GIs Petition Congress To End Iraq War

More Than 1,000 Military Personnel Sign Petition Urging Withdrawal

Americans in the military have been asked to make extraordinary sacrifices in recent years, particularly in Iraq, where the casualties are mounting, the tours are being extended, and some of them have had enough.

Correspondent Lara Logan heard dissension in the ranks from a large group of service members who are fed up and have decided to go public. They're not going AWOL, they're not disobeying orders or even refusing to fight in Iraq. But they are doing something unthinkable to many in uniform: bypassing the chain of command to denounce a war they're in the middle of fighting.



"As a patriotic citizen who served two combat tours in Iraq, I just feel like this war, it's simply just not working out anymore, and soldiers are dying there everyday," says Specialist Kevin Torres.

Torres didn't always feel that way—he enlisted in the Army right out of high school, after 9/11. He has twice served in Iraq, patrolling the mainly Kurdish north of the country, and carrying out combat patrols and goodwill missions.

"I joined because I just wanted to make a difference. I wanted to be a part of our generation's war," Torres says.

"You've been on two deployments and you didn't always feel this way. Was there a point at which, you know, something you experienced that made you think," Logan asks.

"Yeah. In January, we were doing routine presence patrol through the city of Hawija, and one of our trucks was hit by a roadside bomb, an IED, and it killed four of the soldiers out of the five that were in the truck. And during the recovery of the fallen soldiers all the debris outside of the truck. And we just had the truck was loaded with school supplies and soccer balls and crayons and notebooks and coloring books. We just wanna help. And it was just a really eye-opening and frustrating experience. Because we're still getting killed out there," he says.

It's a sentiment echoed by all of the service members who are part of this protest.

60 Minutes gathered some of them in Washington, but they had to be off base, out of uniform and off duty to speak to Logan on camera.

They've all sent a petition, called "Appeal For Redress," to their individual members of Congress, letting them know that "Staying in Iraq will not work" and it's "time for U.S. troops to come home."

"It's not about speaking out against the military or speaking out against the war. It's just, we're here four years down the line and there's not an end to it," Sgt. Evans, one of the dissenters, tells Logan.

"What are we trying to accomplish over there? I mean, what is what are we trying to do in Iraq?" another soldier, Sgt. Ronn Cantu asks.

What does he think?

"I don't even know anymore," he tells Logan.

"Well, what would you say to the people that say, 'Alright, it's clear that the war in Iraq is incredibly difficult and life is really tough both for Americans and for Iraqis, but pulling out's not the answer. It's only gonna get worse. There's gonna be all-out civil war,'" Logan asks.

"How does that become the default? Either someday, we have to leave. We can't stay in Iraq for the next thousand years," one soldier remarks.

Asked if there's a possibility that Iraq might be better off if American troops stay and finish the job, Cantu says, "But then our lives are hanging in the balance of a flip of a coin."

"That doesn't seem worth it to you? Those are not good odds?" Logan asks.

"Yes. I mean, we volunteered to make a difference, not just be part of an experiment," he replies.
  • Daniel Schorn

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