'Our Troops Are Now Oppressors'
US Military Families Tell Bush


WASHINGTON (AFP, Arab News) -- The families of more than 600 US troops in Iraq have launched a campaign for their return, bitterly criticizing President George W. Bush's reasons for going to war and what they see as his belittlement of the risks.
"George Bush said, 'Bring them on,'" said Nancy Lessin, co-founder of Military Families Speak Out, referring to the president's response to post-war attacks on US troops occupying post-war Iraq. "Those three words galvanized Military Families Speak Out, Veterans for Peace and other veterans' organizations to initiate the campaign we are launching today," she said.
"We say, 'Bring them home now.' Bring them home because our troops should not have been in Iraq in the first place. "Bring them home because there was no imminent danger to the United States. Bring them home because there were no weapons of mass destruction. Bring them home because there was no link between Al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein," said Lessin.
"We are here today to say it was wrong for the US to invade Iraq, it is wrong for the US to be occupying Iraq, and there is no right way to do a wrong thing."
Members of her group rallied in Washington on Wednesday and Thursday at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, home of the 82nd Airborne Infantry. They stressed that most of them were Republicans, had voted for Bush and had supported the war based on intelligence presented early this year. "From proud liberators in the great American tradition, our troops have become oppressors and occupiers in a hostile nation," said Susan Shuman, whose son is in the Massachusetts National Guard serving in Iraq.
"Our troops are stuck in a quagmire of urban desert guerrilla warfare for which they are not prepared or equipped," she said. "My question to Mr. Bush is, 'How many more of our sons do you need to bring our children home?'" said Fernando Suarez de Solar, whose son, Jesus Alberto, was killed in action in Iraq. "How many American lives are worth one gallon of oil?," he mused.
Stan Goff of Raleigh, North Carolina, a 26-year career soldier and retired Special Forces master Sergeant, was bitter about the war.
"You know, in all the administration's fictions of weapons of mass destruction and nuclear programs and... the phony Al-Qaeda connections that are being exposed as fabrications, this is not the rule of law," he said. "This is the rule of bombs and bullets. These are rich men in very expensive suits conducting statecraft like gangsters.
"The US does have a responsibility to Iraq and to the people of Iraq to clean up the mess that we have made," said Charlie Richardson, co-founder of Military Families Speak Out. But, he added, "It can't be done with US troops. In launching the 'Bring Them Home Now' campaign, we are calling on military families and others in the military and veterans communities to speak out against the use of our troops as cannon fodder ... against the reckless occupation of Iraq."
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