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An Open Letter To The Troops:
"Fight For True Freedom Now!"

By Chuck Richardson

17 May, 2005

Dear ______________:

I am writing to let you know I support you, as a human being, with all my heart; but can’t support your military service to the United States because it is enabling a criminal enterprise. Mafia hit men are never acquitted because they’re “just following orders.”

If the U.S. is defeated (and there are more scenarios for defeat than mission accomplished), you could be subject to prosecution in the International Criminal Court. Or, if not prosecuted, called as a witness. In the end, you will answer to yourself or God, if you hold such beliefs, for volunteering your services for meager pay and false hopes. Your behavior today will be judged tomorrow, and the day after that.

Fight for true freedom now. Forget the reasons your leaders give for waging war. Why are you fighting? You are a human being first, a GI second. You exist for your own purposes, and those of your loved ones, not the corporate government’s. That’s the essence of freedom.

Long after this war is finished for the Bushes, Cheneys and Rumsfelds, you will have to live with your first hand memories—the smell of burning flesh, the screams of mutilated women and children, the taste of polluted dust, visions of obliterated old people, perhaps even the physical and/or psychological pain of your own wounds, or the cancer caused by your exposure to depleted uranium. Where will today’s leaders be for you then?

Did you know the suicide rate for troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan is above average for war veterans as a whole? Why do you think they’re doing it? How complicit are you in all this death by going along to get along? Sometimes, what seems to be the hardest thing now is the easiest thing to do in the end. Quit cold turkey—go AWOL, refuse to fight and support those who do. We’ll all live longer and better, especially you. How will you live in the future, what will you make of your past?

If you need evidence that you are on the wrong side of this war, please consider your employer’s record over the last four years:

§ When the world watched the Twin Towers tumble as elegantly as if they’d been laid low by demolition experts "everything changed." Constitutionally mandated checks and balances limiting presidential power were chucked aside, enabling neoconservatives the opportunity to confront the looming Peak Oil catastrophe militarily, rather than diplomatically. Project for The New American Century, what the neocons call their boys’ club, pushed President Clinton to attack Iraq back in 1998, but was rebuffed. They concluded that the only way such an attack could be carried out was if Saddam could be blamed for a catastrophic “Pearl Harbor-like” attack on U.S. soil. These guys never miss an opportunity, and they’ve been known to create a few.

§ The departments of Defense and Justice, along with the CIA, have instituted torture as standard operating procedure for interrogating alleged “enemy combatants” supposedly “captured” in the “war on terrorism” since a November 2001 Justice Department memo to the CIA. President Bush then claimed anyone not a U.S. citizen whom he labels a “terrorist” is subject to secret military tribunals where standard rules of evidence are not applicable. Once convicted, prisoners can only appeal directly to the President, who may keep them incarcerated even if they’re found not guilty.

§ The Bush Regime’s 2002 National Security Strategy seeks to take advantage of America’s unparalleled power by preemptively attacking any entity that would challenge its vital interests [read the military-industrial-petroleum complex].

§ In 2003, the U.S. illegally invaded Iraq under false pretenses (Saddam had WMD).

§ In 2004, the Army summarized its maltreatment of prisoners in Afghanistan and Iraq, revealing widespread abuse, including 37 deaths. Also, the New Zealand Herald claimed the U.S. is holding roughly 10,000 prisoners around the world in Abu Ghraib-like conditions. The Bush regime then announced it would seek to continue its internationally sanctioned immunity from war crimes prosecution, granted to American “peacekeepers” by the United Nations in 2002. But because of Abu Ghraib, et al, it failed due to massive international opposition to any exemptions for U.S. forces. A couple days later, Bush tried to calm the international community by blaming torture at Abu Ghraib on a few low lifes who “disregarded our country and disregarded our values.” In June, Knight-Ridder reported the Army’s investigation of 127 prisoner deaths, up from 37 a month before. Two weeks later, the Supreme Court decided it has “long since made clear that a state of war is not a blank check for the President.” Information released by the federal government under a Freedom of Information Act request by the American Civil Liberties Union showed that President Bush authorized torture by executive order, which the Regime still denies despite the evidence. Nonetheless, two days later the Justice Department released a re-written “torture memo” that superseded the 2002 memo “in its entirety.”

§ So far this year, Newsweek has reported that DoD is considering “the Salvador option” (i.e.: assassination, death squads, kidnapping campaigns) to bring Iraq under control. In February, Reed Brody of Human Rights Watch, pointed out that “No soldier higher than the rank of sergeant has been charged with a crime. No civilian leader at the Pentagon or CIA is even being investigated. But the privates and the sergeants are not the ones who cast aside the Geneva Conventions or authorize illegal interrogation methods.” In fact, disgraced former CIA director George Tenet, former Iraqi Viceroy H. Paul Bremer and retired Gen. Tommy Franks, who planned the invasion, received medals of Freedom, Gonzalez was promoted, and Rummy’s kept his job. Furthermore, Rumsfeld has now placed restrictions on a free press by limiting reporters’ access to prisoner abuse courts martial.

The fact is, government language is in Vietnam mode—we’re liberating Iraq by destroying it. You are not fighting for freedom, as the regime’s propagandists would have you believe. Military power, being an extension of politics and business, is only as good as its political and economic leadership. When a military has poor leadership, troops suffer. Their morale sinks into the toilet as all their good intentions are flushed.

Perhaps you are privately wondering about your leaders’ wisdom—even their righteousness—as you risk your life or, perhaps, take the lives of others. If you’re not questioning them, I beg you start. If you have asked and don’t like the answers, do something about it for the sake of your own humanity. The future will thank you for it.


Chuck Richardson

Citizen of the World, Veteran Submarine SONAR Technician, U.S. Navy

[email protected]


A Chronology of US War Crimes & Torture, 1975-2005: The Crimes of Empire, By Tom Stephens,

Abu Ghraib: Planet of the Bullies, by Chuck Richardson,

Looking for a Deathbed Conversion, by Chuck Richardson,

The Emperor’s New Clothes, Part 5: America the Great, by Chuck Richardson,

The Beauty of Unilateral Defiance, by Chuck Richardson,












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