Troops’ anger toward Bush rising

President George W. Bush is fond of putting on the trappings of a soldier and playing the hero as in his recent performance aboard a U.S. aircraft carrier. The true record is just the opposite. Now the real military heroes, whose blood stains the sands of Iraq and Afghanistan, are growing more and more dissatisfied with this White House. Their anger is boiling over. Tim Predmore, a member of the 101st Airborne Division from Peoria, just down the road, vented his feelings in a letter to his hometown newspaper, the Peoria Journal Star. “I once believed that I served for a cause: ‘To uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States.’ Now I no longer believe that,” Predmore wrote. “I can no longer justify my service for what I believe to be half-truths and bold lies.” Candace Robison, a soldier’s wife and mother of two from Krum, Texas, recently spoke out at a protest outside Bush’s Crawford, Texas, ranch. “It is time to speak out because our troops are still dying, and our government is still lying,” she said. “Morale is at an all-time low and our heroes feel like they’ve been forgotten,” she added. Many of the troops are livid at Bush’s plans to cut their benefits and combat pay. Many are furious at the president’s challenge to “Bring ‘em on,” after their fellow soldiers fell to hostile fire from Iraqi guerrilla fighters. Many are solidly opposed to what this White House is demanding. “Our supporters range from pacifists to people from long military traditions who have supported every war this country has ever fought—until this one,” said Charlie Richardson, co-founder of Military Families Speak Out. “Many people supported this war at the beginning because they believed the threat from weapons of mass destruction and accepted the link between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda. Now they realize their beliefs were built on quicksand,” Richardson said. “They are very angry with the administration and feel they’ve been duped.” The story was picked up by Britain’s The Guardian newspaper and by several Web sites in this country. Predmore’s comments are pointed. “We have all faced death in Iraq without reason or justification,” he said. “How many more tears must be shed before Americans awake and demand the return of the men and women whose job it is to protect them rather than their leader’s interest?” “So what is our purpose here?” Predmore asks. “Was this invasion because of weapons of mass destruction, as we have so often heard? If so, where are they? Did we invade to dispose of a leader and his regime because they were closely associated with Osama bin Laden? If so, where is the proof? “This looks like a modern-day crusade, not to free an oppressed people or to rid the world of a demonic dictator relentless in his pursuit of conquest and domination, but a crusade to control another nation’s natural resource. Oil—at least to me—seems to be the reason for our presence,” Predmore said. Paul Wolfowitz, deputy secretary of defense, speaking in Britain recently, admitted our invasion of Iraq was to seize the oil fields. As Predmore noted, the one central truth in all this is that Americans are dying. He said there are 10 to 14 attacks on U.S. personnel daily with no end in sight. One 23-year-old serving in the U.S. Air Force commented: “The powers-that-be are destroying our military from the inside, especially our Army. How many of these people that are ‘stranded’ (for lack of a better term) in Iraq are going to re-enlist? How many that haven’t deployed are going to re-enlist…how many families are going to be destroyed?”

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