On January 6, the Pentagon revealed that it was sending a surprise 1,400 additional Marines to combat in Afghanistan. With 2010 being by far the deadliest year of the entire war, casualties increasing and generals and analysts admitting that the war cannot be won, the Pentagon is throwing more bodies into the bloody quagmire.
They are doing this simply because they don't know what else to do. The millionaire puppet politicians and generals refuse to walk away from the wealth and economic gains that would come from conquering a country that the Afghan people, and the majority of people in the U.S., want us out of.
Immediatly after the announcement of this additional troop escalation, two March Forward! members, who are both former Marine Corps infantrymen, issued these personal appeals to those Marines set to deploy.
|Excerpt from Marine Corporal Ryan Endicott's letter to deploying Marines:|
There is no longer any doubt that the war in Iraq was waged for corporate profits. Like Iraq, Afghanistan is just another resource-rich region of the world that is not yet in the grip of Wall Street.
If I could turn the hands of time back to February 2005, I would have refused to deploy to the criminal occupation of Iraq.
In doing so, I
would have been truly fulfilling the oath I took when I raised my right
hand and swore to defend the people of this country. When we swore our
oath, we swore to protect the people of this country against all enemies
foreign and domestic; and today, it has become undeniably clear that
the biggest enemy of the people of this country is not poor people in
Iraq or Afghanistan, but the millionaire politicians, the Wall Street
bankers, oil tycoons and defense weapons contractors who throw our lives
away for their own gain.
|Excerpt from Marine Sergeant Eddie Pages' letter to deploying Marines:|
How long are we going to continue to fight and die? How many
deployments? How many holidays must we be absent? How many of our
children’s births and birthday celebrations must we continue to miss?
How many Afghan children will have to lose their parents or their own
lives before this war is over? A few years ago, I began asking myself
these questions and I’m sure many of you are asking them right now.
Full letter from Cpl. Ryan Endicott to deploying Marines:
In March of 2005, I deployed to Ramadi Iraq as an infantryman. I remember being more excited than anything else. I was excited because I believed that I was serving my country, protecting my family and helping an oppressed people fight for their liberation. However, after taking part in combat and witnessing the war first hand, I came home a different person.
Nearly 5,000 Marines, sailors, soldiers and air force members gave their lives in Iraq; including 16 Marines from my battalion in Ramadi. And today, we recognize that these troops were sent to kill, and be killed, for the profits of a tiny few. Today, as more evidence surfaces as to the oil interests, defense contracts and war profiteering taking place in Iraq, we see that our government will stop at nothing to expand its power.
There is no longer any doubt that the war in Iraq was waged for corporate profits. We see that the government has no qualms about sending brave men and women in uniform from Main Street to their deaths for the interest of Wall Street. We see that the government has no qualms about terrorizing and killing innocent people around the world for the interests of the super-rich. And lastly, we see that this government has no qualms about what happens to those veterans who do return home and suffer the highest unemployment rates and the highest homelessness rates, and receive criminally inadequate treatment for PTSD.
It does not take a military strategist to see that sending an additional 1,400 Marines to a war with over 100,000 soldiers is a desperate and hopeless action. Even General Petraeus says, “I don’t think you win this war. … This is the kind of fight we're in for the rest of our lives and probably our kids' lives.” The former British commander in Afghanistan has stated that the war cannot be won, and that “American strategy is doomed to fail.” So, between these admissions, and the absolute criminal negligence resulting in the mass homelessness and suicides of our returning veterans, it becomes crystal clear that we are being sent to these occupations by people who admittedly do not have our best interests, or the Afghan peoples' interests, at heart.
As with the Iraq war, it has become obvious that we are giving our lives, our limbs and our minds not for freedom, not for liberation, but for profit. Like Iraq, Afghanistan is just another resource-rich region of the world that is not yet in the grip of Wall Street.
As the months pass, and more active-duty troops die as a result of suicide than in combat, it is now time for the veterans of this country to take a stand. If I could turn the hands of time back to February 2005, I would have refused to deploy to the criminal occupation of Iraq. In doing so, I would have been truly fulfilling the oath I took when I raised my right hand and swore to defend the people of this country. When we swore our oath, we swore to protect the people of this country against all enemies foreign and domestic; and today, it has become undeniably clear that the biggest enemy of the people of this country is not poor people in Iraq or Afghanistan, but the millionaire politicians, the Wall Street bankers, oil tycoons and defense weapons contractors who throw our lives away for their own gain.
It is not the poor Iraqi or Afghan who is struggling to feed his family who threatens our families in the States. It is the corporate CEOs who lay off hundreds of thousands of workers to protect their multi-million-dollar bonuses. Our enemies are the bankers who take our houses, the government officials who slash our social services and our opportunity to get a decent education. The real enemies of the veterans are not found in the farmlands of Afghanistan but in the halls of Congress. The members of Congress sleep well at night in their million-dollar mansions, while the veterans who risk their lives following orders sleep on the streets.
The war in Afghanistan is far from over. We will be sent over and over, on increasingly bloody deployments, to a war that is lost, and a war that we have no reason to fight.
It is up to us, as the veterans of the U.S., to stand up and fight back. It is not just our right but our sworn duty. It is our sworn duty to stand up against oppression, imperialism and colonialism. As Marines, we are supposed to live our lives with honor, courage and commitment, and being sent to our deaths for colonial conquest is neither honorable nor courageous. However, standing up and refusing to deploy to a war for profit is both. The most honorable and courageous act you can do is to lay down your arms and refuse to fight.
Corporal Ryan Endicott
Full letter from Sgt. Eddie Pages to deploying Marines:
To my fellow Marines,
My name is Sgt. Edward Pages. I was deeply saddened by the news that 1,400 more of us will be deploying to Afghanistan to in support of the so-called “spring combat season.”
I was saddened by the thought of more of my brothers and sisters being sent off to fight and die for no reason other than profit for the corporations, which are looking to steal the vast wealth and resources of the Afghan people—a people who had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. I recently read a poll that said that only eight percent of young Afghan men have even heard of the attacks on that terrible morning.
How long, brothers and sisters?
How long are we going to continue to fight and die? How many deployments? How many holidays must we be absent? How many of our children’s births and birthday celebrations must we continue to miss? How many Afghan children will have to lose their parents or their own lives before this war is over? A few years ago, I began asking myself these questions and I’m sure many of you are asking them right now.
As an 18-year-old infantryman, I was stationed in Kings Bay, Ga., guarding the strategic assets of the United States. It was there that I met a young Marine by the name of Jason L. Dunham. Many of you may recognize the name.
After my first tour, I got out of the Marines honorably. A year and a half after my EAS date I learned that Cpl. Jason L. Dunham had died after jumping on a grenade to save his troops in Iraq. I was so deeply moved by Cpl. Dunham’s sacrifice that I returned to active duty immediately. This time I became an intelligence analyst. I did so because I figured that if only the intelligence Cpl. Dunham had on that day was perhaps a little more accurate then maybe, just maybe, he would still be here today.
I went back in the Marines this time a bit older and a bit wiser. I quickly started to see behind the curtain of U.S. foreign policy immediately, as I was privy to information most of us are not allowed to see or know about. I began to realize that I had been lied to about everything. I watched Marines around me being deployed all over the globe without so much as a clue as to the real reasons we were being sent to kill and be killed.
Cpl. Dunham became the first Marine awarded the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War. The part of this that the press did not mention was that Cpl. Dunham had died in vain. He did not have to be on that patrol that day. He did not have to be in Iraq to begin with.
Cpl. Dunham was sent there by politicians who would never walk into the alley in which he died without an army to protect them, who sent him there to do nothing but conquer a sovereign country for oil giants and defense contractors.
Cpl. Dunham’s family received some money from insurance and a medal from the Commander in Chief, but they will never again see their son.
By the time I received orders to deploy to Iraq—what I had re-joined the Marines to do—I knew that I could not morally go to fight in a country that had never done anything to me or to my family. I began to understand that if I was in the position of most Iraqis, I too would pick up a gun and fight for my family and for my country.
I refused those orders to deploy. I have never once regretted it.
Since then I have seen too many of my fellow Devil Dogs die, lose limbs, their sight, their families or their minds for no reason.
Just days ago, a U.S. military commander told a reporter in southern Helmand province that he has come to know that the Afghan war is “more like 'Tom and Jerry' cartoon which never ends, the only difference is the cartoon does not claim lives, but here we lose men every day."
2010 was by far the bloodiest year of the war, for both U.S. troops and Afghan civilians. This shows no signs of stopping—only getting worse.
I refused my orders to Iraq, and you can refuse your orders to Afghanistan. This will be a decision you will not regret. It will be a decision that you can be proud to tell your children and grandchildren about.
Sgt. Edward Pages
Click here to read why we have no reason to fight in Afghanistan, and the lies we are told to justify the war.