October 24, 2006

Vt. soldier will ask Congress to end war


An active duty Marine from Rockingham, Vt., who served in Iraq is using a military whistleblower provision to ask Congress to end the Iraq War.

Sgt. Liam Madden, 22, said he's joining dozens of active duty service members in the orchestrated campaign to protest the administration's rationale for the 2003 invasion and the ongoing occupation.

"I don't appreciate the fabricated justification for war," said Madden, who was based at the Haditha Dam in Iraq for seven months, ending in February 2005.

No benefit

"I think it has too much of a human cost, American lives as well as Iraqi, for no benefit," he said in a telephone interview. "The war is being paid for by American people and they're not seeing any benefit from it, and neither are the Iraqi people. It doesn't make sense to me."

More than 60 troops will send a protected communication to their member of Congress, as allowed under the Military Whistleblower Protection Act, Madden said.

He is one of only two service members using the "appeal of redress" who served in Iraq.

"I'm supposed to be free from reprisal," said Madden, who's stationed at the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Va. His commanding officers don't know how he feels about the war, but that is all about to change, he acknowledged. Neither do most of his fellow service members.

"The ones who agree with me, I think, are thankful someone is finally doing it," he said. "The ones who disagree with me will not understand me. I'm sure there will be some sort of ostracization."

"It's something I really care about. I don't know how to express it any better," he said.

Madden said the antiwar groups Military Families Speak Out and Iraq Veterans Against the War are coordinating members of Congress to support the campaign.

U.S. Rep. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., couldn't be reached Monday night.

The service members plan to publicly announce the campaign on Wednesday. Madden said they hope to collect 2,000 appeals for redress and send them to members of the newly convened 110th Congress on Jan. 15, 2007 — Martin Luther King Day.

"So we can set the tone for the next Congress," he said.

There was no specific experience in Iraq that moved Madden to oppose the war, he said. He disagrees with the president's policies, which could result in his return to a war he is now challenging.

Though Madden believes his service will expire before his unit is redeployed to Iraq, he and other Marines departing the corps remain eligible for emergency deployment for four years.

"All I hope to achieve is the end of the occupation of Iraq," he said. "I know that sounds like a lot."


Post a Comment

<< Home