Opposition to the War Growing Among Troops
Reported by Sarah Olson:
“I joined the Army to go to war, and now I’m fighting to get out,” says Pfc. Ryan Follan, laughing nervously. He quickly becomes serious. “Some of the causes are good, but I don’t think the war is for the right reasons.” Follan laughs again, and there’s a long pause. “I’m deploying in a month, actually. I’m not a big fan of it, honestly.” Private Follan is standing in a Taco Bell parking lot just outside Fort Stewart in Savannah, Georgia. Each day, soldiers gather for lunch at fast food restaurants like this one. On this particular day, the soldiers at Fort Stewart have visitors.
Last week, a convoy of approximately 20 veterans riding in converted school buses left Fayetteville, North Carolina. They were sponsored by Veterans for Peace, armed with literature and headed for New Orleans, where they are spending this week rebuilding houses in the Ninth Ward. On the way, the group stopped at military bases throughout the South. Their goal? They were passing out copies of the Appeal for Redress, GI rights information, and copies of the videos “Ground Truth” and “Sir! No Sir!”
Veterans for Peace members say they’re not trying to pressure GIs to resist war. They want to educate soldiers about their rights. They know from experience that the military frowns on dissent and doesn’t go out of its way to educate soldiers regarding constitutionally protected ways to express their opinions on issues like war and peace. Despite popular opinion to the contrary, soldiers do indeed have rights to express political dissent.