Call to Conscience from Veterans to Active Duty Troops and Reservists
We are veterans of the United States armed forces. We stand with the majority of
humanity, including millions in our own country, in opposition to the United
States' all out war on Iraq. We span many wars and eras, have many political
views and we all agree that this war is wrong. Many of us believed serving in
the military was our duty, and our job was to defend this country. Our
experiences in the military caused us to question much of what we were taught.
Now we see our REAL duty is to encourage you as members of the U.S. armed forces
to find out what you are being sent to fight and die for and what the
consequences of your actions will be for humanity. We call upon you, the active
duty and reservists, to follow your conscience and do the right thing.
December 6, 2002
In the last Gulf War, as troops, we were ordered to murder from a safe distance.
We destroyed much of Iraq from the air, killing hundreds of thousands, including
civilians. We remember the road to Basra - the Highway of Death-where we were
ordered to kill fleeing Iraqis. We bulldozed trenches, burying people alive. The
use of depleted uranium weapons left the battlefields radioactive. Massive use
of pesticides, experimental drugs, burning chemical weapons depots and oil fires
combined to create a toxic cocktail affecting both the Iraqi people and Gulf War
veterans today. One in four Gulf War veterans is disabled.
During the Vietnam War we were ordered to destroy Vietnam from the air and on
the ground. At My Lai we massacred over 500 women, children and old men. This
was not an aberration, its how we fought the war. We used Agent Orange on the enemy
and then experienced first hand its effects. We know what Post Traumatic Stress
Disorder looks, feels and tastes like because the ghosts of over two million
men, women and children still haunt our dreams. More of us took our own lives
after returning home than died in battle.
If you choose to participate in the invasion of Iraq you will be part of an
occupying army. Do you know what it is like to look into the eyes of a people
that hate you to your core? You should think about what your "mission"
really is. You are being sent to invade and occupy a people who, like you and
me, are only trying to live their lives and raise their kids. They pose no
threat to the United States even though they have a brutal dictator as their
leader. Who is the U.S. to tell the Iraqi people how to run their country when
many in the U.S. don't even believe their own President was legally elected?
Saddam is being vilified for gassing his own people and trying to develop
weapons of mass destruction. However, when Saddam committed his worst crimes the
U.S. was supporting him. This support included providing the means to produce
chemical and biological weapons. Contrast this with the horrendous results of
the U.S. led economic sanctions. More than a million Iraqis, mainly children and
infants, have died because of these sanctions. After having destroyed the entire
infrastructure of their country including hospitals, electricity generators, and
water treatment plants, the U.S. then, with the sanctions, stopped the import of
goods, medicines, parts, and chemicals necessary to restore even the most basic
necessities of life.
There is no honor in murder. This war is murder by another name. When, in an
unjust war, an errant bomb dropped kills a mother and her child it is not
"collateral damage," it is murder. When, in an unjust war, a child
dies of dysentery because a bomb damaged a sewage treatment plant, it is not
"destroying enemy infrastructure," it is murder. When, in an unjust
war, a father dies of a heart attack because a bomb disrupted the phone lines so
he could not call an ambulance, it is not "neutralizing command and control
facilities," it is murder. When, in an unjust war, a thousand poor farmer
conscripts die in a trench defending a town they have lived in their whole
lives, it is not victory, it is murder.
There will be veterans leading protests against this war on Iraq and your
participation in it. During the Vietnam War thousands in Vietnam and in the U.S.
refused to follow orders. Many resisted and rebelled. Many became conscientious
objectors and others went to prison rather than bear arms against the so-called
enemy. During the last Gulf War many GIs resisted in various ways and for many
different reasons. Many of us came out of these wars and joined with the
If the people of the world are ever to be free, there must come a time when
being a citizen of the world takes precedence over being the soldier of a
nation. Now is that time. When orders come to ship out, your response will
profoundly impact the lives of millions of people in the Middle East and here at
home. Your response will help set the course of our future. You will have
choices all along the way. Your commanders want you to obey. We urge you to
think. We urge you to make your choices based on your conscience. If you choose
to resist, we will support you and stand with you because we have come to
understand that our REAL duty is to the people of the world and to our common
Veterans Call to Conscience (VCC)
Rick Campos (VFP), Stan Nishimura (NION), Anton Black (VVAW-AI) Mike Wong (VSA)
Dave Wiggins (Gulf War Resister) barry donnan (British Gulf Troop) and Ken Dugan
(Gulf War Vet)
This statement has been initiated by a veterans writing group. It
is a “call to conscience” from veterans to the troops who are being
mobilized for war against Iraq. The statement attempts to be high level but not
take hard and fast positions on things like patriotism and anti-patriotism, just
and unjust wars, nor does it call on the troops to do anything specific but
follow their conscience. The attempt is to get a very broad array of veterans to
take it up and sign it.