of soldiers in the Gulf want a delay
BBC News Online Washington correspondent,17
to a possible war in Iraq has come from an unlikely source - the US
anti-war forces are gathering for a major demonstration on Saturday in
Washington, a group of parents of the soldiers currently being deployed in
the Gulf have decided to speak out against the drive for war.
son will by flying casualties to medical ships
have been joined by organisations representing Gulf War veterans, who are
particularly concerned about the problem of chemical and biological
warfare casualties among servicemen.
anti-war former soldiers hope to replicate the success of the Vietnam
Veterans Against the War in the l960s, who were a crucial part of the
anti-war coalition that helped end US involvement in that war.
organisations are new and small. But they could bring a new element to the
anti-Iraq war movement. If they influence US troops in the field, that
could be a worry for the Pentagon.
one of founders of Military Families Speak Out has a stepson, Joe, in the
marines. He is deployed in Kuwait as an Arab language specialist.
She is a union activist from Jamaica Plain near Boston, Massachusetts who
was previously active in opposing the Vietnam War.
breaking, Ms Lessin told News Online she hoped her stepson would not face
combat, nor would he have to take part in killing others.
said that opposition to an unjust war was patriotic.
she said that if Iraq's main export was olive oil, we wouldn't be facing
the possibility of war.
horrors of war
Seakins from Maine served as an dismount mechanised infantryman with the
3rd Armoured Division in the 1991 Gulf War.
told the BBC that it was the experience of the war - and his concern that
he was taking part in the slaughter of innocents - that has led him to
take his anti-war stance.
says that at the time, supporting his fellow soldiers took priority. But
having seen the refugees and the frightened conscript soldiers from Iraq,
he would not take part in war again.
there are no members of these organisations who are also active members of
the military. But the organisers believe that there is considerable hidden
support for their views.
McKenzie, another member of Military Families Speak Out, is an anti-war
activist from New York state. His son, Jeremy, is an Army captain who
flies medical evacuation helicopters and is currently being deployed to
said he encountered sympathy with his views among some of the soldiers
when he visited his son in Fort Benning, Georgia, especially those who
were nearing the end of their tours of duty.
own anti-war views were forged after the events of 11 September, and he
took part in anti-nuclear marches.
says the war in Iraq is about settling old scores and controlling oil, and
it would not be in America's inter interest.
of the military activists, former Gulf War veterans, are warning that any
conflict will be more costly, in terms of casualties and disabilities,
than anyone is prepared for.
the coalition seeks to represent the views of some 44 million veterans,
the Veterans for Common Sense (VCFS) have taken a moderate stance on the
war, calling for a halt to the war until diplomacy has been given a chance
rather than opposing it outright.
have also for more evidence and broader support from the Allies before
launching a "vindictive" strike.
war isn't worth the life of one American soldier," said Charlie
Sheehan-Miles, a former tank crewman, 24th
the Gulf who is one of the founders of VFCS.
week thousands of US soldiers are deploying to Kuwait to fight a war on
our behalf. They go because it is their job, and their mission to protect
us. It is now our mission to protect them."