In letter to Bush, war veterans

Source: Veterans for Common Sense
Contact: Stephen Kent, Kent Communications
845-758-0097, cell 914-589-5988

In a letter delivered yesterday to President Bush, U.S. war veterans questioned the wisdom of invading Iraq now and sought a meeting with the White House to discuss their concerns. Initiated by the Washington-based veterans’ group Veterans for Common Sense, the letter was e-mailed to veterans this weekend and quickly gathered nearly 1,000 signatories, including high-ranking officers and Kris Kristofferson.

The letter (see below) “strongly question[s] the need for war at this time,” noting signatories are “not convinced that coercive containment has failed, or that war has become necessary.” It argues that unlike 1991’s desert campaign to liberate Kuwait, invading Iraq now would likely entail “protracted siege warfare, chaotic street-to-street fighting in Baghdad, and Iraqi civil conflict,” raising fears of “casualties not witnessed since Vietnam.”

Citing UN predictions of massive Iraqi casualties, including 1.26 million children under age five at particular risk, it states “excessive civilian casualties like those predicted by the UN pose a grave risk to our national security, making the U.S. more of a target of retaliatory attacks by terrorists.” Its signatories describe themselves as “patriotic citizens and veterans who respect the office of the President,” requesting a meeting at his “earliest possible convenience.”

The following signatories are available now for media interviews:

* Specialist Erik K. Gustafson, Gulf War Army veteran, co-founder, Veterans for Common Sense, an organization started by Gulf War veterans questioning the wisdom of invading Iraq.
* Captain Kris Kristofferson, former 82 Airborne helicopter pilot, celebrated actor, Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter.
* Colonel David H. Hackworth, Army veteran of 30 years, and a veteran war correspondent who covered the Gulf War.
* Vice Admiral Jack Shanahan, former commander of the U.S. Second Fleet, former director, Center for Defense Information.
* Specialist Charles Sheehan-Miles, Gulf War Army veteran and co-founder, Veterans for Common Sense
* Lt. Colonel Gretchen Vanek, a veteran of the Vietnam and Gulf Wars.
* Colonel Larry Williams, served 27 years in Marine Corps including in Vietnam and Beirut.
* Vice Admiral Ralph Weymouth, Veteran of WWII, Korea and Vietnam.

These and other veteran signatories are available for interviews starting March 11. They are based in major cities, including Washington DC. For more information or to request interviews, contact Stephen Kent, 845-758-0097.

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