IRAQ VETERANS AGAINST THE WAR (IVAW) http://www.ivaw.net/
Statement on the second anniversary of the invasion of Iraq
For Immediate Release March 19, 2005 Media contact: Katya Kruglak, (703)304-5075 cell
Today marks the second anniversary of the invasion and occupation of Iraq, a key milestone in the current U.S. Government’s campaign of lies and deceit common since 9/11. We were first told that there was a link between Iraq and the horrible 9/11 attacks. But there was none. Then we were told that Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction; yet only a few old warheads and some dormant bacterial cultures have been found despite rigorous searching. Then finally, we were told that Saddam Hussein was training terrorists to attack the United States, but no terrorist presence seems to have existed in Iraq prior to the massive build-up in early 2003. Post-invasion Iraq, however, has clearly become a hotbed for new terrorist threats.
We, the veterans of the war, now know all of these reasons for invading the sovereign country of Iraq were false, and we have paid a heavy price for these lies. Two years into a seemingly endless war, our nation has incurred a terrible debt, while the corporations who profit from the business of war reap millions. Our deficit has climbed to a rate that can only be paid by our children’s grand children. While our domestic programs crumble, the social and economic future of our children is indeed bleak. Most tragic, over 1,500 of our comrades in arms have given the ultimate sacrifice for this senseless, imprudent, and immoral policy of war and occupation. A cross section of our county, these extraordinary men and women came from all walks of life. They were both poor and wealthy, high school drop outs and highly trained professionals. All believed in their country’s leadership and in their own duty to that country, and so they went into needless slaughter. Every one of these fallen comrades was loved by their families and many in their community. They were our sons and daughters, our husbands and wives, our brothers and sisters, our fathers and mothers; most of all, they were our friends and they are sorely missed. If they could arise from their graves and speak, they would tell us to find a better way to solve our conflicts.
Whatever the reasons for this counterproductive conflict, it is now clear that it had nothing to do with helping the Iraqi people. We, the troops, were told that we were not invaders and occupiers, but liberators and protectors of the Iraqi people, and that we would bring them freedom, prosperity and a better life. Specific numbers of the Iraqi dead are not known, since “We don’t do body counts,” as General Tommy Franks said. However, we do know that we shoulder some of the responsibility for the thousands of innocent civilians that have been killed. In addition, important commodities such as food, water, power, and sanitation are not readily available, ensuring the continued suffering and death of countless innocent Iraqis. Iraqi children play among explosives and clouds of depleted uranium dust, and bombings of markets and mosques are a daily occurrence. In many ways, we have made the lives of average Iraqis worse, not better, since the invasion. It is no wonder, then, that the terrorism that was not present in Iraq prior to the US invasion is now a daily reality there.
On the second anniversary of this unwise, unjust, and unproductive invasion, Iraq Veterans Against the War call upon our President, the Congress, and all elected officials to immediately and unconditionally withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq and the Middle East. We also demand full funding for the medical needs of our returning veterans, including treatment for post traumatic stress disorder and the effects of depleted uranium. Finally, we call for all citizens of the United States to demand that their government end the pillaging and destruction of Iraq so that everyday Iraqi people can control their own lives and country.
Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) is
a group of veterans who have served since September 11th, 2001
including Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. We
are committed to saving lives and ending the violence in Iraq by an
immediate withdrawal of all occupying forces. We also believe that the
governments that sponsored these wars are indebted to the men and women
who were forced to fight them and must give their soldiers, marines,
sailors, and airmen the benefits that are owed to them upon their
return home. We welcome all active duty, national guard, reservists,
and recent veterans into our ranks.