War critics try to mobilize active-duty troops against Iraq war

War critics try to mobilize active-duty troops against Iraq war
October 25th, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: War critics try to mobilize active-duty troops against Iraq war

War critics try to mobilize active-duty troops against Iraq war
Media: The Associated Press
Date: 24 October 2006

WASHINGTON_Anti-war groups are trying to rally active troops to speak out
against the war in Iraq, a political tactic they hope will sway voters on
Nov. 7.

A small group of active-duty members opposed to the war created a Web site
last month intended to collect thousands of signatures of other service
members. A service member can submit his or her name, rank and duty station
if they support statements denouncing the U.S. invasion.

The electronic grievances are then passed along to members of Congress,
according to the Web site.

"Staying in Iraq will not work and is not worth the price. It is time for
U.S. troops to come home," the Web site says.

Jonathan Hutto, a Navy seaman based in Virginia, who set up the Web site a
month ago, said the group has collected 118 names and is trying to verify
that they are legitimate service members.

There are 1.4 million troops on active duty, including members of the
National Guard and Reserve.

Retired veterans long have waded into politics, including the 2004
presidential campaign challenges of the war record of Sen. John Kerry, the
Democratic candidate who lost to President George W. Bush. More recently,
several retired military generals have urged Defense Secretary Donald H.
Rumsfeld to resign, contending he botched the Iraq war and put troops
unnecessarily at risk.

Hearing publicly from active-duty troops is rare. Military law bars officers
from denouncing the president and other U.S. leaders, and regulations
typically prevent service members from lobbying for a particular cause while
on duty or wearing the uniform.

Legal experts who reviewed the Web site said the effort probably would not
violate any rules because the site is not a personal attack on members of
the administration and allows service members to quietly pass their
grievance to Congress in their free time.

Backers of the Web site also cite a "whistle-blower protection" law as added
cover. Under the law, service members can file complaints to Congress
without reprisal.

At least two senators, both critical of the administration's handling of the
war in Iraq, said they fear that service members speaking out against the
president could undermine the military's apolitical status.

"We expect our soldiers to follow ... the legitimate orders of their
commanders," said Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, who is helping lead
Democratic opposition to the war this election season.

"And if you feel a course of action is inappropriate, your choice is just
getting out of the service, basically, if you can and making your comments
as a civilian," said Reed, a U.S. Military Academy graduate and former Army
Ranger and paratrooper.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a former reserve judge for the Air Force, said vocal
complaints by active-duty members represent a "disturbing trend" that
threatened to erode the cohesiveness of the military.

"We've had a long tradition making sure the military doesn't engage in
political debate," said Graham, a Republican. "We don't need a Democratic
Army and a Republican Army."

Hutto and supporters of his Web site said they see no problem with
active-duty military personnel weighing into politics.

"We're doing this on our own time," Hutto said. Also, "We're speaking as
American citizens" rather than service members.

Scott Silliman, director of Duke University's Center on Law, Ethics and
National Security, said he sees the increasing political noise being made
from active and retired military members as a relatively new phenomenon that
results from an increasingly unpopular war.

"Fifteen, 20 years ago you wouldn't have seen it happen," Silliman said.

Still, Silliman said, he sees little wrong with troops speaking out on their
own time so long as they are not senior-ranking officers needed to carry out
the president's orders. "It depends certainly on who it is" ramping up
opposition to the executive branch, he said.

A Pentagon press officer did not respond to requests for comment left by
telephone and e-mail.
January 16th, 2007  
Bump. Their story made the Washington Post today.


Why They Fight -- From Within
Two Navy Men Create an Outlet For Military Protests on the Web
By Linton Weeks, Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 16, 2007; C01

NORFOLK, Jan. 15 -- For Jonathan Hutto and David Rogers, life has become something of a surreality show. The two Navy men, comrades in arms, are waging a war against a war.

Working from within, Hutto, Rogers and others have established AppealforRedress.org , a Web site that enables active-duty, reserve and National Guard troops to appeal directly to Congress to withdraw military personnel from Iraq. On Monday, the group held its coming-out news conference in Norfolk, announcing that more than 1,000 people have signed appeals. On Tuesday, the pleas will be presented to Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (D-Ohio) on Capitol Hill.

All of this comes at a time when President Bush is sending even more troops to war.

"Just because you joined the military doesn't mean your constitutional rights are suspended," said Hutto, a petty officer third class and 1999 Howard University graduate. "True patriotism is having a questioning attitude about the government."

Redress in this situation means relief, he said. "Relief from this war."

Hutto, 29, works in communications on an aircraft carrier. Rogers, 34, is quartermaster on a frigate. They've been friends since boot camp three years ago. Neither has served in Iraq. But they say 60 percent of the signers have served in the war. The signers are not lawbreakers, deserters or conscientious objectors, Hutto says. They believe in obeying orders.

Some, however, are reticent to appear in public. Organizers estimated that about two dozen active-duty members showed up at the Norfolk event, in a church near the naval base here. They were expecting 50. Hutto pointed out that many of the signers do not live in the Norfolk area.

The Appeal for Redress group has its critics. "The military's job is to carry out and implement foreign policy, not influence it," said Wade Zirkle, the executive director of Vets for Freedom. "That's what separates our country from military dictatorships. That's why we don't have military coups and military people running our country."

For military folks to appeal for redress "is un-American in principle," Zirkle said, and he pointed out that some of the organizers haven't even been to Iraq. A first lieutenant in the Marines, Zirkle served two tours there and was injured by a car bomb.

In between fielding phone calls and hanging banners for the rally, Hutto and Rogers paused for a moment in a downtown park on Sunday. A memorial to Martin Luther King Jr. loomed in the sunny distance. Both men wore Martin Luther King Jr. pins.

The idea for the within-the-ranks antiwar group came after Hutto read "Soldiers in Revolt: GI Resistance During the Vietnam War" by David Cortright. Hutto showed the book to Rogers. They invited Cortright to come to Norfolk.

"I was so impressed by the seriousness of the discussion," said Cortright, who teaches peace studies at the University of Notre Dame. He said it takes guts for active military members to speak out. "But they do it respectfully."

A specialist 4 during Vietnam, Cortright said there were hundreds of active-military antiwar groups by 1970. "They published underground newspapers, ran coffeehouses, organized demonstrations and protests," he said. He recalled that in 1969, a petition signed by more than 1,300 active-duty military people -- calling for a national protest against the Vietnam War -- ran in the New York Times.

A widely circulated appeal for redress is a new wrinkle made possible by the Internet. The plea is simply stated. Here is the nut: 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. The site is also sponsored by Iraq Veterans Against the War, Veterans for Peace and Military Families Speak Out.

Hutto launched the Web site in October. Signers include:

Kevin Torres, 23, from Brooklyn, a sergeant in the 101st Airborne who has served two tours in Iraq. "I felt like with our being there, we were making more enemies," he said. "The people hated us. They wanted us out of the city."

And Liam Madden, 22, a Marine sergeant from Vermont. He spent seven months on the ground in Iraq. "I saw Iraq struggling to get on its feet and failing to do so -- despite the best efforts of American military," he said. "I have nothing against the military or my experience. It's the policy I oppose."

Though Madden was braced for some sort of retribution, formal or informal, after he went public with his opposition to the war, "it never came," he said. "I give credit to my chain of command. After all, the appeal for redress is legal."

Madden helped to launch the site last fall. A portion is devoted to the rights and responsibilities of people in military service. A Defense Department directive allows members of the military to send a protected communication to a member of Congress on any matter without blowback.

Kucinich will meet today with representatives of the group to receive the appeals for redress and present them to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

"I think it's important for the troops to have a vehicle by which they can address Congress," Kucinich, a vociferous opponent of the war, said in a phone interview. "We need to hear from them."

He said warriors have the right to question their mission and not be like the cavalry in Alfred, Lord Tennyson's poem "The Charge of the Light Brigade": Theirs not to reason why /Theirs but to do and die.

Hutto and Rogers are aware that the Navy could become more directly involved if the United States turns its attention toward Iran. "I would go, with serious questions," Hutto said. "And with a bit of sorrow."

And, he said, "I would go because I'm in solidarity with the men and women I serve with."

Rogers agreed, though he said the whole affair -- being an antiwar warrior -- reminds him of the novel "Catch-22."

Neither sailor will be in Washington on Tuesday for the presentation of the appeals. Following previous orders, they both are headed to sea.

January 16th, 2007  
Checking United States Code on the matter.....

Title 18 Part I Chapter 115 § 2388

§ 2388. Activities affecting armed forces during war

(a) Whoever, when the United States is at war, willfully makes or conveys false reports or false statements with intent to interfere with the operation or success of the military or naval forces of the United States or to promote the success of its enemies; or
Whoever, when the United States is at war, willfully causes or attempts to cause insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, or refusal of duty, in the military or naval forces of the United States, or willfully obstructs the recruiting or enlistment service of the United States, to the injury of the service or the United States, or attempts to do so—
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.
(b) If two or more persons conspire to violate subsection (a) of this section and one or more such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each of the parties to such conspiracy shall be punished as provided in said subsection (a).
(c) Whoever harbors or conceals any person who he knows, or has reasonable grounds to believe or suspect, has committed, or is about to commit, an offense under this section, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.
(d) This section shall apply within the admiralty and maritime jurisdiction of the United States, and on the high seas, as well as within the United States.
I believe the Federal Government may have a case against them.... but that the DoJ had better tread lightly, because I also believe the Executive Branch violated the first part of subsection (a), by saying there were WMD's in Iraq, and that Iraq was the greater Threat to the United States of America, when the US Military was already engaged against a declared enemy in Afghanistan.

In both cases the claims about Iraq turned out to be untrue, and in my opinion, because of the Iraq War the US lost ground in the Afghan Op.
War critics try to mobilize active-duty troops against Iraq war

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