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Iraqi Rollback

Everyone wants our troops home soonest; some just have different reasons than others

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Robin Ponton's voice was barely audible, despite the microphones in front of the Federal Building Downtown on July 30. "I want my dad home. Everyone in his family miss him. I want Bush to bring my dad home." The 13-year-old Frick International Academy student's father, Staff Sgt. Charles Pollard of the 307th Military Police, has been in Iraq since May. His comments in a July 1 Washington Post article ("We have no business being here &") have been widely quoted as evidence that not all participants in Gulf War II share the president's outlook.

"I'm here to stand up for my daughter and with my daughter," said Robin's mother, DeShauna Ponton, at a press conference held by Garfield's Thomas Merton Center. "She feels very strongly about her father coming home. I feel very strongly about this war. President Bush says he is looking for weapons of mass destruction. He hasn't looked too hard because he hasn't looked in the mirror. He is a weapon of mass destruction. & Bring our troops home."

 

"They're already calling up reservists in the Guard," notes anti-war activist Tim Goodall, about U.S. forces in Iraq, now numbering about 150,000. "They can't do that forever."

 

Goodall is one of the founders of Conscience, which was gearing up to assist potential conscientious objectors to service in Iraq when major combat began -- and ended. The occupation, which has been more deadly (at least for Americans), hasn't changed their objectives. He and Ed Bortz, another Conscience founder, believe the number of people working on CO status in Iraq today will surprise Americans -- when the news comes out much later. "We're also worried about another war," Bortz says, and a lengthy occupation of Iraq necessitating a draft.

 

For some anti-war activists, of course, Bush's actions will never be legitimate. "It's obscene. I'm outraged," says Mary Ruth Aull of Penn Hills, wearing a "Don't Attack Iraq" button with the 'q' crossed out and an 'n' written in. Hanging beneath is a handwritten list of yet more countries Aull fears the U.S. might target next. "I'm still not over that he stole the presidency."

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