to the soldiers' respective congressional representatives in January.

The group already includes 76 officers, four of whom are colonels. And while that number is also quite small in comparison to the 1.4 million troops now on active duty, some participants and observers expect it will continue to grow rapidly, exposing significant and expanding disillusionment with the war in Iraq among the rank and file.

A minority of the troops who have signed on so far are reservists, while more than 75 percent are active-duty service members -- more than 60 percent of whom have served in Iraq. They include people like Madden, who served in Haditha, Iraq, with the 1st Battalion, 23rd Marines in late 2004 and early 2005.

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