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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - More than 200 active duty U.S. armed service members, fed up with the war in Iraq, have joined an unusual protest calling for withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country, organizers said on Wednesday.
The campaign, called the Appeal for Redress from the War in Iraq, is the first of its kind in the Iraq war and takes advantage of Defense Department rules allowing active duty troops to express personal opinions to members of Congress without fear of retaliation, organizers said.
"The real grievances are: Why are we in Iraq if the weapons of mass destruction are not found, if the links to al Qaeda are not substantiated," said Marine Sgt. Liam Madden of Rockingham, Vermont, who was in Iraq from September 2004 to February 2005 and is based at Quantico, Virginia.
"The occupation is perpetuating more violence," he said. "It's costing way too many Iraqi civilian and American service member lives while it brings us no benefit."