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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MARCH 28, 2003
5:00 PM
CONTACT:  Veterans for Common Sense
Stephen Kent of Kent Communications,
845-758-0097
Notwithstanding Bush Speech, Veterans' Groups Not Monolith on Iraq
Many Vets, Retired Officers Question Iraq War; Media Availabilities
 
WASHINGTON - March 28 - President Bush's speech to veterans garnered applause at the White House today as he praised coalition forces in Iraq. But despite claiming support from what the President termed "the veterans' groups" for the war and a supplemental appropriation of $75 billion to fund it, individual veterans and organized veterans' groups are also on record strongly questioning the wisdom of the Iraq invasion and voicing concerns over the potential for massive casualties.

For example, in a letter to President Bush spearheaded by Veterans for Common Sense, 986 U.S. war veteran signatories, including high-ranking officers and Kris Kristofferson, requested a meeting with the White House to discuss their concerns. Although other veterans' groups were invited to the White House today to hear the president's speech, the Veterans for Common Sense letter has received no reply.

Posted at http://www.veteransforcommonsense.org, the letter 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."

As coalition forces close in on Baghdad, the Iraqi defense minister today promised that urban street fighting would ensue and inflict massive casualties.

The following signatories to the Veterans for Common Sense letter are available now for media interviews reviewing veterans' positions on the war, and analyzing military aspects of news from the Iraqi front:

-- Brigadier General Evelyn Foote, Gulf War veteran, testified before Congress

-- Specialist Erik K. Gustafson, Gulf War Army veteran, co-founder, Veterans for Common Sense

-- Captain Kris Kristofferson (phone interviews only) former 82 Airborne helicopter pilot, celebrated actor, Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter.

-- Colonel David H. Hackworth, Army veteran of 30 years, veteran war correspondent who covered the Gulf War

-- Vice Admiral Jack Shanahan, former commander, US Second fleet, WWII, Korea and Vietnam veteran, former director, Center for Defense Information.

-- Sgt. Seth Pollack, Gulf War vet, chairman of Veterans for Common Sense

-- Specialist Charles Sheehan-Miles, Gulf War Army veteran, co-founder, Veterans for Common Sense

-- Lt. Colonel Gretchen Vanek, veteran of 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. They are based throughout the United States, including Washington, D.C. For more information or interviews, contact Stephen Kent, 845-758-0097 or cell, 914-589-5988.

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