More Soldiers Resisting the War

February 11, 2007

On February 7, a mistrial was declared in the court martial of U.S. Army First Lieutenant Ehren K. Watada. Lt. Watada is the first commissioned officer to face a military court for refusing deployment to Iraq. The government has tentatively scheduled a new trial in March but Lt. Watada's defense team insists this would be double jeopardy.

Lt. Watada refused deployment because he maintains that the war in Iraq is illegal, under both international and U.S. law. Lt. Watada insists that it is his duty to refuse deployment because this aggressive war is a crime against peace and by participating he would be committing war crimes. During the trial more than 1,000 people demonstrated in front of Fort Lewis (near Seattle) in support of Lt. Watada and against the war.

While Lt. Watada is the first officer to refuse deployment in Iraq, resistance inside the military is widespread. Many enlisted soldiers have publicly refused to serve in Iraq and several thousand soldiers have deserted. Inside the army, soldiers keep speaking out against the atrocities which the army command is carrying out against the Iraqi people.

In a recent act of collective resistance, 1,171 active duty service members signed and sent to Congress an "Appeal for Redress" on January 16. This appeal calls on Congress "to support the prompt withdrawal of all American forces and bases from Iraq." Since January 16, more than 100 additional active duty personnel have signed the Appeal. More than 60% of the signatures are from soldiers who have or are serving in Iraq. The appeal is being circulated by Iraq Veterans Against the War, Veterans for Peace and Military Families Speak Out. Members of these organizations, as well as many of the soldiers who signed the appeal, participated in the massive march in Washington, DC on January 27 as well as other anti-war activities.

It is an excellent thing for soldiers to be organizing themselves, resisting the aggressive war in Iraq and joining in the anti-war struggles.

To the U.S. government, the soldiers - sons and daughters of the working people of America - are nothing but cannon fodder to be killed and maimed on the altar of the capitalists' drive for profit and empire.

The vital interests of the American people demand that we extend every possible support to the soldiers who are resisting the war even while we build up an ever-more powerful struggle to stop the warmakers and withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq and other countries.