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2004-03-19

Soldiers Say No To War: An Active Duty Soldier & Marine Veteran Speak Out Against the Invasion

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Pedro Pietri, Reading an excerpt of his poem "Puerto Rican Obituary" from the Third World Newsreel documentary "El Pueblo Se Levanta."

Juan Gonzalez, Reading Pedro Pietri’s poem "Puerto Rican Obituary"

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In a Democracy Now! exclusive, a 21-year-old soldier talks about his last 10 months in Iraq and why he believes the war is being fought for the profit of Halliburton and not the liberation of Iraqis. We also speak to a Marine who entered Iraq a year ago as an artilleryman. To mark the war’s first anniversary he plans to protest outside Fort Bragg.

On Monday Staff Sergeant Camilo Mejia, of the Florida National Guard surrendered to US military police. He had been on the run for five months after he refused to go back to Iraq to fight.

After he surrendered Mejia said "I am saying no to war. I went to Iraq and was an instrument of violence, and now I have decided to become an instrument of peace."

Mejia is now seeking conscientious objector status.

He is one of an unknown number of soldiers who has returned from Iraq and only to criticize U.S. foreign policy.

One of these soldiers is Michael Hoffman, a former Marine artilleryman.

A year ago today he was preparing to go into Iraq.

Tomorrow he will be stationed outside Fort Bragg in Fayatteville. Not as a soldier but a protester. He will be joining thousands at the protest which is expected to be the largest anti-war rally outside a military base since the Vietnam War.

And then there are soldiers like Cody. He is 21 years old and served in Iraq from March of last year to February.

He recently returned home from leave.

Today he is speaking out on a national news program for the first time. To protect his identity we will refer to him by his first name. Unlike Michael Hoffman his term is not over. In a few weeks Cody is returning overseas to finish his duty. But he felt he had a need to speak out.

  • Michael Hoffman, former Marine Artilleryman who served in Iraq from March to May of last year. On Saturday he is participating in an anti-war protest in Fayateville North Carolina outside of Fort Bragg.
  • Cody, 21-year-old soldier serving in Iraq on temporary leave. He has been serving in Iraq since March 20 when the U.S. launched its invasion. He is on leave now in the United States. He has agreed to come on the show and talk about his experience in Iraq on the condition that we do not use his last name.

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