Bring It On!

An Appeal For Redress

October 31st, 2006 | by Ken Grandlund |

While retired military veterans have every right to speak out against the government’s military plans and operations, active duty military members have few leagal avenues to voice their protest regarding current military action in Iraq or any ongoing war. Military laws bar officers from denouncing the president and other US leaders, and regulations typically prevent service members from lobbying for a particular cause while on duty or wearing the uniform. The purpose of such restrictions is clear- American military might is designed to remain apolitical to prevent a military coup d’etat or overthrow of the civilian leadership.

Even at the height of the Vietnam protests, where we had a largely conscripted military that was overwhelmingly against the US military, active duty voices of dissent simply did not get heard, at least not in any meaningful way.

Now, all that may change.

A small group of active-duty members opposed to the war created a website last month intended to collect thousands of signatures of other service members. People can submit their name, rank, and duty station if they support statements denouncing the US invasion. Jonathan Hutto, a Navy seaman based in Norfolk, Va., set up the website a month ago.

Hutto says that while the site is still in its infant stages, he’s seen the number of signatures jump from 65 to 650 in just a few days.

The site, called Appeal for Redress, encourages active duty military members to sign the online petition that will be delivered to members of Congress in January. It also quotes regulations from the UCMJ to justify this action as both legal and a safe way for active duty military members to protest this war.

Detractors of the site and its goal include Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island, who is helping lead Democratic opposition to the war this election season.

“And if you feel a course of action is inappropriate, your choice is just getting out of the service, basically, if you can and making your comments as a civilian,” said Reed, a West Point graduate and former Army Ranger and paratrooper.”

That’s all well and good Senator Reed, except that they don’t seem to be letting too many folks out just know. Instead, the DoD keeps extending tours, recalling guards and reserves, and using stop-gap measures to prevent people from leaving the service. Something about a troop shortage. So really, this may be the best option for dissent some reluctant active duty folks have left.

If you have a family member serving in Iraq or active duty elsewhere who is opposed to the war in Iraq, you may just want to share this website with them.

[tag]war, protest, Appeal+For+Redress, Jonathan+Hutto[/tag]

  1. 8 Responses to “An Appeal For Redress”

  2. By steve on Oct 31, 2006 | Reply

    “Even at the height of the Vietnam protests, where we had a largely conscripted military that was overwhelmingly against the US military, active duty voices of dissent simply did not get heard, at least not in any meaningful way.”

    Hey I am all for free speech but dude, why would you want to dissent against the military like they did during the Vietnam era?  

    In fact, why would you encourage dissent to active members now, serving who probably either have no opinion now or actually want to win?  You could be breaking up the team effort!!! 

    It’s like playing Team Fortress a few years back and being on the blue team and having some dickhead come in the room to start TKing the blue team.  It kind of ruins the game doesn’t it?

  3. By ken grandlund on Oct 31, 2006 | Reply

    Missing the point again aren’t you Steve…

    This post is about active duty military folks being able to express their displeasure with the current war in a way that is legal for them to do so. It is not about civilian protesting which is what we had in Vietnam. So, no, I am not advocating for the kind of protest where people spit at soldiers or call them baby killers. You really need to read better dude.

    I encourage letting active duty military who are not pro-Iraq War know how they can voice their displeasure. And where do you get “who probably have no opinion or actually want to win” from? Have you even talked to people who have served there in this war? Have you read any of the things they talk about? Or are you just blowing smoke again?

    Many, many active duty folks don’t support the political aspirations and realities this war has brought on. They fight for each other when they are in the shit, not for some Bushism. And by many accounts, they are sickened by the political directives and faux-objectives they are dying for.

    Now they can tell their congressperson(s) how they feel too. You’re all for free speech, right?

  4. By SteveIL on Oct 31, 2006 | Reply

    I agree with Sen. Reed on this.  The government took a problem, the draft, and fixed it by making the US military an all-volunteer force.  It doesn’t matter who the President is, it doesn’t matter what the politics are, these guys are volunteer soldiers.  To maintain the necessary discipline amongst the ranks requires no dissension within the ranks, especially of active duty soldiers.  And that is what they are, soldiers.  They chose this, which is why they are volunteers.  If discipline is not maintained, more of our soldiers would be killed on the battlefield.  That has always been the case in every army that has ever fought: no discipline means truly unnecessary lost soldiers and the inability of a nation to defend itself.

    I’m sorry they are against the war.  Too bad, not my problem.  They weren’t the people elected to determine if the War on Islamofascism in Iraq is the correct policy or not.  That’s what civilian politicians are for, whether they are for it or against it.  And if the politicians are against it, they are the correct people to determine if we keep troops in Iraq, not the volunteer soldier, whether he/she is anywhere between the lowly private to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.

    These volunteers chose to join the military, a career which requires them to possibly go overseas and kill the enemy, and possibly end up being killed.  It’s a tough prospect, but that is the nature of being a soldier.  If they don’t like it, fine; they can choose the alternative.  Quit.

  5. By SteveIL on Oct 31, 2006 | Reply

    Maybe they should talk to John Kerry.  He probably thinks these soldiers are smart, as opposed to those Kerry thinks are morons, the ones he says, and I quote, “get stuck in Iraq“.  Yep.  John Kerry.  Who called his comrades in Vietnam war criminals.  While they were fighting and dying in Vietnam.  Who called the soldiers he voted to send to Iraq terrorists.  While they are fighting and dying in Iraq.  To save his sorry ass.  To make sure he retains his Constitutional rights to continue to insult them.  And to keep him in the millions, and millions, and millions of dollars.  Of his wife’s money.  Now he calls those same soldiers in Iraq not smart enough not to, and I quote, “get stuck in Iraq”.  While they are fighting and dying in Iraq.  And he blames “rightwing nutjobs” for taking him out of context.  Except it wasn’t out of context.  They were his exact words.  And he won’t apologize.  To anyone.  Not even those soldiers he insults.  The ones fighting and dying in Iraq.  To save his sorry ass.  Yep.  Kerry’s so smart, isn’t he?

  6. By steve on Oct 31, 2006 | Reply

    I missed the point again?  Ken… sometimes it’s harder deciphering the point you are trying to make!!

    Maybe I misunderstand you like I misunderstood Kerry’s comments today.

    If I told the CEO of my company that I hated the way he ran it and then called him an “idiot monkey-boy”, I’d have my ass fired.  Is that legal?  Hell yes it is!!!

    So what really is your point Ken?  Have you hated somethng you volunteered for?

  7. By tammara on Nov 1, 2006 | Reply

    this appeal is for active duty military to inform their congress persons of their beliefs on the war.  they are entitled to do so.   the ucmj tells them that they MUST refuse an illegal order.  and it also tells thems that that the determination of such an illegality is up to them to interpret.  they have this opportunity to voice their opinion- this is a legal way for them to communicate to people they are entitled to communciate to

    sorry steves (not o) but… the military members can think, and voice their opinions… they aren’t your little toy soldiers… they are real people, and they have choices….(means more than one).

    the senate has conducted at least two congressional investigations on subjects related to my husband during his time in the army.  they likely will do more… this is his right, it is my right as well.  i don’t know where the hell you people get off deciding that our troops are nothing more than the beserkers of the bush regime. 

    our troops belong to the people of this country, not the king, and they are sworn to protect our constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic….right now, we have a domestic enemy that we need protecting from… and our troops are mired down in a bushit war for the profit of big oil and big dick.

    and for your information, over 5,500 troops had gone awol out of this shit by 2005 (http://www.mindfully.org/Reform/2005/AWOL-UA-Desertion1mar05.htm) nearly 8,000  now… and more and more turning themselves in to cause the military to have to review publically the reasons for it. they have the right, and the duty  http://www.couragetoresist.org/x/

    resistance to evil and wrong belongs to everyone, our troops included.  

    nobody in iraq is fighting to save kerry’s ass (no matter how sorry it is- and it is sorry, but for reasons you don’t even touch) they are fighting to keep themselves and their buddies alive… trying to get home. they aren’t fighting for our freedom… our freedom is going down bushit’s toliet.  if they were fighting for that, they’d be here. not being poisoned by depleted uranium in a foreign country in the middle of a civil war being shot at with weapons that the U.S. provided to the terrorists. where do you think all these weapons went? (see NY Times)
    you have no standing to comment on what the military is allowed to do or not do.  if you want some… go down the the recruiters and sign the fuck up.

  8. By SteveIL on Nov 1, 2006 | Reply

    tammara,

    the ucmj tells them that they MUST refuse an illegal order.

    Absolutely.  I have no problem with this, never have.  But, we’re not talking orders here, we’re talking policy, something the civilian government sets, not unelected individuals in the military (no disrespect intended).  When Congress creates the legislation that is signed into law by the President, and it has to do with the military being shipped overseas to fight a war, that is policy.  Contending that the whole war, a whole policy voted on legally, is simply wrapped in a neat package as one order to all the soldiers being sent overseas, and that this can be used to justify the statement I quoted from you, even the UCMJ wouldn’t support that one bit.  No lawyer, with the possible exception of the immensely stupid Ramsay Clark, would take a case like this.

    Again, I don’t have a problem with them voicing their opinions, through the appropriate means, whatsoever.  But if they have a problem with the policy of the elected officials, and they don’t believe they can follow the orders, as a soldier is supposed to do, that come from the policy, then their only choice is to leave the military.

  9. By ken grandlund on Nov 1, 2006 | Reply

    I imagine that if “you can just leave the military” was an actual option in reality, many of those over in Iraq would jump at the chance. The reality is somewhat different though, as you should know. An enlistment agreement has a defined term of service, that can’t be breached by whim or because of disagreement with missions. Further, since Iraq began, some military folks have had their terms extended without their agreement or have been recalled from inactive status.

    Saying, if you don’t like it you can leave is bullshit. This website at least gives these guys a chance to legally express their feelings to those people who make the policy. Hopefully, the politicians will take heed from the voices that are there when crafting the next phase of this debacle.

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