Brass reverses course on 3rd Infantry Division return after protests

Jose G. Perez jgperez at netzero.net
Thu Jul 17 17:45:55 MDT 2003


Faced with an outcry of protests from soldiers in the field in Iraq, and
a threatened "bring the troops home" meeting by military spouses near
its main base, Ft. Stewart, the Pentagon reversed a decision announced
only a couple of days ago that would have kept the bulk of the
Georgia-based Third Infantry Division in Iraq indefinitely.

At the same time, the Pentagon is moving to put a lid on the protests by
GI's and their families, with thinly-veiled threats from briefing rooms
against the rank and file soldiers who have exercised their
constitutional First Amendment right to freedom of speech.

"None of us that wear this uniform are free to say anything disparaging
about the secretary of defense or the president of the United States,"
said Gen. John Abizaid, the new head of Central Command. "We're not free
to do that. It's our professional code."

And it is clear that these threats are also being directed against the
spouses of GI's who have spoken out.

As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports, "Several wives of soldiers
in the 3rd Infantry Division had planned to hold a rally Saturday in
Hinesville [Georgia] to voice their objections to the troops being kept
in Iraq.
But they later canceled it. One woman said she feared her husband's
military career might be damaged if she spoke out."

This shows how low the generals stoop -- blackmailing spouses with
threats to rake reprisals against their husbands. But it shows something
else -- how deadly terrified the brass is of a "bring the troops home"
movement among military families and the GI's.

Nobody knows better than the rank-and-file soldier the truth about Iraq,
which is being kept from the American people by the corporate press:

* The war is not over; it continues with new clashes every day.

* The Iraqis haven't welcomed out troops as "liberators," but hate them
as foreign occupiers.

* The U.S. is not promoting  democracy or anything else like that in
Iraq; instead they are setting up quisling councils of collaborators to
serve as puppets, with the U.S. holding all the strings. Such a puppet
regime requires an army of occupation to prop it up.

Many if not most of the GI's and family members who have been speaking
out haven't yet drawn general antiwar conclusions. They are focused on
their own situation, those of their buddies and their loved ones. 

Yet by revealing the real situation in the country and the real
experiences and sentiments of those Bush has sent to kill and be killed,
they make a powerful contribution to the American people coming to grips
with this war and understanding that this war is not our war; it is not
a war of liberation but of domination; it is not a war for freedom but
for oil.

They deserve our unstinting support as they battle with the military
brass.

José

*  *  *

FROM the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

General vows to send home 3rd Infantry
George Edmonson - Staff
Thursday, July 17, 2003


Washington --- The general in charge of U.S. troops in Iraq said
Wednesday the Army's 3rd Infantry Division, an early and heavily
involved unit during the war, will return to the United States by
September. 

Gen. John Abizaid, commander of U.S. Central Command, said at a Pentagon
briefing that the need to replace troops who are sent home led to some
soldiers in Iraq being told that "not only will you not come home when
we told you, but you're delayed indefinitely. And I'd say indefinitely
is certainly the wrong answer." 

[...]

Several wives of soldiers in the 3rd Infantry Division had planned to
hold a rally Saturday in Hinesville to voice their objections to the
troops being kept in Iraq. But they later canceled it. One woman said
she feared her husband's military career might be damaged if she spoke
out. 

[...] 

Asked about comments in news reports by some service members who were
critical of Rumsfeld or the mission in Iraq, Abizaid said he was
saddened. "None of us that wear this uniform are free to say anything
disparaging about the secretary of defense or the president of the
United States," he said. "We're not free to do that. It's our
professional code." 


http://www.ajc.com/thursday/content/epaper/editions/thursday/news_f361a3
b6f6ab81e8002c.html

See also:
    
http://www.athensnewspapers.com/stories/071703/new_20030717041.shtml






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