As people of conscience currently serving in the U.S. military, we call for an immediate end to all the unjust and immoral U.S. wars, imperial policies and occupations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. We will follow our consciences before simply obeying any order, and we refuse to participate in war crimes. We understand that there are consequences to standing up for what we believe in, but there are graver consequences for blindly following orders. We stand in solidarity with our working-class brothers and sisters of all countries and will not fight them for the sake of the oil companies, the politicians, and the corporate profit empire. Religious communities must stop blessing war and violence. We pledge to do our part to spread this understanding, to build unity with workers, soldiers, and peace-loving people worldwide, and to dismantle the racist war system.
We invite you to:
- Put this statement into your own words if you wish
- Sign it and post it on your refrigerator door or mirror
- Circulate and discuss it with your buddies. family, and friends
- Join and build anti-war groups like Veterans for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Military Families Speak Out, and Gold Star Families for Peace
- Support war resisters (see www.couragetoresist.org)
- Get in touch with the ICUJP Military Outreach Committee -- Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace. Send us your comments, copies of your signed pledges, and your stories! (contact information above)
Kyle Snyder's message to soldiers and youth:
"If you really want to 'support the troops,' you don't send them into unjust, counterproductive wars. Until all our young men and women are home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, I would advise against joining the military.
"If you are already in the military, I would advise you to follow your conscience before simply obeying any order. In fact, under international laws and treaties ratified by both the U.S. and Canada, it is a soldier's duty to refuse to participate in war crimes.
"Sure, there are consequences to standing up for what you believe in. But there are graver consequences if you just go along blindly following orders. You could be killed or seriously wounded, as over 20,000 U.S. soldiers have been in Iraq. Or you could become a completely different person than the one your family and friends knew and loved. The images and memories of war may haunt you for the rest of your life.
"At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself if this is something you can live with. It's your life and the choice is ultimately yours to make. I said NO and I will never regret it."
- October 2006
AWOL Iraq vet Kyle Snyder turned himself in to Army authorities at Fort Knox, KY, Tuesday, October 31,
2006. Before turning himself in he held a press conference at 10:00 am in nearby Louisville at Central Presbyterian Church where he continued to speak out against the war. When the Army refused to honor a previously arranged deal to discharge him, and instead ordered him back to his unit, Kyle went AWOL again.
To download the statement, click here.