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Wednesday, January 17, 2007 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Marine: No retribution over anti-war Web site

WASHINGTON — Marine Sgt. Liam Madden helped to launch Appeal for Redress last fall.

A portion of the group's Web site (appealforredress.org) is devoted to the rights and responsibilities of people in military service. A Defense Department directive allows service members to send a protected communication to a member of Congress on any matter without blowback.

Although Madden was braced for some sort of retribution, formal or informal, after he went public with his opposition to the war, "it never came," he said. "I give credit to my chain of command. After all, the appeal for redress is legal."

The group has its critics, however.

"The military's job is to carry out and implement foreign policy, not influence it," said Wade Zirkle, executive director of Vets for Freedom, a nonprofit that supports the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. "That's what separates our country from military dictatorships. That's why we don't have military coups and military people running our country."

For service members to appeal for redress "is un-American in principle," Zirkle said.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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