Soldiers Say Support the Troops by Bringing Them Home

ByABC News
October 26, 2006, 10:49 PM

Oct. 27, 2006 — -- They are not pacifists.

They don't represent a political party, and you won't see them at an anti-war rally.

Most say they are proud Americans. They are proud to serve and wear the uniform of the U.S. military.

But they are against the war in Iraq, and they are speaking out about it.

Organizers say it's the first anti-war movement of its kind in the active military since the Vietnam conflict.

"An Appeal for Redress From the War in Iraq" is an Internet initiative to get active-duty military to send this message to political leaders:

As a patriotic American proud to serve the nation in uniform, 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. It is time for U.S. troops to come home.

It is a legal way for soldiers, Marines and sailors to protest the war.

Active-duty military cannot publicly express its personal views.

"We are not urging any form of civil disobedience or any thing that would be illegal," said Navy Seaman Jonathan Hutto, speaking on the phone, off duty and out of uniform. "We are saying to our active-duty family that you have a right to send an appeal to a Congress member without reprisal."

The "Redress" initiative does not require a membership, and comments are not made public.

"Anyone who has been in the military knows there are informal means for punitive actions," said one soldier, who was reluctant to give a name. "We do have a voice and we pay attention and we want people to listen to what we say."

One activist said that despite the restrictions, "anytime intelligence is mixed with bravery you'll have someone who is going to speak out."

The response to the movement has been "amazing," one organizer said. The group had 65 messages to political leaders a few days days ago. Now the group has more than 10 times that number.

"If people want to support the troops, then they should support us coming home," said Marine Sgt. Liam Madden, one of the organizers of the movement.

He cites the absence of weapons of mass destruction and the lack of a link between Iraq and al Qaeda for his opposition to the war.