Families are worried that the soldiers have to stay on endlessly under conditions that are appalling.

   

"We're growing more and more disturbed about the conditions that are developing. Our concerns are both for our troops and the people in Iraq," said Nancy Lessin, a founder of Families Speak Out, formed last fall to oppose the invasion of Iraq.

   

Susan Schuman, whose son Justin is in the Massachusetts National Guard deployed to Samarra, Iraq, said he shares a small room in a former Iraqi police barracks with five other men.

 

"They are rationed two litres of water a day and it's 52 degrees C, they haven't had anything but MREs (Meals Ready to Eat)," she said, adding that uncertainty about when the troops would come home was "most disheartening."

   

Organisers hope to take advantage of Congress' summer recess to voice their concerns to lawmakers in their home states.

 

"They are rationed two litres of water a day and it's 52 degrees C, they haven't had anything but MREs (Meals Ready to Eat)."

--Susan Schuman

"The idea is not to confront but say look, 'what is going on?'" said Dennis O'Neil, a member of Veterans for Peace, another group involved in the campaign. "This war was supposed to be quick."

   

Lessin, whose stepson is a Marine who was in the Gulf until late May, said the group plans a campaign of protests and demonstrations starting on Wednesday. 

 

It aims to raise public awareness of the number of soldiers killed and wounded in Iraq.  As of 12 August, some 57 had been killed by resistance fighters while 61 others had died from non-combat reasons since the US declared the war effectively over on 1 May.