VETERANS AGAINST THE CURRENT WAR IN IRAQ

11/11/03

In a letter delivered today to President Bush, U.S. war veterans declare their belief that U.S. Iraq policy is "headed in the wrong direction." The veterans observe: "At present, U.S. soldiers are falling under attack an average of 35 times each day. To date, 394 U.S. soldiers have been killed in the war. Their lives are being lost for a policy that is unclear and an exit strategy that remains unknown."

Posted at www.veteransforcommonsense.org, the letter was initiated by the Washington-based Veterans for Common Sense, a veterans’ group that has been critical of the President’s handling of Iraq. The letter was e-mailed to veterans over the weekend and quickly gathered over 750 signatories, including high-ranking retired officers. To safeguard U.S. service members and win the peace in Iraq, the letter urges President Bush to undertake "strong diplomacy to better involve our allies" and the United Nations; "create a different kind of force in Iraq" with the help of U.S. allies; and "nnounce a timeline for the phased withdrawal of U.S. and other foreign military forces from Iraq and the restoration of Iraqi sovereignty." Expressing regret with the White House decision to eliminate $275 per month in combat pay for soldiers getting shot at in Iraq and block $1.3 billion in desperately needed funds for veterans' health programs, the letter calls on President Bush to better honor our troops by ensuring "adequate compensation and benefits for all who serve our country" and full funding for veterans’ healthcare.

Our guest was Sergeant Seth Pollack, a veteran of the Gulf War and Bosnia, and President of Veterans for Common Sense.

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