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Statement from U.S. Veterans to Israeli Troops
"What Israel is doing now is a war crime" - Israeli Refusenik
You are at war. You are being ordered to shoot on sight anything that moves. Palestinian children, reporters, ambulance drivers and international observers are all in your rifle sights. There will be more blood flowing and much of it could be on your hands. As veterans of U.S. war machine, we also know what it is like to be ordered into battle against a people fighting for their land and liberation. We learned the hard way that this is the wrong kind of fight to fight.
The situation in Palestine is a dangerous flashpoint. What you are being ordered to carry out is not Israeli self-defense but naked aggression and the massacre of Palestinians. There is even talk of Israel using nuclear weapons! Sharon's armed provocation, which brought him to power and sparked the 2nd Intifada, was a deliberate way to initiate and then legitimize this war. Bush and Sharon claim that the central problem in Palestine is "terrorism." The real problem for the rulers of the U.S. and Israel is that the Palestinians refuse to lie down and abandon their just struggle against Israel's occupation of their land and domination of their lives.
Israel was created with and continues to receive the support of the U.S. government because Israel acts as a junior partner to U.S interests in the Middle East. The U.S. provides billions in "aid" to Israel every year because of the strategic importance of this oil-rich region-- now at the center of a limitless war for global domination being run from Washington.
You are taught to regard Palestinians as sub-human, part of the brainwashing all imperialist soldiers are put through. They are ordering you to commit atrocities against a people. Recently it was reported that Israeli troops invaded the Deheishe refugee camp in the West Bank in the middle of the night with tanks and Apache helicopter gun ships. Some 600 men from Deheishe were rounded up, blindfolded and handcuffed as Israeli soldiers wrote numbers on their arms and foreheads. Now, there are serious allegations of all out massacres committed by Israeli forces in Jenin and the refugee camps there. "Your" government denies any massacre. "Our" government denied the My Lai massacre in Vietnam. The events at My Lai were quickly and accurately reported by the National Liberation Front and called "propaganda" by the U.S.--until brave resisters within the U.S. military also told the truth. At that time many U.S. soldiers and veterans saw through the attempted cover-up because they knew that such actions were standard operating procedure in Vietnam.
All imperialists, especially the U.S., have committed the same types of acts in the past and history has found them guilty. Each month the U.S. is responsible for the murder of thousands of Iraqis each month by the use of economic sanctions--a genocidal blockade--along with military strikes. Once again the U.S. plans all-out war on the Iraqi people--a war crime being prepared by a criminal empire. Will you do the same to the Palestinians? Will you be able to live with yourself?
You have a choice to make: either stand with Sharon and the attempt to liquidate a people or stand with the people of the world and refuse to participate in acts of genocide.
Over one thousand of your comrades-- the refuseniks--have taken the stand of refusing to serve in the occupied territories, adding to the history of soldiers' resistance, which spans countries and wars. VVAWAI stands with and salutes all those who, while in uniform, resist imperialist wars. We know the effect that resistance within a military can have on a state's ability to wage war. Soldiers' resistance contributed to the eventual defeat of the U.S. in Vietnam. We know the horrors that we were being ordered to inflict on, not only the people of Vietnam, but Iraq and the many other countries the U.S. has waged war on. Many of us faced similar decisions and, like the refuseniks, made the hard choices. That's why we are anti-imperialists now. To us, the real heroes of any imperialist war are the resisters, those who refuse to "just follow orders." The reasons why these refuseniks are taking this stand are as many and varied as the people involved; however the important thing is the acts of resistance themselves. With their stand, the refuseniks join the proud legacy of the real heroes of imperialist wars. They, along with people fighting for justice all over the world, are your true sisters and brothers.
As veterans we know that the imperialists never willingly grant freedom to the oppressed. We know that any peace agreement forced by the guns of imperialism means death, destruction and misery for the people.
We call on you to refuse orders and stand with the Palestinian people, as we stand determined to stop the war-without-limits that the U.S. is waging on the people of the world. It's never too late for you to follow your conscience. You have options. There are many creative ways to resist.
We also salute the internationalistas -- people from all over the world, including Israel, who have come to stand with the Palestinian people as observers, human shields and protesters. We salute the heroism and self-sacrifice of all the medical and relief workers who are carrying out their duties in the midst of this war.
The troops that we support are the troops who refuse to fight. There is no glory in murder, no excuse in obedience, and no future in patriotism. If we have to fight and die, let it be for the world, not for the warlords.
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