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Old 05-16-2008, 04:24 PM   #1
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Quote:
US soldier refuses to serve in 'illegal Iraq war'

May 16 10:49 AM US/Eastern

Matthis Chiroux is the kind of young American US military recruiters love.




"I was from a poor, white family from the south, and I did badly in school," the now 24-year-old told AFP.

"I was 'filet mignon' for recruiters. They started phoning me when I was in 10th grade," or around 16 years old, he added.

Chiroux joined the US army straight out of high school nearly six years ago, and worked his way up from private to sergeant.

He served in Afghanistan, Germany, Japan, and the Philippines and was due to be deployed next month in Iraq.

On Thursday, he refused to go, saying he considers Iraq an illegal war.

"I stand before you today with the strength and clarity and resolve to declare to the military, my government and the world that this soldier will not be deploying to Iraq," Chiroux said in the sun-filled rotunda of a congressional building in Washington.

"My decision is based on my desire to no longer continue violating my core values to support an illegal and unconstitutional occupation... I refuse to participate in the Iraq occupation," he said, as a dozen veterans of the five-year-old Iraq war looked on.

Minutes earlier, Chiroux had cried openly as he listened to former comrades-in-arms testify before members of Congress about the failings of the Iraq war.

The testimonies were the first before Congress by Iraq veterans who have turned against the five-year-old war.

Former army sergeant Kristofer Goldsmith told a half-dozen US lawmakers and scores of people who packed into a small hearing room of "lawless murders, looting and the abuse of countless Iraqis."

He spoke of the psychologically fragile men and women who return from Iraq, to find little help or treatment offered from official circles.

Goldsmith said he had "self-medicated" for several months to treat the wounds of the war.

Another soldier told AFP he had to boost his dosage of medication to treat anxiety and social agoraphobia -- two of many lingering mental wounds he carries since his deployments in Iraq -- before testifying.

Some 300,000 of the 1.6 million US soldiers who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from the psychological traumas of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression or both, an independent study showed last month.

A group of veterans sitting in the hearing room gazed blankly as their comrades' testimonies shattered the official version that the US effort in Iraq is succeeding.

Almost to a man, the soldiers who testified denounced serious flaws in the chain of command in Iraq.

Luis Montalvan, a former army captain, accused high-ranking US officers of numerous failures in Iraq, including turning a blind eye to massive fraud on the part of US contractors.

Ex-Marine Jason Lemieux told how a senior officer had altered a report he had written because it slammed US troops of using excessive force, firing off thousands of rounds of machine gun fire and hundreds of grenades in the face of a feeble four rounds of enemy fire.

Goldsmith accused US officials of censorship.

"Everyone who manages a blog, Facebook or Myspace out of Iraq has to register every video, picture, document of any event they do on mission," Goldsmith told AFP after the hearing.

"You're almost always denied before you are allowed to send them home."

Officials take "hard facts and slice them into small pieces to make them presentable to the secretary of state or the president -- and all with the intent of furthering the occupation of Iraq," Goldsmith added.

Chiroux is one of thousands of US soldiers who have deserted since the Iraq war began in 2003, according to figures issued last year by the US army.

But while many seek refuge in Canada, the young soldier vowed to stay in the United States to fight "whatever charges the army levels at me."

The US army defines a deserter as someone who has been absent without leave for 30 days.

Chiroux stood fast in his resolve to not report for duty on June 15.

"I cannot deploy to Iraq, carry a weapon and not be part of the problem," he told AFP
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Old 05-16-2008, 06:34 PM   #2
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A very courageous person.

In fact, it's a great pity there are not more like him.
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Old 05-16-2008, 06:54 PM   #3
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Soldiers should not act like politicians. If you get paid to do a job you do it, you dont hand pick the tasks you have been given.
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Old 05-16-2008, 07:02 PM   #4
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Old 05-17-2008, 03:47 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by vaz02
Soldiers should not act like politicians. If you get paid to do a job you do it, you dont hand pick the tasks you have been given.
Really? It doesn't sound like this fellow made his decision lightly - are soldiers less entitled to take a moral or ethical stance against what they believe is wrong than the rest of us?
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Old 05-17-2008, 10:58 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by vaz02
Soldiers should not act like politicians. If you get paid to do a job you do it, you dont hand pick the tasks you have been given.
If you are not happy with your job, you shouldn't be forced to do it.
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Old 05-17-2008, 11:08 PM   #7
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Originally posted by vaz02
Soldiers should not act like politicians. If you get paid to do a job you do it, you dont hand pick the tasks you have been given.

How come you aren't in Iraq?
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Old 05-18-2008, 12:09 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by vaz02
Soldiers should not act like politicians. If you get paid to do a job you do it, you dont hand pick the tasks you have been given.
When was the last time your job/ task involved risking your life?
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Old 05-18-2008, 10:44 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Purplereign


Really? It doesn't sound like this fellow made his decision lightly - are soldiers less entitled to take a moral or ethical stance against what they believe is wrong than the rest of us?
Soldiers are not entitled to take a stand morally or ethically, they get paid to do the job on behalf of the government. That is what they signed up for, if they want to take a stand on what they believe in they do it after their army career.

Quote:
Originally posted by sue4u2


When was the last time your job/ task involved risking your life?
He is a soldier, he knew what he was signing up for. He wasnt forced to join the army.

Quote:
Originally posted by
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How come you aren't in Iraq?

Im not in Iraq because A i wouldnt profit from it B Im not in the army. How that was a argument i dont know.
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Old 05-18-2008, 11:31 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by vaz02


Soldiers are not entitled to take a stand morally or ethically, they get paid to do the job on behalf of the government. That is what they signed up for, if they want to take a stand on what they believe in they do it after their army career.
This isn't EXACTLY true. If their orders are illegal then they are under no obligation to follow them.
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Old 05-18-2008, 12:31 PM   #11
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ehren_Watada

Ehren Watada, a Lieutenant from Ft. Lewis in Washington State, did the same thing.

(please excuse the Wikipedia link - it seemed to be the first link I saw that was the most thorough. Nitpick about details all you want, but the gist is the same as the guy in the original article.)
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Old 05-18-2008, 01:19 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by vaz02


Soldiers are not entitled to take a stand morally or ethically, they get paid to do the job on behalf of the government. That is what they signed up for, if they want to take a stand on what they believe in they do it after their army career.

I strongly disagree with your notion of an Army of unthinking robots who just carry out what they are told to do in any circumstance. This is murderous.
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Old 05-18-2008, 01:21 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar


This isn't EXACTLY true. If their orders are illegal then they are under no obligation to follow them.
And in fact, they have an obligation to disobey unlawful orders. Their obligation is to obey the U.S. Constitution and legal orders, not unlawful orders that violate the constitution.
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Old 05-18-2008, 02:07 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by Vincent Vega


I strongly disagree with your notion of an Army of unthinking robots who just carry out what they are told to do in any circumstance. This is murderous.
Its supposed to be the army not a greenpeace rally with hippies smoking pot. The orders from the top is to maintain peace and route out trouble, thats not murderous so dont try to imply their the 25th century robot death squad or universal soldier.
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Old 05-18-2008, 02:25 PM   #15
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I'm sorry but I might be biased by history.
As others pointed out, a soldier should always be aware if the orders he receives are legal and in line with the constitution, and today with the UN charta as well. If he deems a task or a whole war not legal he should be a thinking person in the first place and speak his mind.
He didn't refuse to serve his country in general, but in the case of the Iraq war. I think it's inevitable for an Army to have soldiers that can think themselves and put morale before performance of duty.
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