Launched in September 2006, Appeal for Redress is a Washington, DC-based anti-war movement whose purpose is to offer active-duty, reserve, and guard service members an opportunity to publicly “support the withdrawal of U.S. troops” from Iraq. The movement’s seminal document is a brief statement, known as the “Appeal for Redress,” which “provides a way in which individual service members can appeal to their Congressional Representative[s] and U.S. Senators to urge an end to the U.S. military occupation.” The wording of the Appeal is as follows: “As a patriotic American proud to serve the nation in uniform, I respectfully urge my political leaders in Congress to support the prompt withdrawal of all American military forces and bases from Iraq. Staying in Iraq will not work and is not worth the price. It is time for U.S. troops to come home.” Any military person who endorsed the wording of this statement is invited to sign his or her name to it on the Appeal for Redress website. The first batch of signed statements was delivered to members of Congress just prior to Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in January 2007. As of January 27, 2007, Appeal for Redress membership consisted of 1,223 active-duty members of the U.S. military.
To allay any misgivings that military personnel may feel about signing such a document, Appeal for Redress states: “The military regulation that covers protest and dissent by members of the military is DOD [Department of Defense] Directive 1325.6 — ‘Guidelines for Handling Dissident and Protest Activities Among Members of the Armed Forces.’ The command may prohibit members from distributing written materials on base, other than through ‘official outlets,’ without prior approval. However, the command may not prevent you from distributing printed material simply because it is critical of government policies or officials. DoD Directive 1325.6 says it is DoD policy to preserve military members’ ‘right of expression … to the maximum extent possible, consistent with good order and discipline and the national security.’ … [It] provides the right of service members to complain and request redress of grievances against actions of their commanders. … A redress is not to be confused with a petition. The action taken here by individual service members is an Appeal for Redress to End the War in Iraq.”
At a January 27, 2007 antiwar rally in Washington, DC (an event organized by United For Peace and Justice, Win Without War, Peace Action, Code Pink, and Progressive Democrats of America), Appeal for Redress’s co-founder, Jonathon Hutto, denounced the Iraq War as “an imperialist war; a war for profit, not for people; a war for death, not for people; a war against the working class, not for justice. … We gotta keep the mass movement going, no matter who’s in office, a Democrat or a Republican. We gotta keep the mass movement going against the system. It’s a systematic war.” Hutto then led the crowd in a chant that included the following verses: “Racism means we got to fight back! Oil war means we got to fight back! Imperialism means we got to fight back! … No justice, no peace!”