Active-Duty US Military Members Challenge War on ’60 Minutes’

February 24th, 2007 - by admin

The – 2007-02-24 10:09:32

(February 22, 2007) — They say they are not disloyal. They say they are not shirking their duty and that they do not oppose war. But over 1,000 active-duty and reserve members of the U.S. military are against the war in Iraq and have said so in an unusually public way — by petitioning Congress last month. Several of them appear to explain their actions in a Lara Logan report to be broadcast on 60 MINUTES Sunday Feb. 25 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

“I’m not anti-war. I’m not a pacifist. I’m not opposed to protecting our country and defending our principles,” says Navy Petty Officer Jonathan Hutto, an Iraq war veteran who, along with another veteran, initiated the petition.

A 1995 law called the Military Whistleblower act enables military personnel to express their own opinions about Iraq in protected communication directly to Congress. Hutto and others spoke with 60 MINUTES while off duty, off base and out of uniform as conscientious citizens. “But at the same time, as citizens, it’s our obligation to have a questioning attitude… about policy,” Hutto tells Logan.

Marine Sgt. Liam Madden, who helped Hutto to found the organization they call Appeal for Redress that has attracted 1,000 other military members, is more blunt. “Just because we volunteered for the military doesn’t mean we volunteered to put our lives in unnecessary harm and to carry out missions that are illogical and immoral.”

These GIs and others Logan spoke with expressed frustration with their efforts in Iraq and believe there is no end in sight to the war. Other Iraqi war veterans still on duty there believe Appeal for Redress misses a larger point. “As an American soldier, I feel like we took an oath to obey the orders of our commander-in-chief and officers appointed over us,” says Army Spec. James Smauldon.

Said another serviceman in Iraq, Army Capt. Lawrence Nunn, “I know what IÕm here fighting for, to give the Iraqi people some democracy and hope, so I am 100 percent behind this mission. You don’t sign up to pick which war you go to.”

Another Appeal for Redress member counters, “Our leadership gets to choose the mission. Congress gets to choose the mission,” Staff Sgt. Matt Nuckolls says. He’s loyally committed to whatever Congress wants him to do but savors the right to question it. “My Congressman is Lacy Clay. I would like to tell him as a constituent of his, ‘Is the mission in Iraq really what you want us to be doing?’ And then [if] he responds yes, okay, well, we go back to Iraq and keep doing what we’re doing.”

An Appeal for Redress from the War in Iraq
Appeal for Redress

Many active duty, reserve, and guard service members are concerned about the war in Iraq and support the withdrawal of U.S. troops. The Appeal for Redress provides a way in which individual service members can appeal to their Congressional Representative and US Senators to urge an end to the U.S. military occupation. The first Appeal signatures messages will be were delivered to members of Congress on January 16, to coincide with at the time of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in January 2007.

The wording of the Appeal for Redress is short and simple. It is patriotic and respectful in tone.

As a patriotic American proud to serve the nation in uniform, I respectfully urge my political leaders in Congress to support the prompt withdrawal of all American military forces and bases from Iraq . Staying in Iraq will not work and is not worth the price. It is time for U.S. troops to come home.

If you agree with this message, click here.
The Appeal for Redress is sponsored by active duty service members based in the Norfolk area and by a sponsoring committee of veterans and military family members. The Sponsoring committee consists of Iraq Veterans Against the War, Veterans For Peace, and Military Families Speak Out.

Members of the military have a legal right to communicate with their member of Congress. To learn more about the rights and restrictions that apply to service members click here.

Attorneys and counselors experienced in military law are available to help service members who need assistance in countering any attempts to suppress this communication with members of Congress.

Appeal for Redress
PO Box 53052
Washington, DC 20009-3052
Phone: 360-241-1414_Fax: 360-694-8843