from GI Special [www.militaryproject.org]
> "I Have Refused To Go To Iraq And Serve In This Illegal, Unjust, And Undemocratic War"
> From: SOLDIERMEDIC
> To: GI Special
> Sent: September 02, 2005 11:20 AM
> 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
> 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
> 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
> 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
> 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...
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