Iraq soldiers raise funds for veterans

J. Alfredo Santana

The organization Iraq Veterans Against the War held a fundraiser at a Mediterranean cuisine restaurant in Northridge on Saturday, with 12 military personnel who served in Iraq since the war began in 2003 in attendance.

Jabbar Magruder, a CSUN student who served 11 months in Iraq, said IVAW’s most important concern is the well-being of their comrades because the fighting between local guerrillas and U.S. servicemen is out of control.

“We should bring our brothers and sisters in uniform home,” said Magruder, who was deployed in 2005 and served in the 4th infantry division. “There is no point to expose them to violence and terrible street fights to serve the interests of politicians.”

People in attendance were asked to donate at least $10 to continue supporting their efforts. About 50 people attended the event.

IVAW is an organization of active duty soldiers who’ve been deployed abroad since Sept. 11. IVAW members live in 42 states, Washington D.C., Canada, Iraq and several countries overseas. One of the organization’s main goals is to ensure war veterans receive adequate medical care once they return home.

The organization insists that the best way to protect injured and mentally unstable men and women in the aftermath of the war is to take care of them at home.

David Hassan, a UC Santa Barbara student who stayed in Iraq for four months, said the war is immoral, lacks international support and the Iraqi people are totally fed up with it.

“This is a war that is immoral in every conceivable way. It’s hurting most Iraqi people. It’s mostly terrible for everybody, including those of us who have been there, and for the Iraqis who have been hurt and have fled the country,” Hassan said.

Hassan said his organization is growing with members who are against policies of the Bush administration that continues to dole out money for the war. He said international support for the conflict has faded, and all our troops should be withdrawn immediately.

In its fliers and handouts, IVAW criticizes the Bush administration for launching an armed conflict based on lies and deception because the war violates international laws and dehumanizes Iraqis, denying them their right to self-determination. IVAW indicates the war is tearing families apart, big corporations are profiteering from it and thousands of servicemen and women are exhausted from being repeatedly deployed for indefinite periods of time.

James D., a CSUN political science graduate student, said an effective withdrawal from Iraq could be achieved if local and national pressure is applied to people in Washington. He said the conditions in Iraq are bad, and a lot of its national infrastructure, such as water supply lines, sewage and power plants, are in shambles.

“An international coalition of peace corps could make a big difference in Iraq,” James D. said. “The American forces are having an awfully hard time now.”

James D. said the most important aspect in this conflict is that Iraqis must be able to determine their future without any imposition or military showdown that would make that path even more difficult.

“All the countries surrounding Iraq have a vested interest in having a neighbor in peace. They want peace in the region. But Iraqis really have to decide their future. U.S. forces are not capable of being peacekeepers,” James D. said.

People interested in the organization’s cause can visit their website at, which provides books, DVDs and CDs created by current and former personnel in Iraq. Several musicians against the war also contributed an album.

More than 3,850 U.S. soldiers have been killed in Iraq since the war began in 2003, shows.

Three hundred billion dollars have been spent by the U.S. government on military operations in Iraq, statistics from the U.S. Government Accountability Office website shows.

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