Combat “Enablers”: DON’T GO!!! Open letter to the troops from Gold Star Mom, Cindy Sheehan

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by Cindy Sheehan
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox Blog
Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox
Sept. 17, 2009

Dear Combat “Enablers” and other Troops,

I read an article in the Army Times recently that said 3000 more troops will be deployed to Afghanistan and 1000 more to Iraq.

“The troops are what the military calls “combat enablers” — noncombat troops who specialize in areas such as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; explosives ordnance disposal; medical and mental health; and personnel administration. They will deploy in team-sized elements as opposed to larger units,” according to the article.

This follows close on the heels of Admiral Michael Mullen (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) going before the Senate September 15th to ask for more troops and Stanley “the Goon” McChrystal, (death squad leader and commander in Afghanistan) is expected to request more troops soon in his much awaited assessment of the mess, which will be hereafter be called: “assess-mess” to save time.

Since the Democratic Congress has already appropriated an additional 100 billion dollars and , because their leader has called Afghanistan a “war of necessity,” the followers of your Commander in Chief have stood down in the anti-war arena so I can only regretfully and gloomily predict more future disaster and body bags in the Middle East.

As a mother who had a son killed in Iraq, this is my personal message to you:

First of all, even if the military calls you a “combat enabler” and not a combat “troop,” my son was a humvee mechanic who was killed in a mission he was forced to go on just hours after he arrived on post in Baghdad.

Being a “combat enabler,” especially the “jobs” listed above, “enables” other people to more “efficiently” kill innocents with your complicity. Even if you don’t get innocent blood directly on your hands, in the eyes of the law, you are just as responsible.

Also, Iraq-Af-Pak are illegal wars of aggression that are inherently WAR CRIMES. Your oath is to protect the Constitution. The Uniform Code of Military Justice compels you to disobey illegal orders. Why would you want to go and support the war profiteers by harming yourself or harming others by breaking international laws and our own laws here at home.

Many of your colleagues are being blown to pieces and their loved ones are lucky if they get a scrap of their soldier to bury. Too many more of your Brothers and Sisters are being wounded and will have to exist with physical handicaps for the rest of their lives. I know World War II vets who have lasting illnesses because of their service! UNTIL YOU DIE! Can you imagine living decades with traumatic brain injury, or any other disability?

According to statistics from the VA, 18 vets per day commit suicide, and 1000 more attempt suicide every month. Please don’t think that you can’t become a statistic!

If you can’t think of your own well being, or of your other loved ones, think of your Mother. Do you want her to see what I saw on April 04, 2004?

I was eating a nice meal, watching CNN around 5pm that afternoon. For the two weeks that Casey had been out of the country, I couldn’t eat, sleep, concentrate or function fully as a human being. Having four active children that went on Scouting trips and other youth group trips, I was a champion worrier. However, the worry I felt for my oldest child when he was needlessly in a combat zone far surpassed any other worry I had ever experienced.

That afternoon, as I watched CNN, a report from Iraq came on. It showed a humvee burning and reported (very quickly) that “8 troops had been killed in Baghdad that day.” I looked at Casey’s dad and said: “One of them was Casey,” and we didn’t even know where he was stationed yet.

Four hours later, I decided to take our dogs Buster and Chewy for their nightly walk. As I walked around our usual route I was sobbing with worry and anxiety. Unfortunately, when I got home from my walk, I could see through the front door that there were 3 Army Officers standing in my living room. Casey’s dad was standing there with a pair of pants in his hands that he was folding when the Heralds of Death came to our door. Casey’s sister had just come home from work and she was standing there with a stricken look on her face.

I collapsed into the house and fell on the floor screaming in the worst pain I had every felt before, or since. The physical pain of losing a child, which I call childdeath is immeasurably worse than the pain of childbirth. Then there’s the emotional and psychic pain to make things even worse. When I hear of anyone dying from these immoral wars of occupation, the wound is ripped open and I never get a chance to heal.

Casey went over to Iraq before the incontrovertible proof that it was based on lies was shown. Now, five and a half years after he died, there is absolutely not one shred of proof that Iraq-Af-Pak are anything but needless wastes of life and our nations’ treasure. Casey didn’t want to go, but he felt it was his duty, It was never his duty to die for lies and war profiteering.

Dear Troops, Casey’s Brothers and Sisters, I beg you as a mother: DO NOT GO!

You signed a contract, but you signed a contract with a government that has no feeling for you other than to make you cannon fodder or bullet sponges for the War Machine and for geo-political chaos.

I am pleading with you…do not let yourself be so misused by your Commander in Chief and your military superiors—they are only “superior” to you by their rank; their callousness and cowardice make them realistically far inferior to you.

You may say: “Cindy, but if I don’t go, I may have to go to prison,” which may be true or it may not. Lt. Ehren Watada did not have to go to prison after he refused deployment to Iraq and thousands of you rightfully go AWOL every year.

Even if you do go to prison for taking a principled stand, wouldn’t that be better than killing a baby in one of those countries, or killing your own mother’s baby?

You may also say: “Cindy it’s easy for you to say, you are not risking prison yourself.” But I do, I risk it everyday because I am a conscientious tax objector. I refuse to pay my income taxes. Personally, I find it morally repugnant to be a combat “enabler.”

Please don’t bloody your hands for the Empire.

Peace is only possible if we do the morally upright thing, because our governments will not.

Love & Peace

Cindy Sheehan

Mother of Casey Sheehan: KIA in the USA’s Criminal War on Terror: April 04, 2004


International Peoples Declaration of Peace (video; final version)

The Spectrum of Disobedience – an interview with Howard Zinn By Gabriel Matthew Schivone

from the archives:

Preventing a Rogue President from Committing a War Crime: Open Letter to the New Generation of Military Officers by Lt. Col. Robert M. Bowman

6 thoughts on “Combat “Enablers”: DON’T GO!!! Open letter to the troops from Gold Star Mom, Cindy Sheehan

  1. Pingback: Number of U.S. Troops in Afghanistan Overlooks Thousands of Support Troops « Dandelion Salad

  2. Pingback: Celebrating Slaughter: War and Collective Amnesia by Chris Hedges « Dandelion Salad

  3. I am a veteran from the late 70s era and I love America’s veterans. This country has long and inglorious history of turning its young into killers or making them complicit parts of its killing machinery and after ruining their bodies, their minds and sometimes their souls it discard them like trash. I do a bit of work with the local homeless population and still 36 years after the last troops left Vietnam every American city of any size has veterans of that horror living under its bridges, in shelters or camped out in waste spaces while men like Dick (murderer) Cheney who had “other priorities” live long lives overflowing with privelege, property and power. Be a real hero and refuse to take part in a venture whose sole purpose is to enrich people who don’t give a shit about you, your family or the country you love. Listen to Cindy.

    Danielle E. (Beth) Lyles M.S.

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