'Non-combat' U.S. soldier killed in combat in Iraq

The reality of the 'end of combat operations'

December 7, 2010

A statement by March Forward!

When Sgt. David J. Luff Jr. left for his second tour in Iraq in May, he was able to spend just three weeks with his first-born son, Aidan, before leaving to miss the next 12 months of his life—a sacrifice all too familiar to parents in the military.

He talked to his wife, Kate, about getting out of the Army and going to college.

But he never got that opportunity. Nor would he see his newborn son grow older than three weeks.

On Nov. 21, Luff found himself “advising and assisting” in a firefight, where AK-47 bullets tore through his body, killing him.

“He loved his wife and has a beautiful baby,” his mother said.

The death of Luff means that President Obama has kept at least one promise: Despite the supposed end of combat operations, “we have not seen the end of American sacrifice in Iraq.”

Luff’s wife, child, parents, siblings and friends—like so many thousands of other families—now know that sacrifice all too well.

The invasion of Iraq was a criminal war of aggression that outraged the entire world, sparking the largest anti-war protests in history. Hundreds of Iraq war veterans came home and joined the ranks of the anti-war movement, organizing and taking part in mass marches and dramatic civil disobedience.

The people overwhelmingly turned against the war, a major factor in the mass repudiation of the Republican Party in the 2008 elections. Pretending to oppose the Iraq war became essential for any Democrat hoping to win office. The vast majority of people in the U.S. were in agreement: The Iraq war is wrong, and we have no reason to support the constant bloodshed to maintain an illegal occupation.

But the occupation continues. It is just re-branded as “advising and assisting,” in what is blatantly a permanent U.S. military presence. Permanent U.S. military bases, permanent U.S. government compounds, permanent mercenaries and U.S. troops to guard those outposts—meaning permanent bloodshed for us, our fellow GIs and our families.

More U.S. troops continue to be killed, maimed, and plunged into the dark epidemic of post-traumatic stress disorder. More military families are becoming widowed and orphaned.

The occupation of Iraq is still criminal. The blood of U.S. troops still flows to maintain that criminal occupation.

This is the reality: The U.S. is still bent on dominating the once-sovereign country for the same profit-driven corporate interests that led to the invasion in 2003. We will still be sent to be killed for the same criminal reasons that we have been since 2003.

As much as Washington is trying to convince us that the war is over, we are still dying. The Iraqi people are still living under occupation. Wall Street is still trying to exert economic dominance through brute military force.

We are still being sent to die in a criminal war for profit.

This is why we have the right to refuse our orders, and the right to rebel against the war.

This is why we still demand the immediate, complete withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Iraq, and why we will continue to fight until that happens.

On Dec. 16, March Forward! veterans and others will risk arrest at the White House to demand and immediate end to the wars. Click here to find out more and help us spread the word.

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