An Open Letter to Iraq Veterans Against the War


Dear IVAW,

After my article on ("Young Marine Speaks Out"), I was approached by members of your organization. They saw in my words a kindred antiwar spirit. I told those who contacted me that I couldn't and wouldn't become a part of your organization. At the time I was worried that I’d receive more harassment from the Marine Corps if I joined an antiwar organization. Today, a day after I have been discharged from the Marine Corps, I have a much better reason why I would not and will not join your organization. Your recent DNC convention protest march in Denver (my hometown) is the reason. At this march, an official of yours, Liam Madden, crossed the police riot line and had a shadowy meeting with Sen. Obama’s campaign officials. Apparently at this meeting, the campaign official assured Mr. Madden and the rest of the IVAW protesters that Sen. Obama would be in compliance with the three unity points.

For some reason your organization seems to support the Democrats, and now their candidate, Sen. Obama, as the antiwar party and candidate. This baffles me. Perhaps you don't know your history.

President Bill Clinton sent many of our brothers and sisters into harm's way and billions of dollars worth of bombs onto the heads of Somalians, Serbs, Sudanese, and Iraqis while he was in office. He was a Democrat and he was no antiwar president. Before him President Roosevelt (FDR) drove us into WWII. His successor, Harry Truman, got us involved in the bloodstained Korean conflict. JFK was the original president to send "military advisors" to South Vietnam and began our quagmire there. They were all Democrats. Then the Republicans started the Iraq war with Democratic Congressional support, and in 2006 the Democrats ran as the "antiwar" party and won the midterm elections by a healthy margin. You hoped that this would change the direction of our war; you thought the corner was turned.

Turns out nothing changed. President Bush got whatever money he wanted (and in some cases more) from the Democrat-controlled Congress. After all that antiwar rhetoric, including words from Sen. Obama, it turns out that the Democratic party is not at all antiwar — or perhaps they are just spineless. Either way, your apparent support of the Democratic party and of Sen. Obama is reprehensible.

I know who you are, I have served with you in conditions that we still can't speak or write about. I believe in your three points of unity and strongly support them, but putting your trust in the Democratic party and Sen. Obama is terribly misguided, as history shows us. You had courage and fortitude when you served in Iraq; get it back here, stateside, and support a true antiwar candidate, please. I'd suggest a man like Ron Paul, or even Dennis Kucinich. But never support a prowar party and candidate.

Former US Marine and Iraq War Veteran, Philip Martin

September 1, 2008