Another GI says he won't join invasion of Iraq

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Mon Feb 17 08:18:18 MST 2003


On the morning of February 15, I spoke at a press conference in support of
Sp/4 Ghanim Khalil, an Army National Guardsman where he announced that "If
I'm ordered to go to the Middle East, I will not go". Later that day he
repeated that pledge when he spoke at the United for Peace & Justice rally
in New York City.

Khalil, 26, is of Pakistani decent and an American citizen. He served 4
years in the Marine Corps and transferred to the Army National Guard to
finish his military enlistment. He is assigned to a supply unit in Brooklyn
where troops have been told "it's only a matter of time" before they're
mobilized.

I sent some time talking to Khalil over the past several days and learned
that he is a Sufi Muslim and that his opposition to this war is spiritual
and ethical as well as political.

He said "As a Muslim I have objections to this war. Muslim tenets forbid
taking a life except in self-defense. If this war begins, it is a violation
of human rights. It is about seizing others material possessions, natural
resources". He called his protest universal, saying that people of all
faiths have spoken out against war with Iraq.

Khalil is legally represented by Tod Ensign, director of Citizen Soldier, a
GI rights advocacy group based in NYC. He realizes he could go to jail for
disobeying orders but said that he is within his legal rights to speak out
against the war.

During the last Gulf War, the government used the slogan "support our
troops" to silence opposition and rally support for that war. Real support
for our servicemen and women means continuing to demand that they not be put
in harms way for anything other than legitimate defense of our country.

It also means supporting those brave servicemen and women who refuse to
fight an illegal and unjust war. I hope that the veterans movement will
extend our hand in solidarity and support to Ghanim Khalil and other
military resisters who may follow.
David Cline









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