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    Senior Member carolinamtnwoman's Avatar
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    Abandon the Battlefield: No Way I'm Going to Afganistan

    Abandon the Battlefield. "There's No Way I'm Going to Deploy to Afghanistan"


    by Dahr Jamail
    Global Research, May 26, 2009
    Inter Press Service


    MARFA, Texas, May 26 (IPS) - "It’s a matter of what I’m willing to live with," Specialist Victor Agosto of the U.S. Army, who is refusing orders to deploy to Afghanistan, explained to IPS. "I’m not willing to participate in this occupation, knowing it is completely wrong."

    Agosto, who returned from a 13-month deployment to Iraq in November 2007, is based at Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas.

    While in Iraq, Agosto never left his base, located in northern Iraq.

    "I never had any traumatic experiences, never fired my weapon," Agosto told IPS in a phone interview. "I mostly worked in information technology, working on computers and keeping the network functioning well. But it was in Iraq that I turned against the occupations. Through my reading, and watching what was going on, I started to feel very guilty."

    Agosto added, "What I did there, I know I contributed to death and human suffering. It’s hard to quantify how much I caused, but I know I contributed to it."

    Having served three years and nine months in the U.S. Army, Agosto was to complete his contract and be discharged on Aug. 3. But due to his excellent record of service and accrued leave, he was to be released the end of June. Nevertheless, due to the stop-loss programme, the Army decided to deploy him to Afghanistan anyway.

    Stop-loss is a programme the military uses to keep soldiers enlisted beyond the terms of their contracts. Since Sep. 11, 2001, more than 140,000 troops have had tours extended by stop-loss.

    A copy of his Counseling Form from the Army, dated May 1, reads, "You will deploy in support of OEF [Operation Enduring Freedom] on or about [XXXXX] with 57th ESB. This is a direct order from your Company Commander CPT Michael J. Pederson."

    Agosto posted copies of the Counseling Statements issued by the Army on his Facebook page. Counseling Statements outline actions taken by the Army to discipline Agosto for his refusal to obey a direct order from his company commander.

    On one of them, dated May 1, Agosto’s written statement appears: "There is no way I will deploy to Afghanistan. The occupation is immoral and unjust. It does not make the American people any safer. It has the opposite effect."

    In another, dated May 18, he wrote: "I will not obey any orders I deem to be immoral or illegal."

    On that day, Agosto was ordered to get his medical records in preparation to deploy to Afghanistan. He refused to do so. The Army threatened to take punitive measures, but Agosto wrote on the Counseling Statement, "I am not going to Afghanistan. I will not take part in SRP [Sealift Readiness Programme]."

    If Agosto continues to refuse orders, he almost assuredly will face court martial, and likely jail time.

    When IPS asked Agosto if he is willing to take whatever consequences the Army is prepared to mete out, he replied, "Yes. I’m fully prepared for this. I have concluded that the wars [in Iraq and Afghanistan] are not going to be ended by politicians or people at the top. They are not responsive to the people, they are responsive to corporate America."

    Agosto added, "The only way to make them responsive to the needs of the people is if soldiers won’t fight their wars, and if soldiers won’t fight their wars, the wars won’t happen. I hope I’m setting an example for other soldiers."

    Agosto has overtly refused to follow any order that has anything to do with his taking an action that would support the occupation of Afghanistan. For a time, according to Agosto, he was given simple orders to clean the motor pool, or pull weeds.

    "They switched that recently," he told IPS, "I’ve continued to be fairly defiant, so on Tuesday I have to meet with Trial Defense Services, which then begins the process of getting an Article 15, which is movement towards being court-martialed, if these reprimands continue."

    "If I take the Article 15, I’ll take a reduction in rank and pay. I don’t’ know what is going to happen. I agreed to sweep the motor pool and pull weeds, but nothing else that I feel directly supports the war. I’m not going to follow orders I’m not comfortable with."

    Agosto’s case is not unique. The group Courage to Resist, based in Oakland, California, actively engages in assisting soldiers who refuse to deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan.

    "Although the efforts of Courage to Resist are primarily focused on supporting public GI resisters, the organization also strives to provide political, emotional, and material support to all military objectors critical of our government's current policies of empire," reads a portion of the group's mission statement.

    IPS spoke with Adam Szyper-Seibert, an office manager and counselor with Courage to Resist.

    "Currently we are actively supporting over 50 military resisters like Victor Agosto," Szyper-Seibert told IPS, "They are all over the world, including André Shepherd in Germany, and several people in Canada. We are getting five to six calls a week just about the IRR [Individual Ready Reserve] recall alone."

    U.S. Army Specialist André Shepherd, who went AWOL after serving in Iraq, has applied for asylum in Germany after refusing military service because he is morally opposed to the occupation of Iraq.

    The IRR is composed of former military personnel who still have time remaining on their enlistment agreements but have returned to civilian life. They are eligible to be called up in "states of emergency." The Army is currently undertaking the largest IRR recall since 2004, despite the recent inauguration of a so-called anti-war president.

    Szyper-Seibert said that the number of soldiers contacting Courage to Resist has been increasing dramatically in the last year, and particularly in recent months.

    "The number of soldiers contacting us is increasing," he explained, "With five to six IRR’s contacting us a week, plus others going absent without leave [AWOL], the numbers are all climbing, as compared to a year ago. Since May 2008, we’ve had a 200 percent jump in how many soldiers are contacting us."

    According to Courage to Resist, there have been at least 15,000 IRR call-ups since Sep. 11, 2001, for deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Sgt. Travis Bishop, who served 14 months in Baghdad and is also stationed at Fort Hood, recently went AWOL when his unit deployed to Afghanistan.

    Like Agosto, Bishop feels it is immoral for him to deploy to support an occupation he morally opposes.

    "I love my country, but I believe that this particular war is unjust, unconstitutional and a total abuse of our nation’s power and influence," Bishop’s blog reads, "And so, in the next few days, I will be speaking with my lawyer, and taking actions that will more than likely result in my discharge from the military, and possible jail time... and I am prepared to live with that."

    The reason he made this decision is addressed in his blog.

    "My father said, ‘Do only what you can live with, because every morning you have to look at your face in the mirror when you shave. Ten years from now, you’ll still be shaving the same face.’ If I had deployed to Afghanistan, I don’t think I would have been able to look into another mirror again."

    Visit Dahr Jamail's website http://dahrjamailiraq.com

    Dahr Jamail's new book, /Military Resisters: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan/, is now available for pre-order

    Pre-order book here http://tinyurl.com/cnlgyu

    As one of the first and few unembedded Western journalists to report the truth about how the United States has destroyed, not liberated, Iraqi society in his book Beyond the Green Zone, Jamail now investigates the under-reported but growing antiwar resistance of American GIs. Gathering the stories of these courageous men and women, Jamail shows us that far from “supporting our troops,” politicians have betrayed them at every turn. Finally, Jamail shows us that the true heroes of the criminal tragedy of the Iraq War are those brave enough to say no.

    Order /Beyond the Green Zone/
    http://dahrjamailiraq.com/bookpage

    "International journalism at its best." --Stephen Kinzer, former bureau chief, New York Times; author /All the Shah's Men/

    Winner of the prestigious 2008 Martha Gellhorn Award for Journalism

    Dahr Jamail is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Dahr Jamail

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php? ... &aid=13745

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    Re: Abandon the Battlefield: No Way I'm Going to Afganistan

    Quote Originally Posted by carolinamtnwoman
    Abandon the Battlefield. "There's No Way I'm Going to Deploy to Afghanistan"


    he wrote: "I will not obey any orders I deem to be immoral or illegal.
    This guy should have joined the Salvation Army instead of the US Army but, ooops, they have protocols, too. Priesthood? Nope, rules. Agosto may deem that the stop sign is illegal and choose not to stop. This could be a continual "walking around" Agosto for the rest of us. I hope he never moves to my area.

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    Senior Member Rockfish's Avatar
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    I have concluded that the wars [in Iraq and Afghanistan] are not going to be ended by politicians or people at the top. They are not responsive to the people, they are responsive to corporate America."
    I know how you feel, snakeoil, but the troop is right with this comment.
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    Senior Member carolinamtnwoman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rockfish
    I have concluded that the wars [in Iraq and Afghanistan] are not going to be ended by politicians or people at the top. They are not responsive to the people, they are responsive to corporate America."
    I know how you feel, snakeoil, but the troop is right with this comment.
    And this as well.....

    our government's current policies of empire"

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    Senior Member Ratbstard's Avatar
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    Nothing but respect for these guys and this movement. We the People, whether citizen or soldier, should stand against the corporate manipulation of our foreign policies.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rockfish
    I have concluded that the wars [in Iraq and Afghanistan] are not going to be ended by politicians or people at the top. They are not responsive to the people, they are responsive to corporate America."
    I know how you feel, snakeoil, but the troop is right with this comment.
    He isn't right, in the sense, that as a member of the US Army he agreed to follow orders and defend the Constitution. Right or wrong, he agreed.

    Let me be clear, it's like those who signed on for mortgages they couldn't afford and are now squealing "I didn't know what I was signing so let's change the rules and bail me out".

    Give me a break.

  7. #7
    Senior Member carolinamtnwoman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snakeoil
    Quote Originally Posted by Rockfish
    I have concluded that the wars [in Iraq and Afghanistan] are not going to be ended by politicians or people at the top. They are not responsive to the people, they are responsive to corporate America."
    I know how you feel, snakeoil, but the troop is right with this comment.
    He isn't right, in the sense, that as a member of the US Army he agreed to follow orders and defend the Constitution. Right or wrong, he agreed.
    Correct, but did he agree to the following:

    Having served three years and nine months in the U.S. Army, Agosto was to complete his contract and be discharged on Aug. 3. But due to his excellent record of service and accrued leave, he was to be released the end of June. Nevertheless, due to the stop-loss programme, the Army decided to deploy him to Afghanistan anyway.

    Stop-loss is a programme the military uses to keep soldiers enlisted beyond the terms of their contracts. Since Sep. 11, 2001, more than 140,000 troops have had tours extended by stop-loss.
    Furthermore, shouldn't a contract be legally binding, and shouldn't the Army's breach of the contract render it null and void? Shouldn't soldiers be entitled to know the truth behind missions and not intentionally deceived or mislead, which sharply contradicts the code of honor with which they are expected to respect and uphold?

  8. #8
    MW
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    Senior Member MW's Avatar
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    I'm not afraid to say what I honestly feel.

    The man sounds like a coward to me!

    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" ** Edmund Burke**

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    Quote Originally Posted by carolinamtnwoman
    Quote Originally Posted by snakeoil
    Quote Originally Posted by Rockfish
    I have concluded that the wars [in Iraq and Afghanistan] are not going to be ended by politicians or people at the top. They are not responsive to the people, they are responsive to corporate America."
    I know how you feel, snakeoil, but the troop is right with this comment.
    He isn't right, in the sense, that as a member of the US Army he agreed to follow orders and defend the Constitution. Right or wrong, he agreed.
    Correct, but did he agree to the following:

    [quote:1bx7m6ye]Having served three years and nine months in the U.S. Army, Agosto was to complete his contract and be discharged on Aug. 3. But due to his excellent record of service and accrued leave, he was to be released the end of June. Nevertheless, due to the stop-loss programme, the Army decided to deploy him to Afghanistan anyway.

    Stop-loss is a programme the military uses to keep soldiers enlisted beyond the terms of their contracts. Since Sep. 11, 2001, more than 140,000 troops have had tours extended by stop-loss.
    Furthermore, shouldn't a contract be legally binding, and shouldn't the Army's breach of the contract render it null and void? Shouldn't soldiers be entitled to know the truth behind missions and not intentionally deceived or mislead, which sharply contradicts the code of honor with which they are expected to respect and uphold?[/quote:1bx7m6ye]

    From your own quote "Having served three years and nine months" and from your own quote "Since Sep. 11, 2001, more than 140,000 troops have had tours extended by stop-loss." He knew about stop-loss policy when he joined!

  10. #10
    Senior Member azwreath's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MW
    I'm not afraid to say what I honestly feel.

    The man sounds like a coward to me!






    I don't think you should be afraid to say what you feel MW, even if others disagree. And one of the reasons you shouldn't be afraid to speak your mind is because people like this young man have fought for your right to state your opinion without fear.

    That being said, however, I don't find him a coward at all. The coward would be the individual who refuses to stand up to our government.
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