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WASHINGTON — Activists on Tuesday delivered to Congress a petition signed by more than 1,000 current servicemembers calling for an end to military operations in Iraq.

A pair of Democratic congressmen and a coalition of anti-war groups used the event to support cutting off all funds for Iraq operations, saying lawmakers must use any means necessary to end the conflict.

The petition states that staying in Iraq is “not worth the price” and asks for a prompt withdrawal from the country.

“Our brothers are dying while politicians are squabbling,” said organizer Sgt. Liam Madden, a Marine stationed with the headquarters battalion at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. “If you are funding a war that puts troops in harm’s way, you are not supporting the troops.”

Legal experts for the group insist the servicemembers are permitted to appeal to Congress for any reason without fear of retaliation from senior commanders.

Organizers had collected more than 200 signatures within days of launching their campaign in October, but had hoped to top 2,000 before presenting it to Congress.

Madden, who served in Iraq for seven months, said the names of those who signed the petition will be released only to the congressmen who receive the appeal.

The group said more than 60 percent of the signers had served in Iraq, but that could not be independently verified.

Sgt. Jabbar Magruder, a California National Guard soldier who also served in Iraq two years ago, said the group hopes Congress and the president will offer some response to “the voice of the servicemembers” by the end of the month.

“Military families are being broken, and promises are going up in smoke,” he said.

At the petition presentation, Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., praised the bravery of the signers and said Congress must respond by finding a way to end U.S. military presence in Iraq.

“If that means cutting off funding, that’s what we need to do,” he said.

In a statement, presidential hopeful Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, echoed that sentiment, saying U.S. withdrawal is “not a matter of if but when.” Veterans for Peace, Military Families Speak Out, and Iraq Veterans Against the War also called for funding cuts by Congress.


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