from GI Special []


> "I Have Refused To Go To Iraq And Serve In This Illegal, Unjust, And Undemocratic War"



> To: GI Special

> Sent: September 02, 2005 11:20 AM

> Subject:


> For too long I've remained silent on a number of

> issues, mostly for fear that

> I would jeopardize my chances for discharge as a conscientious

> objector from the US Army Reserve.


> I am a staff sergeant with over 12 years of service

> to this nation in both

> active and reserve components.


> However, I have refused to go to Iraq and serve in

> this illegal, unjust, and

> undemocratic war.  My case is still pending, but my conscience can no

> longer bear the weight of not speaking out.


> I chose GI Special as the first place to announce my

> disgust with my

> commander-in-chief because it is here that I find

> what I consider the truth regarding

> the troops.


> What follows are a few sketches that I hope to flesh

> out over the coming

> weeks and am confident your readers will find some

> insights that resonate with

> their experiences.


> 1) Hurricane Katrina--What finally drove me over the

> edge this morning was

> watching news coverage and hearing reports on

> DemocracyNow! about the debacle in

> New Orleans.  In a sense the levees of my conscience

> finally gave way,

> allowing the rage that has been building up inside

> me to overflow.


> I hope my words have as devastating an effect on

> this so-called

> administration, as the hurricane and subsequent

> flood had on the poor people of Louisiana.


> My initial impression was surprise that so many of

> my black brothers and

> sisters were left for dead while others headed for

> the hills.


> But then I realized that this is America, and we

> have a long history of

> discrimination against people of color (of which I

> am one) so it should come as no

> surprise that the refugees would be predominantly dark-skinned people.


> My second impression was that these are nearly all

> poor people who did not

> have the means to escape the devastation and they unfortunately relied

> on the government to have a plan.


> The government indeed had a plan, but it did not

> include the poor black

> people of the south.

> So while this may be linked to a natural disaster,

> the real force lies behind

> the race and class discrimination inherent in the

> structure of American

> society.


> Am I blaming the system for what the invisible hand

> has created?  Perhaps.


> Or maybe I'm simply drawing attention to the

> underlying current that connects

> people struggling in the Gulf Coasts (both Mexican

> and Persian gulfs).


> Indeed, there exists a widening gulf between the

> rich, mostly white, elites

> and the poor, mostly brown and black, masses around

> the world.  Through the

> events unfolding in the deep south I begin to

> understand what MLK meant when he

> said "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice

> everywhere."


> 2) Shoot to kill--The governor of Louisiana and the commanding officer

> of a Military Police battalion recently back from Iraq,

> were both quoted as saying

> that lethal force would be used against the refugees

> in New Orleans to restore

> order.


> Reports mentioned that the troops had M-16's and

> they knew how to use them.

> Presumably this meant these are battle-tested

> trained killers who have no

> qualms about shooting civilians.


> What is truly remarkable about this story is that

> these troops, poor bastards

> that they are, have just returned from year long

> deployments in the most

> dangerous place in the world and are now faced with

> not only the destruction of

> their hometown but the prospect of having to shoot

> their refugee neighbors.


> No amount of VA funding will be able to deal with

> the post traumatic stress

> these men and women are up against.


> As a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War, I

> fully support these soldiers

> in any dissent they wish to express toward this

> ridiculous mission.


> My admonition to them is remember, you are CITIZEN

> and a SOLDIER.  These are

> NOT mutually exclusive.


> No one has more right to speak than the troops who

> have served this nation.

> You are asked to sacrifice much, but you are not

> asked to stop thinking for

> yourself. At least not by the American people.


> Remember that one of the Army values is personal

> courage.  Cultivate that

> courage and stand up to unlawful orders.  The

> regulations and the law of the land

> are behind you in that regard.


> Finally, remember that ANTI-WAR DOES NOT MEAN



> On the contrary, we realize that no one appreciates

> the value of peace more

> than combat veterans.  I for one support and respect

> you as human beings and

> public servants.  You've done what my conscience

> prevented me from doing.  And

> for that, you have earned my admiration and a

> personal promise to do everything

> I can to ensure that you are taken care of as a

> veteran.


> Tom, thank you for the opportunity to vent my

> frustration.  There's more

> where that came from, as they say.


> I have been inspired by other troops that I read

> about in your paper. People

> like Camillo Mejia, Pablo Paredes, Kevin Benderman,

> Soldier X, etc.   In your

> own way, you are providing a service to the

> grassroots of this wonderful

> nation we live in.  You are standing on the

> shoulders of giants by continuing the

> tradition of a popular press. Jeff would be proud of

> you.  For that I commend

> you and look forward to struggling with you to

> change things in some small way

> for the better.


> This is my first dispatch to GI Special.  It will

> not be my last...


> Respect,












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