Support our troops by bringing them home

We must make it clear to officials that the United States must end this occupation.

As you read this, Fallujah, Iraq, lies in ruins, and our government has announced it is just the beginning of a new “shock and awe” campaign to recapture more than 20 other cities held by the Iraqi resistance.

The situation in Iraq grows desperate by the day, yet we get little news about the civilian population. More than half of the people of Iraq are children under the age of 15. Tens of thousands of children have become internally displaced persons. According to a recent survey by The New York Times, more than 100,000 Iraqis, mostly women and children, have died since the beginning of this war.

More than 1,250 U.S. soldiers have also died; how many more innocent Iraqis and U.S. citizens must die before the administration admits this has become a moral abyss? How many more cities must be destroyed before the Bush administration stops the wanton killing? How many stories about the killing of children and other atrocities do we have to hear before the U.S. people realize this war itself has become the most extreme form of terrorism? How long will we sit quietly by as our government uses weapons such as napalm, white phosphorus, depleted uranium and other heinous weapons that are illegal under international law, an affront to human dignity and a crime against humanity?

More than 5,500 U.S. soldiers deserted the U.S. Army because of the atrocities they are commanded to commit. Just recently two U.S. Marines have applied for political asylum in Canada. One attested that during the training they shout out loud, “We are trained to kill and kill we will.” He also claimed they were trained not to distinguish between civilians and noncivilians.

It is time to stop this military madness. The Vietnam War ended when U.S. soldiers stopped fighting and the people marched in the street in such large numbers that the government realized they could no longer sustain that war.

We are now seeing a growing resistance in the military, and it is up to us, like our counterparts did 30 years ago, to make it clear to our elected officials they can’t ignore us. The United States has no choice but to end the occupation of Iraq.

Stop the occupation and bring our troops home now.

Omar Merhi is a graduate student and writer for Al-Madinah Cultural Center. Please send comments to [email protected]