Bring Them Home Now (BTHN)–the name is an allusion to the 1960s anti-war demand regarding U.S. troops in Vietnam–is an organization of military families, veterans, active duty personnel, reservists, and others who are opposed to the war in Iraq. Based in St. Louis, Missouri, BTHN claims to have been “galvanized to action by George W. Bush’s inane and reckless challenge to armed Iraqis resisting occupation.” The group itself is “a campaign of Military Families Speak Out.”
BTHN’s stated mission is to convince the American government to immediately abandon “the occupation of Iraq and other misguided military adventures,” removing all U.S. troops from the war zone and leaving Iraqis to hammer out a political resolution among themselves. BTHN’s three principal activities include: (a) maintaining a website that provides news and commentary about Operation Iraqi Freedom; (b) sponsoring rallies and protests against the Iraq War; and (c) initiating anti-military-recruitment efforts.
According to Bring Them Home Now, the Bush administration led the U.S. into war by deliberately deceiving the American public through the use of scare tactics and lies about the severity of the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, and about the possibility that the Iraqi dictator maintained ties to al Qaeda. BTHN asserts that by going to war against Iraq, the U.S. “spit in the eye of the UN and world public opinion.” “The bottom line,” the group adds, “… is that our own troops are being used not to defend the people and the Constitution of the United States as they swore an oath to do, but to satisfy dreams of empire and seize control of oil supplies.”
Bring Them Home Now maintains that the Bush administration is inflicting psychological harm onto American troops by forcing them to kill innocent people in Iraq; and is exposing those troops, without just cause, to the physical dangers inherent in Iraq’s scalding desert heat, stores of depleted uranium, and terrorist ambushes. Says BTHN, “the reconstruction of Iraq cannot take place under U.S. military occupation . . . Much of the chaos and violence in Iraq right now is in direct response to the military occupation.”
Though BTHN voices compassion for the U.S. troops who are serving under difficult conditions in Iraq, it also frequently alleges that they are committing heinous war crimes on a regular basis. Under a March 22, 2006 headline that read “Is Occupation Entering My Lai Phase?” — a reference to a 1968 massacre where U.S. soldiers killed hundreds of unarmed Vietnamese civilians — BTHN posted an article reporting an unsubstantiated claim that American troops had murdered 11 innocent people in cold blood during a March 15 raid on a house 60 miles north of Baghdad. BTHN did not mention that the raid in question was designed to capture an al Qaeda member who was taking refuge therein.
A member organization of the After Downing Street anti-war coalition, Bring Them Home Now has not published a list of its leaders nor a documentation of its finances. The group is a subsidiary of Veterans For Peace (VFP), which collects donations to BTHN. Bring Them Home Now is sponsored by five leftist organizations: Citizen Soldier, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Military Families Speak Out, Veterans for Peace, and Vietnam Veterans Against the War.
BTHN is a member organization of the United for Peace and Justice anti-war coalition.