(CBS) They say they are not disloyal. They say they are not shirking their duty and that they do not oppose war. But more than 1,000 active-duty and reserve members of the U.S. military are against the war in Iraq and have said so in an unusually public way — by petitioning Congress last month.
Several of them appear to explain their actions to correspondent Lara Logan this Sunday, Feb. 25, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.
"I'm not anti-war. I'm not a pacifist. I'm not opposed to protecting our country and defending our principles," says Navy Petty Officer Jonathan Hutto, an Iraq war veteran who, along with another veteran, initiated the petition.
A 1995 law called the Military Whistleblower act enables military personnel to express their own opinions about Iraq in protected communication directly to Congress.
Hutto and others spoke with 60 Minutes while off duty, off base and out of uniform as conscientious citizens. "But at the same time, as citizens, it's our obligation to have a questioning attitude … about policy," Hutto tells Logan.
Marine Sgt. Liam Madden, who helped Hutto to found the organization they call Appeal for Redress that has attracted 1,000 other military members, is more blunt.
"Just because we volunteered for the military doesn't mean we volunteered to put our lives in unnecessary harm and to carry out missions that are illogical and immoral," Madden says.
The petition reads: "As a patriotic American proud to serve the nation in uniform, I respectfully urge my political leaders in Congress to support the prompt withdrawal of all American military forces and bases from Iraq . Staying in Iraq will not work and is not worth the price. It is time for U.S. troops to come home."
These GIs and others Logan spoke with expressed frustration with their efforts in Iraq and believe there is no end to the war in sight. Other Iraqi war veterans still on duty there believe Appeal for Redress misses a larger point.
"As an American soldier, I feel like we took an oath to obey the orders of our commander-in-chief and officers appointed over us," says Army Spec. James Smauldon.
Says another serviceman in Iraq, Army Capt. Lawrence Nunn, "I know what I'm here fighting for, to give the Iraqi people some democracy and hope, so I am 100 percent behind this mission. You don't sign up to pick which war you go to."
Another Appeal for Redress member, Staff Sgt. Matt Nuckolls, says, "Our leadership gets to choose the mission. Congress gets to choose the mission."
He says he's loyally committed to whatever Congress wants him to do but savors the right to question it.
"My Congressman is Lacy Clay," Nuckolls says. "I would like to tell him as a constituent of his, 'Is the mission in Iraq really what you want us to be doing?' And then (if) he responds, 'Yes,' OK, well, we go back to Iraq and keep doing what we're doing."