Military Families to Obama: End the War
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After five years of working to end the occupation of Iraq and bring their loved ones home, members of Military Families Speak Out are expressing hope that with the election of Barack Obama an end may finally be in sight to a war that has claimed the lives of 4,190 U.S. troops and over a million Iraqis.
At the same time, they are appealing to President-Elect Obama to commit to making the immediate and complete return of all U.S. troops from Iraq his first order of business. Obama has said that he plans to withdraw combat troops from Iraq over a sixteen month period, which would continue the U.S. military occupation of Iraq past 2009, and leave tens of thousands of U.S. troops tasked with security, counter-terrorism, and training missions in Iraq indefinitely.
Addressing the next President, Marge Haracz, of Mundelein, IL, whose son is now serving with the Army in Iraq, said:
"President-elect Obama, in 2003 before the first bombs fell in Iraq you stood in opposition calling Iraq a 'dumb war.' My son and 151,000 brothers and sisters in arms continue to risk their lives in that dumb war. The change these brave young men and women and their families need is the orderly but immediate withdrawal from Iraq and strong leadership as America meets the challenge of taking care of them when they get home."
Beth Leahy, of York, ME, who has a son serving in the Air Force:
"In a few days, my son Billy will be going to Kirkuk, Iraq. He only recently returned from a deployment to Afghanistan. He is 22 years old and newly married. He and his wife had a simple, quick ceremony with only two guests so that they could be married before he leaves. And yes, although unthinkable, I know it was because he knows he may not come home and wants to be sure that she is taken care of in case of that heart-breaking outcome. This is just one family affected by the war.
"It is time for all our troops to be brought home from Iraq and for their families to sleep easily once again."
Keri Wheelwright, of Fountain Hills, AZ, is married to a West Point graduate now serving as an Army Officer in Iraq. On learning of Obama's victory, she said:
"President Elect Obama, as the wife of a deployed military officer, my number one issue when voting in this election was ending the war in Iraq. Now that you've been elected, I hope you make ending the war your number one issue as well. If you truly wish to restore faith in the presidency, and leave a legacy of honesty behind, you must end this war now. Help our country redeem itself in the eyes of the world and our own citizens by withdrawing our soldiers from this occupation based on lies. Bring all our troops home from Iraq now and make sure that those brave men and women have access to the care they will need when they get home. Show our brave men and women in uniform that they can once again trust their Commander in Chief to serve them as they have served us, with bravery, honor, and dignity."
Lisa Leitz, of Buellton, CA, who is married to a Navy fighter pilot and serves on the Board of Directors of Military Families Speak Out said:
"Today's military families bear a large portion of the burden of the country's current wars. As such Military Families Speak Out, asks President-Elect Obama to honor these families by ending the war in Iraq."
Military Families Speak Out is an organization of nearly 4,000 military families opposed to the war in Iraq with loved ones who are serving or have served in the U.S. military since fall, 2002. . Members of Military Families Speak Out are available for interview -- including members whose loved ones are now serving in Iraq, members whose loved ones will soon be deployed to Iraq, and members whose loved ones were killed in Iraq.