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Related Categories: Iraq | Anti-War
"Bring Them Home Now' Article In Military Newspaper Stars & Stripes
by Stars & Stripes
Thursday Aug 14th, 2003 11:03 AM
In a radical departure from the usual fare, the military publication Stars & Stripes 'tells it like it is' about the Iraqi Occupation. Troops were told it would be like liberating Paris, France in WWII - it is more like Mogadishu, Somalia.
starandstripeslogo.gif
Thursday, August 14, 2003

'Bring Them Home Now' speakers rip U.S. policy on Iraq

By Patrick J. Dickson, Stars and Stripes
European edition, Thursday, August 14, 2003

(PHOTO: Fernando Suarez del Solar, father of one of the first U.S. servicemembers killed in Iraq, Marine Lance Cpl. Jesus Suarez, stands next to a poster of his son at the “Bring Them Home Now” campaign event at the National Press Club in Washington.)


Peter Photikoe / S&S
Stan Goff


WASHINGTON — They wanted their message to be clear: It’s possible to support the troops and not support the war they’re fighting.

Several family members of U.S. troops in Iraq spoke out Wednesday against what they see as shortsighted policy on the part of the Bush administration.

They said that the Bush camp lied about the reasons for going to war, has misled the media about what’s happening on the ground and has kept troops in the dark about their mission and how long they’ll be there.

“Last month President Bush said [to Iraqi militants], ‘Bring ‘em on,’” said Nancy Lessin, a co-founder of Military Families Speak Out and one of the event’s organizers. “[Bush] spoke from a secure location, surrounded by armed guards.

“There is no one who supports our troops more than the families and veterans here today. Today we say ‘Bring them home.’”

Bring Them Home Now is a campaign by Military Families Speak Out, which Lessin said was started in 2002 and boasts 600 families, and Veterans For Peace, which has hundreds of chapters in America, said member Stan Goff.

Goff, a 26-year Army veteran and former special forces member, was particularly scathing of the administration and its motivations.

“These are rich men in expensive suits conducting statecraft not to protect the U.S., but to protect the profits of Halliburton and Bechtel,” two contractors with a large stake in the rebuilding of Iraq.

“Then they turn around and accuse us of being unpatriotic,” Goff said. “That is truly Orwellian.”

Goff’s son is a wheeled vehicle mechanic with the 82nd Airborne, recently sent in to replace the 3rd Infantry Division.

Fernando Suarez del Solar is the father of Marine Lance Cpl. Jesus Suarez, one of the first U.S. servicemembers killed in Iraq.

Del Solar apologized for and started in broken English. He began to cry and reverted to Spanish. Through an interpreter, he told of his son’s death, and concluded:

“My question to Mr. Bush is this — how many more of our sons do you need [to die] before you bring the troops home?”

His wife was inconsolable as he left the lectern.

The group was asked whether they feared their child would suffer retaliation for them speaking out.

“Hey, my son is a brave guy,” said Susan Schuman, mother of a Massachusetts National Guardsman stationed in Samarra, Iraq. “He’s not afraid of me speaking out.”

Goff said retaliation is probably the least of the soldiers’ worries at this point.

“They were told it would be like [World War II soldiers] going into Paris. It’s a lot more like Mogadishu.

“Bush and [Defense Secretary Donald] Rumsfeld care for soldiers like Tyson Foods cares for chickens.”

Charlie Richardson, with Lessin a co-founder of MFSO, said he realized the group would be criticized for their actions.

“We’ve been called a disgrace,” he said. “But someone has to ask the questions.”

§'Bring Them Home Now' Campaign In D.C.
by Stars & Stripes Thursday Aug 14th, 2003 11:04 AM
solar.jpg
Fernando Suarez del Solar, father of one of the first U.S. servicemembers killed in Iraq, Marine Lance Cpl. Jesus Suarez, stands next to a poster of his son at the “Bring Them Home Now” campaign event at the National Press Club in Washington

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Abraham
Thursday Aug 14th, 2003 1:18 PM
"Troops in Iraq face pay cut. Pentagon says tough duty bonuses are budget-buster"

Washington -- The Pentagon wants to cut the pay of its 148,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, who are already contending with guerrilla-style attacks, homesickness and 120- degree-plus heat.

Unless Congress and President Bush take quick action when Congress returns after Labor Day, the uniformed Americans in Iraq and the 9,000 in Afghanistan will lose a pay increase approved last April of $75 a month in "imminent danger pay" and $150 a month in "family separation allowances."

The Defense Department supports the cuts, saying its budget can't sustain the higher payments amid a host of other priorities. But the proposed cuts have stirred anger among military families and veterans' groups and even prompted an editorial attack in the Army Times, a weekly newspaper for military personnel and their families that is seldom so outspoken.

Congress made the April pay increases retroactive to Oct. 1, 2002, but they are set to expire when the federal fiscal year ends Sept. 30 unless Congress votes to keep them as part of its annual defense appropriations legislation.

Imminent danger pay, given to Army, Navy, Marine and Air Force members in combat zones, was raised to $225 from $150 a month. The family separation allowance, which goes to help military families pay rent, child care or other expenses while soldiers are away, was raised from $100 a month to $250.

Last month, the Pentagon sent Congress an interim budget report saying the extra $225 monthly for the two pay categories was costing about $25 million more a month, or $300 million for a full year. In its "appeals package" laying out its requests for cuts in pending congressional spending legislation, Pentagon officials recommended returning to the old, lower rates of special pay and said military experts would study the question of combat pay in coming months.


WHITE HOUSE DUCKS ISSUE
A White House spokesman referred questions about the administration's view on the pay cut to the Pentagon report.

Military families have started hearing about the looming pay reductions, and many aren't happy.

They say duty in Iraq is dangerous -- 60 Americans have died in combat- related incidents since President Bush declared an end to major combat operations in Iraq on May 1. Another 69 have been killed by disease, the heat or in accidents.

"Every person they see is a threat. They have no idea who is an enemy or who is a friend," said Larry Syverson, 54, of Richmond, Va., whose two sons, Brandon, 31, and Bryce, 25, are serving in Iraq. Syverson appeared with other military families at a Washington, D.C., news conference to publicize efforts to bring the troops home.

"You can get shot in the head when you go to buy a Coke," added Syverson, referring to an incident at a Baghdad University cafeteria on July 6 when an Army sergeant was shot and killed after buying a soda.


AFRAID FOR HER SON
Susan Schuman of Shelburne Falls, Mass., said her son, Army National Guard Sgt. Justin Schuman, had told her "it's really scary" serving in Samarra, a town about 20 miles from Saddam Hussein's ancestral hometown of Tikrit.

Schuman, who like Syverson has become active in a group of military families that want service personnel pulled out of Iraq, said the pay cut possibility didn't surprise her.

"It's all part of the lie of the Bush administration, that they say they support our troops," she said.

It's rare for the independent Army Times, which is distributed widely among Army personnel, to blast the Pentagon, the White House and the Congress. But in this instance, the paper has said in recent editorials that Congress was wrong to make the pay raises temporary, and the Pentagon is wrong to call for a rollback.

"The bottom line: If the Bush administration felt in April that conditions in Iraq and Afghanistan warranted increases in danger pay and family separation allowances, it cannot plausibly argue that the higher rates are not still warranted today," the paper said in an editorial in its current edition.

On Capitol Hill, members say the issue will be taken up quickly after the summer recess when a conference committee meets to negotiate conflicting versions of the $369 billion defense appropriations bill.

"You can't put a price tag on their service and sacrifice, but one of the priorities of this bill has got to be ensuring our servicemen and women in imminent danger are compensated for it," said Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Walnut Creek, a member of the House Armed Services Committee.

"Since President Bush declared 'mission accomplished' on May 1, 126 American soldiers have died in Iraq, and we are losing more every day," Tauscher said. "If that's not imminent danger, I don't know what is."

The Senate bill calls for making permanent the increases in combat pay -- the first in more than a decade -- for service in Iraq and Afghanistan. The House wants to pay more for service in those two countries than for such duties as peacekeeping in the Balkans. With the money saved, the House wants to increase the size of the active military by 6,200 troops.

What won't be clear until Congress returns is whether the Pentagon will lobby against keeping the increase.

The Pentagon reiterated Wednesday that its goal was for service personnel to rotate out of Iraq after a maximum of a year in that country. Units of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division, which played a major role in last March's invasion, have already come home.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
By the numbers
U.S. troops in Iraq: 148,000

U.S. troops in Afghanistan: 9,000

Imminent danger pay: $225 per month, but is scheduled to drop to $150 a month

Family separation allowances: $250 per month, but scheduled to drop to $100 per month

by A. M. Bandlow
(rbandy [at] bellsouth.net) Saturday Aug 16th, 2003 10:08 AM
Keep those voices going, we will be heard. Bring them home now is going in the right direction. You are informed citizens who know what is going on in this administration. You do have supporters (you may not hear us, but we are there), lots of them, so keep saying it - "Bring Them Home Now". My heart and prayers are with each and every one of you.
by Ms. Jazz
Sunday Aug 17th, 2003 9:35 AM
Mr. Bush needs to be taken off his high horse by none other than the American people, whom he lies to consistantly.
Its ok for Mr. Bush, he comes from a bloodline worth billions (old money-oil), while the majority of Americans will never own their own home. The elderly and youth of America have been ignored by Mr. Bush and his administration, who is more concerned with International appeal than domestic issues. He is really no better than Saddam Hussien, because they are all killers.
I hope that the American people don't allow Mr. Bush to ruin their country by provoking terrorism, and trying to run everybodys business. (He is a greedy bird)
Its the everyday American citizen who will suffer most in the New World Order, its their brothers/sisters/mothers/fathers coming home in body bags from the middle east not Mr. Bush's family.
And while many Americans bury their loved ones and know just how much they've lost, Mr. Bush will be clad in a flight jacket on the deck of another carrier boasting that he wants to help the people of the next resourse filled nation so that he can take whats there too, considering it has extreme international value.
I've got one question for G.W.Bush, Who made you and your administration the dictators of right and wrong is this world?
Mind your own business, take care of your schools, hospitals and citizens, half of your propaganda and war budget would fix each and every school and hospital in the nation. Maybe Mr. Bush should tell his people that statistic.
by ??
Sunday Aug 17th, 2003 3:15 PM
Its good they covered the desire by soldiers families for US troops to come home but how can you take any news site seriously that claims the following:

"Celebratory bullets fired by Iraqis
into sky coming down on U.S. troops

...

Every day, sometimes several times an hour, an Iraqi somewhere in the capital is shooting his rifle into the sky because he is happy about something. It is Iraqis’ version of a party noisemaker.

The only problem is, what goes up must come down. And sometimes the bullets they fire into the air fall and hit people.

Cory, a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division, was lucky. The bullet left only a welt that disappeared in a few days.

But for another soldier, a similar incident proved deadly.
"
http://www.estripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=17084

Yep, you heard that right!! The US military is trying to claim that Iraqis are shooting at US troops by mistake. They love the US sooo much tehy are shooting their guns in the air and the bullets JUST HAPPEN to hit US troops.
by also
Sunday Aug 17th, 2003 3:18 PM
Stars and Stripes has weird ties to the Christian Right so it doesnt really speak for ALL US troops...

"Contemporary Christian music is very popular this summer — but you wouldn’t know it from the news media. Journalists generally aren’t interested in topics involving religion unless there’s a whiff of scandal. Perhaps that’s why a reader asked how to find out what’s topping the genre’s charts."
http://www.estripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=17076
by Bob Larsen
(larsen_bob51 [at] yahoo.com) Sunday Aug 17th, 2003 9:22 PM
I am a patriot who opposes the present deployment of troops in Iraq. I have a son who has been in Iraq for 5 months. I am proud of my son and support all of our troops who are serving in Iraq. My opposition to our present military involvement in Iraq is not just because I have a child there, that is his duty & profession. I oppose the continued presence of a US military presence in Iraq due to moral and political reasons. It is a common fact, that stability in Iraq will only occur when the many ethnic, tribal & religious factions within this country cease fighting one another. And that is not just around the corner. Now that Saddam's regime is down, an American presence in Iraq contributes to the tension & instability. Especially when factoring in the radical Muslim terrorists who are capitilizing on America's involvement in Iraq and supporting the guerrilla-style ambushes which are picking off our young soldiers on a daily basis. This situation is intolerable and should be opposed with a strong voice.
by Tapart News Editor
(arklineart [at] yahoo.com) Wednesday Aug 20th, 2003 7:16 PM
We should bring our troops home now from the Middle East. There are no endings in the Middle East. There are only endless responses to each action. President Bush has ignored history and the cause and effect of his actions. He started a 100 years war in the Middle East and the sooner we try to correct his error the better off we will be.
He sent in troops while many questions remained about the Gulf War Syndrome with about one third of all troops in served in Desert Storm sick with about 20,000 dying from their illnesses. No one addresses things like depleted uranium bullets that were used then or may have been used again this time around.
How could anyone send in young people into a endless pit of war and terror when these questions remain unanswered.
The Republican Party normally was never a war party. Republicans tried to use the balance of power in settling disputes in the past. Never before have we had someone like President Bush who go out of their way to start a war. The war is an unjust one and all Christians should respond to it as an unjust war. Now we we have someone like President Bush who preaches Jesus and wars at the same time. President Clinton had his "Wag the Dog" wars too but did not lead the Nation into pre-emptive wars directly. It is time to bring our troops home before it gets worst and it will get worst.
The real issue of our times in the need for real jobs and not wars. (See http://tapartnews.filetap.com )
by Abraham
Thursday Aug 21st, 2003 11:36 AM
We can see all these $2000 a plate fund raises for Bush and the Republican drives to grap power in various states including California. Talk and call whoever will listen to wake them up of what's really happening.

The Iraq war, tax cuts, Patriot Act are all acts aimed to benefit a few and they are totally against the very basic fabric of democracy of America. Bush and his administration are NOT serving the people. They are there only to serve their own special interests.
by Ted Thompson
Friday Aug 22nd, 2003 3:06 PM
So we follow your advice and remove all the troops from Iraq. Then what happens to Iraq? Whining without offering an alternative solution is a waste of everybody's time.

by Abraham
Friday Aug 22nd, 2003 3:33 PM
Meet the man who'll get rid of the evil elements currently occupying the White House. He'll "Light Up the White House".

http://www.kucinich.us/
by none
(carl.v.jackson [at] us.army.mil) Wednesday Sep 17th, 2003 11:23 PM
Actually the article about bullets being fired into the air and coming back down is true. They shoot all the time in the sky when the Saddam brothers were killed I heard the downtown area was like the fourth of july
by Julianne Kickligher
Thursday Sep 18th, 2003 3:58 PM
The definition of sacrifice is giving up something of value for something of greater value. I must have my freedom to have my family and so I am willing to sacrifice and have my husband deployed in Iraq to perserve that freedom and also to serve the people of Iraq, who are in dire need. I am concerned with the self-centered, "me" generation that loves our freedom but doesn't want to get involved in maintaining it. This country was founded on courage and sacrifice;where are the people who are willing to stand up and keep itsafe? Oh, that's right. They are in Iraq.
by Me
Thursday Dec 4th, 2003 5:09 PM
We shouldn't have to wonder what we will do next; it was not our problem in the first place. We, as Americans, can not save every country from their bad guys. When I can sleep with my doors unlocked and the windows open because our country is safe, then you can send my husband away to war.
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