Wednesday, more than a hundred members of active duty military, reserve, and National Guard will speak out against the War in Iraq. Organizers say this will be the first time active servicemembers will voice a protest since the United States entered Iraq in March 2003.
Senior Navy Seaman Jonathan Hutto will be among them. He wants to make it clear. He's not against war, "I want to state that we're not pacifists here." He's just against this war: The one placing U.S. troops in Iraq.
Hutto says, "We think at this moment that the occupation is seriously flawed... We've lost many American lives - over 2,700, and 20,000 have been mangled and disfigured because of this war and we have actual priorities here at home that we need to look at - education, healthcare."
Hutto is stationed in Norfolk. He says he is one of 118 military, men and women, who are part of the Active Duty Military Project-- a grassroots effort to get the U.S. to pull troops out now. Hutto says, "There are active duty service members, reserve, national guard who believe that the time has come in the occupation to bring the troops home."
Wednesday, Hutto will be part of a national call to get military against the U.S. presence in Iraq to go to www.appealforredress.org.
There military members can sign just that -- an appeal to their U.S. representative to bring American troops home. The website explains military members have a right to protest the war through their congressmen based on the Military Whistleblower Protection Act. Servicemen and women today in Norfolk respect Hutto's right to speak but don't agree.
Dlan, an Army Sergeant, says "I do believe in the war. I believe we had to go over there." Cameron, a Navy Deck Seaman, adds, "I mean we can't just pull out and leave the people there by themselves. I mean we went over there to help them. Now you got to help them do the whole thing."
Whether you agree with the War in Iraq or not, some military members point out that active duty members acting against the war can only hurt morale for those overseas.
Cameron says, "They're supposed to be your brother in arms, and now they're over here saying you shouldn't be over there. Now you really-- it takes them out from being your brother in arms then."
The Active Duty Military Project will hold a news conference announcing their effort to lobby Congress to pull U.S. troops from Iraq at 11:30 Wednesday morning.
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