(Originally published by the Associated Press, January 15 2007)
NORFOLK, Va. --Military members opposed to the U.S. involvement in Iraq gathered Monday to demand the withdrawal of American troops and prepared to present their appeal to Congress.
More than 20 active-duty service members and about 100 supporters appeared at an event highlighting the efforts of Appeal for Redress, which calls for Congress to end the war, rather than increase troops in Iraq, as President Bush has planned. More than 1,000 military members have added their names to the appeal's list, which is to be given to Congress on Tuesday.
A speech by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., in which he asked his followers to speak out against the Vietnam War, was read Monday in what organizers said was an attempt to illustrate parallels between that conflict and the Iraq war.
Norfolk-based Seaman Jonathan Hutto and Quantico-based Marine Sgt. Liam M. Madden started the Appeal for Redress Web site last year.
"We're trying to get as many appeals to Washington as possible to influence and give great weight to the dialogue" about the war, Hutto said.
Under the military whistle-blower protection act, military members can send appeals to members of Congress without reprisal.