The forgotten soldiers


By Tom Jordan

Although it has been largely ignored by the commercial media, there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of military resisters of the US and European armies who refused to participate in the Gulf War.

According to the National Campaign for Amnesty for War Resisters in San Francisco, "thousands of soldiers are still AWOL, hundreds of courts-martial are pending, and dozens of military resisters have already been sentenced to as much as six years".

RITA (Resisters Inside The Army) is coordinating an international campaign to assist international antiwar military personnel. It points out the plight not only of US and allied personnel but also of Iraqi soldiers who deserted on US appeals or because they'd had enough of fighting for Saddam.

These soldiers had been parked in prison camps in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Fragmentary information from Saudi Arabia reveals that US soldiers have protested to their officers against orders to return Iraqi deserters to Saddam.

It is also known that at least 20 sailors "failed to sail" on the three Australian frigates sent to the Gulf.

RITA can be contacted at 40, rue de Malte 75011 Paris, France, fax 33 1 43 57 64 50.