Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Military Personnel Present Iraq Petition at Capitol

I thought this was a pretty bold move by these service members and they really deserve the credit that is due to them. I do recommend going to NPR's webpage and hearing the audio clip.

Military Personnel Present Iraq Petition at Capitol

by David Welna
All Things Considered, January 16, 2007 · Active-duty members of the U.S. armed forces visit Capitol Hill to present more than 1,000 signatures demanding that lawmakers cut off funding for the Iraq war. They say that most of the people who signed the Appeal for Redress have served in Iraq, while others expect to be sent there. Two House Democrats received the petition and promised to urge the entire House to consider it.

One of those presenting the petition was Marine Sgt. Liam Madden, 22, who, two years, ago did combat duty in Iraq's turbulent Anbar province. Madden dressed in a civilian coat and tie in a chilling wind outside the Capitol to formally present the 1,028 appeals for redress from other active-duty forces — 60 percent of them fellow Iraq veterans.

"We will not tolerate the rhetoric that we must support the troops by funding a war that puts them in harm's way," Madden said. "If you are funding a war that puts them in harm's way, you are not supporting them. You are endangering their lives for a war that cannot be justified, has not been justified and will not work."

The actual text of the Appeal for Redress reads, "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."

California Army National Guard Sgt. Jabbar Magruder, 24, who also fought two years ago in Iraq, visited the Capitol along with Madden. He too, dressed in civilian clothes. He said he had not told his commander about the appeal he signed.

Ohio Democrat Dennis Kucinich, a longtime opponent of the war and also a presidential contender, received the documents.

"The action taken here by individual service members is an appeal for redress to end the war in Iraq," Kucinich said. "As you know, these troops have risked their careers to deliver this message to Congress."

None of the three active -duty servicemembers who were at the Capitol Hill event reported any reprisals from military superiors. Massachusetts Democrat Jim McGovern promised them Congress will act on their demands.

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