Call to Conscience from Veterans to Active Duty Troops and Reservists

Chiang Ching ChiangChing at
Sun Jan 19 19:08:18 MST 2003

Call to Conscience from Veterans to Active Duty Troops and Reservists
Revolutionary Worker #1183, January 19, 2003, posted at

The following is a statement issued by vets of the U.S. armed forces.
According to, "This statement is a product of a
group of veterans representing a variety of different political perspectives
and experiences."

Call to Conscience from Veterans to Active Duty Troops and Reservists

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 Basra--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, name, branch, years
Anton Black, Navy, 1977-84
Dave Blalock, Army 1968-71
Blase Bonpane, Marine Corps Reserve, 1948-50
Fr. Bob Bossie, SCJ, Air Force, 1955-59
Fredy Champagne, Army, 1965-66
Rick Campos, Air Force, 1969-71
James M. Craven, Army, 1963-66
Carl Dix, Army, 1968-72
Barry Donnan, British Army, 1987-93
Kenneth Dugan, Navy Corpsman, 1984-88
Jake Elkins, Marine Corps, 1965-69
Marcus Eriksen, Marine Corps, 1985-91
Todd Greenwood, Marine Corps, 1993-2001
Andres Hernandez, Naval Reserves, 1979-85
Robert Krzewinski, Navy, 1973-77
Marty Kunz, Navy, 1970-76
Ruth McKenney
Rob Moitoza, Navy, 1965-71
Stan Nishimura, Army, 1964-67
David Rees Morgan, British Royal Air Force, 1948-50
Wilson M. Powell, Air Force, 1950-54
Jeff Paterson, Marine Corps, 1986-90
Randy Rowland, Army, 1967-70
Darnell S. Summers, Army, 1966-70
Harold Taggart, Air Force, 1959-64
Joe Urgo, Air Force, 1967-68
David Wiggins MD, Army, Gulf War
Mike Wong, Army, 1969-75
Howard Zinn, Air Force, 1943-45

To sign this important call send signature to or contact Veterans Call to
Conscience (or VCC) at: 4742 42nd Ave SW #142, Seattle, WA, 98116-4553, Stmttotroops at


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