Support troops who resist illegal wars

by Khadija Qadri

Which one sounds more patriotic? "Support the troops" or "Support the troops who resist an illegal war"? I say more power to those brave heroes who refuse to fight the U.S. imperialists war to dominate the world. For Americans, being patriotic and supporting the American wars is just the same as being good Germans during World War II and supporting Hitler's war. Those little Made in China "Support our Troops" ribbons have no meaning. We slap them on our gasoline guzzling SUVs without sincere concern for what our soldiers are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I do willfully support the brave and courageous troops who are refusing to fight these illegal wars in Iraq and elsewhere, though I do not support the U.S. troops who do the fighting. Such men and women are my heroes and give me hope that there are many good people who think independently and intelligently. I am proud of war resisters like 28-year-old U.S. Army 1st Lieutenant Ehren Watada, Sgt. Ricky Clousing, Sgt. Kevin Benderman, Katherine Jashinski and many more like them who show their courage to speak out. Watada was the first officer to publicly refuse to fight the war. He gave his reasons in an interview with the Seattle Times, "It usurps international treaties and conventions that by virtue of the Constitution become American law. The wholesale slaughter and mistreatment of the Iraqi people with only limited accountability is not only a terrible moral injustice, but a contradiction to the Army's own Law of Land Warfare. My participation would make me party to war crimes."

23-year-old Katherine Jashinski's words were, "I have a deeply held belief that people must solve all conflicts through peaceful diplomacy and without the use of violence. Violence only begets more violence."

Ricky Clousing told the judge, "My experiences in Iraq forced me to reevaluate my beliefs and ethics". Sgt. Benderman's proud words were, "I will not compromise my integrity nor my moral courage." Courageous are these soldiers who question this endless war.

Another hero is 23-year-old Marine Corps sergeant Heather Cerveny, who heard the prison guards boasting about torturing the prisoner at the notorious Guantanamo Bay prison and then filed an affidavit with the Pentagon's Inspector General. There have been many more torture allegations at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and wherever U.S. troops are spreading democracy. No, it is not just one or two isolated incidents but a well-documentated system that promotes such horrific abuses. These weird abuses are the same across prisons in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo, so how can we believe White House and Pentagon assurance that they will end the abuses?

Sept. 29, 2006 was one of the saddest days in history. For the first time, U.S. Congress passed a bill allowing torture and revoking habeus corpus, a basic human right since 1215. Like Israel, this government has legalized torture. This law eliminates basic rights and liberties of anyone our government labels as an enemy combatant, even U.S. citizens.

According to The New York Times, there have been many reports of racism towards Arabs and Muslims, both in Iraq and Afghanistan. I have seen and heard such racist remarks myself in recent films and documentaries. The Southern Poverty Law Center (, a watchdog organization, tracks racists and the right-wing and, they say there have been large numbers of neo-Nazis and skinhead extremists infiltrating the U.S. military.

Back in 2003, just before the invasion of Iraq, Bush sent a message to the Iraqis, "Do not destroy the oil wells". I am sure it would have been comforting for Americans if, instead, Bush had said, "Do not hurt the U.S. troops, they are coming to protect you and teach you (American) democracy". A revealing irony is that the war in Iraq was named "Operation Iraqi Liberation" (OIL), later changed to Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Recent polls show 58% now think this war was a mistake. So why don't the majority of Americans speak out against the war? Why do Americans not understand the idea that Americans do not belong in Iraq? It is not about freedom and democracy but Iraqi oil. How long are we going to invade other countries to control or steal the natural resources that do not belong to us? America pretends to be big brother to the world, but in fact it is a thief and bully. Bush has it upside down. We have to worry about global terrorism but we have to see the obvious: It comes as a reaction to the U.S. robbing and exploiting so many nations.
© Copyright 2006 UCD Advocate
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