Vets Demand End to Occupation



As military veterans wrangle over whom to support for president, one veterans’ organization has fired a shot across the bow of whoever will occupy the White House next year.

Over 400 Veterans for Peace (VFP) members gathered last weekend in Boston for the organization’s annual convention, hearing from Daniel Ellsberg, historian Howard Zinn, former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter, members of Military Families Speak Out, and the newly-formed Iraq Veterans Against the War. They also passed a resolution in the form of a memo titled "To White House Occupant After Jan. 20, 2005," demanding

"[T]hat the next U.S. president announce, within 10 days of taking office, that he will withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq within 60 days, and that if this 10-day period following the inauguration passes without a publicly-announced decision to withdraw all troops from Iraq within 60 days, Veterans for Peace chapters around the nation will begin a campaign including, but not limited to, petitions calling for the impeachment of the president."

The resolution states, "The United States presence in Iraq is causing, not preventing, destabilization and violence. Veterans for Peace is committed to ending this immoral, unjust war of empire regardless of who wins the 2004 U.S. presidential election."

Concurring with that sentiment as he addressed the vets assembled at Emerson College, Ritter said, "Iraq is on fire. We are the fuel for that fire and we need to withdraw it."

Timed to conclude just prior to the Democratic Party’s nominating convention, also in Boston, the last event on the VFP schedule was a peace march past the heavily fortified convention center, bristling with armed guards, where the Democrats will meet.

VFP membership has grown to over 4,000 since the Bush administration ordered the invasion of Iraq last year. The organization has over 80 chapters throughout the U.S.

MIKE FERNER is a member of Veterans for Peace from Toledo, Ohio. He returned from a second trip to Iraq earlier this year. He can be reached at: mferner@utoledo.edu

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