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A growing number of U.S. citizens have realized that the war in Iraq is an immoral and profoundly destructive waste of both Iraqi and American lives. The war was begun in violation of international law, and founded on lies told to our own people and to our allies. It has included defiance of the Geneva Conventions with illegal and secret detentions of prisoners, a denial of due process of law and well-documented torture and killing of prisoners in American custody. Its extravagant cost increasingly robs our own neediest citizens of vital services while enriching a few private corporations.
We believe it is the moral responsibility of every U.S. citizen to raise our voices and take action to stop this illegal war and bring our soldiers home. We believe it is our duty as both Americans and members of the international community to insist that our government immediately adhere to the international agreements binding us, including the Geneva Accords protecting prisoners from torture and indefinite detention.
Many members of the armed services are seeking ways to avoid service in Iraq or leave the military completely; some young men are refusing to register for Selective Service. Increasing numbers of enlisted men and women are risking prison sentences or forced immigration in order to avoid collaboration in an immoral war. We applaud these choices and will do all that we can to encourage others to follow their example.
More specifically, we support and will spread the word about the G.I. Rights Hotline and other efforts to support soldiers in withdrawing from the military. We will counsel young men turning eighteen on the moral obligations as well as risks inherent in a refusal to register with the Selective Service, and we will raise funds to support them in their legal defense. Should a draft be reinstituted we will encourage young men and women not to comply.
The War Crimes Tribunals following World War II established that anyone with knowledge of illegal activity and an opportunity to do something is a potential criminal under international law, unless the person takes affirmative measures to prevent the commission of the crime. We, the undersigned, commit ourselves to undertake all affirmative measures available to us to fulfill our obligations under these treaties, which have guided our world for half a century. We will continue to raise our voices and engage in nonviolent resistance until our government has withdrawn from Iraq and brought our soldiers home.
Members of the RTPV Steering Committee:
Rabbi Donna Berman, the Rev. Dennis Calhoun, the Rev. Sonnie Fish, John Humphries, the Rev. Kathleen McTigue, Kasha Ho, Father Tom O'Rourke, the Rev. Allie Perry, the Rev. Susan Power Trucksess.