By- Suzie-Q @ 12:55 PM MST
Anti-War Soldier Jonathan Hutto: People, Not Politicians, Will End the War in Iraq
The author of Antiwar Soldier discusses the GI movement, the election and why “the military needs racism” to fight its wars.
Active-duty sailor Jonathan Hutto signed up to join the Navy in December 2003, at the age of 26. Previously a college activist fighting police brutality in Washington, D.C., and later an organizer with the ACLU, he was not the sort of recruit one usually imagines enlisting in the U.S. military. But his experience as an activist would serve him well as he began to protest unjust practices within the armed forces, where almost from the start, he battled institutional racism and the unwillingness of the chain of command to punish it, while also fighting oppressive and arbitrary disciplinary practices by his commanding officers. In 2006, he co-founded Appeal for Redress, one of the only active-duty anti-war groups since Vietnam, devoted to ending the war in Iraq.
The appeal itself is three sentences long:
As a patriotic American proud to serve the nation in uniform, I respectfully urge my political leaders in Congress to support the prompt withdrawal of all American military forces and bases from Iraq. Staying in Iraq will not work and is not worth the price. It is time for U.S. troops to come home.
According to Hutto, more than 2,000 military personnel, 60 percent of whom have served in Iraq, have signed the appeal.
This month, Nation Books published Hutto’s book, Antiwar Soldier: How to Dissent Within the Ranks of the Military. Part military memoir, part training manual, it lays out crucial things a soldier needs to know before resisting. The preface was written by David Cortright, whose 1975 book, Soldiers in Revolt, is considered the definitive chronicle of the Vietnam GI movement. With the Iraq occupation in its sixth year and no real end in sight, Antiwar Soldier comes at a critical time, and a moment where, increasingly, veterans and soldiers are revitalizing the anti-war movement.