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Statement of Purpose

BRING THEM HOME NOW! is a coordinating committee of military families,
veterans, active duty personnel, reservists and others opposed to the
ongoing war in Iraq and galvanized to action by George W. Bush's inane and
reckless challenge to armed Iraqis resisting occupation to "Bring 'em on."

Our mission is to mobilize military families, veterans, and GIs themselves
to demand: an end to the occupation of Iraq and other misguided military
adventures; and an immediate return of all US troops to their home duty

The truth is coming out. The American public was deceived by the Bush
administration about the motivation for and intent of the invasion of Iraq.
It is equally apparent that the administration is stubbornly and
incompetently adhering to a destructive course. Many Americans do not want
our troops there. Many military families do not want our troops there. Many
troops themselves do not want to be there. The overwhelming majority of
Iraqis do not want US troops there.

Our troops are embroiled in a regional quagmire largely of our own
government's making. These military actions are not perceived as
liberations, but as occupations, and our troops are now subject to daily
attacks. Meanwhile, without a clear mission, they are living in conditions
of relentless austerity and hardship. At home, their families are forced to
endure extended separations and ongoing uncertainty.

As military veterans and families, we understand that hardship is sometimes
part of the job. But there has to be an honest and compelling reason to
impose these hardships and risks on our troops, our families, and our
communities. The reasons given for the occupation of Iraq does not rise to
this standard.

Without just cause for war, we say bring the troops home now!

Not one more troop killed in action. Not one more troop wounded in action.
Not one more troop psychologically damaged by the act of terrifying,
humiliating, injuring or killing innocent people. Not one more troop
spending one more day inhaling depleted uranium. Not one more troop
separated from spouse and children. This is the only way to truly support
these troops, and the families who are just as much part of the military as
they are.

Bush says "Bring 'em on." We say "BRING THEM HOME NOW!"

We want to hear what you think!

Email us your letters and photographs. Or, contact us through regular mail
          Bring Them Home Now
          P.O. Box 91233
          Raleigh, NC  27675


July 26, 2003

Don't Extend Them & Don't Replace Them
Just Bring 'Em on Home Now!

On July 23rd, my son, who is assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division, was
told along with the rest of his company at morning formation, to get his
affairs in order. They are going to replace the 3rd Infantry Division in

Jessie spent his first thirteen years around the military, from which I
retired just seven years ago right there in Ft. Bragg. It's no surprise,
then, that in the face of all my protests he joined the army anyway. The
military is 'normal' to him.

His mother and I have been scrupulously 'normal' for the last few days,
self-consciously so. We show great attention to detail in our day-to-day
activities. We stay busy.

I reassure her and myself that he is a light wheeled vehicle mechanic, that
he won't be participating in convoys when his unit goes to Iraq in
September, that Baghdad airport, where the motor pool probably is, has by
now been turned into an impregnable fortress, that perhaps there wasn't as
much depleted uranium fired there as in some Baghdad neighborhoods, that he
won't be obliged to take lives and lose that little piece of his soul, that
he won't fall into the habit of calling Iraqis ragheads or hajjis, that he
can just save some money, do his job, and stay busy and out of harm's way.
This is what people say to each other who are in our position, because there
is no alternative way to think and still go to work, still attend to the
needs of other children, still manage relationships, and still maintain some
modicum of self-control.

On July 3rd, I wrote a piece for "Counterpunch" expressing my reaction to
George W. Bush's remark about "bring 'em on." I went after this remark for
its counterfeit courage, for its puerility, for its utter hypocrisy and
insensitivity. But now I am reminded, now that my son is going to go there
(at his age I was already in Vietnam), that George W. Bush and his coterie
are more than offensive. They are obscenities with a lot of blood on their
hands, and their wretchedness is something far more terrifying and
unspeakable --viewed as a parent --than this bit of schoolyard mouth.

The "Counterpunch" column about this Texas preppy's remark elicited a
stunning reaction. My email was hit by a tidal wave, hundreds of responses
an hour at first, reactions of empathy and outrage that told me there is a
vast reservoir of doubt, fear, and rage filling up beyond the ken of the
cringing institution that calls itself the press. Around 40 percent of those
responses came from troops, military families, and veterans. There is a
great well of sullen anger smoldering out there against these pop-opera
generalissimos. Now, as parents facing our son's first combat tour, we are
even more part of that burning.

The recent news stories about the Bush adminstration's mountain of lies was
not news to those of us who learned long ago to seek sources outside
offcialdom. Millions of us said they were lying over a year ago. And we
parents --many of us --know that our enemies are not in Iraq. Our enemies
are in office, and they have the blood of children --some of them ours --on
their hands. Everyone is someone's child, even when they are grown. Even
when they take paths we don't approve of. Even when they become soldiers,
and are sent to pay for lies with their bodies and hearts and the blood of

I replied to every email, most perfunctorily, some at length. I skimmed at
first, until I realized I had overlooked a letter from a woman whose son
struggled for four years with post traumatic stress disorder before he took
his own life. Not long after, his young wife did the same. This bereaved
mother wrote to say thanks for giving her a voice. But it was she and others
like her who are giving us a voice.

I made calls, and the people I called made calls, and within four days a
small group of activist veterans and military families had formed a
coordinating committee to figure out how we might find those other voices
and amplify them. We bought a web domain, made more calls, wrote statements
of purpose, developed outreach literature, conferred for two hours at a time
on the phone from the west coast to the east. We did more organizing in two
weeks than I have seen with most initiatives in six months. As the word has
leaked out, we are getting phone calls and email. What is this thing you are
doing? Military Families Speak Out, Veterans for Peace, Vietnam Veterans
Against the War, Citizen Soldier, and others --these dissident military
communities have networks!

So we are going to give troops, their families, and critical veterans a
voice. That's the reason-for-being of "Bring Them Home Now!" We are using
our web site as a communications clearinghouse to
publish the voices of military communities and to link them to the networks
and resources they will need to organize themselves. When military families
rebelled recently at Ft. Stewart, the brass didn't hesitate to issue veiled
threats that criticizing the war might impact on their loved ones' careers.
The brass will have no control over us, however, and those same people
(mostly courageous women) will be able to say what they want, when they
want, and we'll protect their identities if that's what they need. Through
them, we will communicate with the troops in combat zones, whose recent
public dissent brought a swift and clear injunction from the CENTCOM
commander threatening retaliate with the full force of the Uniform Code of
Military Justice.

We are going directly to those upon whom our would-be emperors depend to
carry out their grandiose and deadly vision ---the military. A friend of
mine who passed away this year once said, "Soldiers [and their families] are
political scientists. No-one cares as much as they do about what it is they
are asked to die for." For these political scientists, 'Bring Them Home
Now!' will be a conference room, a classroom, and a loudspeaker.

We will turn up the volume and the political pressure to bring our loved
ones home, NOT 'replace' them with more of our children and spouses, and to
leave the people of Central and Southwestern Asia to determine their own
futures without Bush's bombs and bullets.

Stan Goff is the author of "Hideous Dream: A Soldier's Memoir of the US
Invasion of Haiti" (Soft Skull Press, 2000) and of the upcoming book "Full
Spectrum Disorder" (Soft Skull Press, 2003). He is a member of the BRING
THEM HOME NOW! coordinating committee, a retired Special Forces master
sergeant, and the father of an active duty soldier. Email for BRING THEM

Goff can be reached at:

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