A group of active duty soldiers, called a "grassroots group" by some in the media, is speaking out against the war in Iraq and calling on Congress to bring the troops home. Fine with me - they have every right to speak their mind (I know nothing about the military rules - I'm speaking in the realm of First Amendment rights). Having the freedom to speak out is one of the great benefits of living in the United States of America.
BUT it is disconcerting and disingenuous to report this group as a simple grassroots group trying to get their voices heard. The "Appeal for Redress" group is sponsored by three of the most virulent anti-war groups that use their "desire for peace" as a cover for their blatant anti-Americanism. You've heard of these groups - Veterans for Peace, Military Families Speak Out and Iraq Veterans Against the War. Whenever you see Cindy Sheehan or any of her comrades, you will see members of these organizations. VFP and IVAW members include several deserters, conscientious objectors and some "soldiers" that turned out to not be what they portrayed. Some members claim to have witnessed war crimes including the wholesale slaughter of innocent Iraqi women and children. Some members traveled to Venezuela with CodePink to pay homage to Chavez. Some have testified at "global" forums against America, the terrorist state.
Take for instance the "talking points" on the Veterans for Peace website. The list includes war crimes, abuse at Abu Ghraib, Military Industrial Complex, Gitmo abuse, military suicide, military rape and other negative military presentations. VFP lists the grievances that accompany the petition touted on Appeals for Redress but do not appear on the petition website –
1. The fabricated justification for war (nonexistent weapons of mass destruction)
2. The failure to provide troops adequate protection and preparation for combat
3. The human cost in thousands of deaths and severe injuries among American service members and the suffering of the Iraqi people
4. The economic cost to American taxpayers and diversion of resources from other priorities (inadequate response to Katrina, etc.)
Or pop over to the FAQ's at the Iraq Veterans Against the War website. You can read why they do not support the war in Iraq. The reasons include corporate profiteering, violations of international law, diversion of funds from Katrina rebuilding, military racism and discrimination and civilian deaths. They support the Murtha plan of "cut and run". America is the bad guy - not the terrorists.
Then there is the issue of the spokeman for "Appeals for Redress" featured in the media reports. Jonathan Hutto is described as a Navy seaman based in Norfolk VA who set up the website a month ago. But the media failed to report on Mr. Hutto's less than pro-American background.
According to his own writings, Hutto "enlisted in the United States Navy in January of 2004" after "working at non-profit organizations and an unsuccessful stint at teaching 5th grade post graduating from Howard University in 1999." The non-profit organization Hutto worked for was Amnesty International - not your typical voluteer organization. In 2002, Hutto was Membership Program Coordinator for the Mid-Atlantic Region of Amnesty International.
In 2001, Hutto was a speaker at The Fight against Police Violence: from Cincinnati to PG County, Maryland. Hutto's co-speaker at the event was Glova Scott of the Socialist Workers Party. The speech was posted on The Militant website. Hutto’s article, "Rebuilding the GI Movement", appeared in Thomas Barton’s GI Special on the Al-Basrah Iraqi Resistance website.
Hutto described the military as “an institutional culture laced with discriminatory behavior based on race, gender, sexual orientation and geography.” He lauded “the movement of soldiers and sailors against the occupation of Vietnam was pivotal in ending U.S. Imperialist aggression against the Vietnamese people.”
Jonathan Hutto and the members of VFP, MFSO and IVAW certainly have the right to speak out. But WE have the right to know what their underlying agenda is. After reading up on the backgrounds of the organizations and Mr. Hutto, it is hard to swallow the media’s portrayal of a simple non-partisan grassroots movement. The country deserves to hear the truth about the anti-American agenda of the so called “peace groups”.