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For young deserters, refuge is hard to find
April 25, 2005 3:53 PM   Subscribe

For young deserters, refuge is hard to find It seemed like a drastic but simple solution: a step over the border into a country that had offered sanctuary before to Americans fleeing their homeland. Instead, the growing band of US soldiers who have sought political refuge in Canada after defying orders to serve in Iraq have found themselves in a political limbo.
posted by Postroad (83 comments total)

 
Well if they all volounteered into the Forces, I don't see why Canada should offer asylum to people that weren't forced to sign and that probably just quitted when they faced the fact they were going to be sent to an hostile country, regardless of how many flowers the peaceful among iraquis were offering them.

But I'm going to cut some slack to those who are willing to come back and suffer rightful punishment for their betrayal
but fear the consistent number of guns and weapons avaiable to wwwayyy too many jingoists in U.S. these days.

And some slack for those who joined the Forces to save themselves from -real- poverty if there's a record that they were piss-poor.

To the others , sorry. As much as I still don't agree with the premises of Iraqui war, it's not the soldier job to betray the army.
posted by elpapacito at 4:31 PM on April 25, 2005


"I signed up with an implicit agreement that I would kill for US business interests. But now I do not wish to honor that contract because it might result in my death or disfigurement. Of course, I probably could have figured that out too if I wasn't seeing dollar signs when I signed. Me killing someone else is fine, but me getting killed is not so fine.

However, you, Canada, must jeopardize your relations with your most important trading partner to protect me. Never mind what's best for your citizens-- you need to defend the interests of short-sighted Americans who only find their morals when it's time to die!"
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:34 PM on April 25, 2005


My heart goes out to anyone who finds himself in such a situation, but expecting refugee in Canada was a poor decision second only to signing up and expecting not to fight. These men were not conscripted into the army, they volunteered, and the two nations are about as closely allied as nations get.

I'd advise these men to find like-minded objectors, and come-out as couples to their commanders. Sure, they wouldn't be directly challenging the war, but they would be challenging something ridiculous, and saving their asses.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 4:35 PM on April 25, 2005


For a broader look on going AWOL in today's U.S. armed forces, see the recent Harper's cover article AWOL in America (and interview with the author, Kathy Dobie).
posted by Zurishaddai at 4:39 PM on April 25, 2005


Some of my students have enlisted in the last few years. I have spoken with a few of them, and their mentality generally is that they sincerely want to protect the country and they recognize that they might be putting their lives at risk. On the other hand, I have had a couple of students enlist laboring under the illusion that there is no way they will ever end up in combat. I don't know where this fantasy comes from - youthful sense of immortality, recruiting officer's smooth talking, general stupidity - but both of these fellows have written to me from Iraq since they enlisted. They expressed some surprise that they had been sent there, but seemed to feel like it was their own fool fault.

Yeah, this is incidental evidence, but, I think most soldiers probably realize that if you sign up for a branch of the armed services, you are taking the chance that you will, at some point, be placed in harms way. The article suggests, to me, that these guys didn't think through consequences of their choices. I sympathize that they don't want to risk their lives, but that is part of the deal when you enlist.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:24 PM on April 25, 2005


I sympathize that they don't want to risk their lives, but that is part of the deal when you enlist.

Well, presumably at least some of the guys in Iraq signed up when their country was not at war, with the expectation that if they did go to war it would be for reasons that made sense. They might be glad to risk their lives in defense of their country, but not so much for the defense of a distant land full of people who wish they'd go away.
posted by sfenders at 5:50 PM on April 25, 2005


They might be glad to risk their lives in defense of their country, but not so much for the defense of a distant land full of people who wish they'd go away.

Indeed, they may not want to risk their lives for that but, historically, that is one of the things that our servicemen have to do sometimes. When you enlist (as opposed to when you are drafted) you are agreeing to fight pretty much any war that your superiors want - unless my understanding of enlistment and protocol is totally off.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:04 PM on April 25, 2005


I've read the Harper's article and all, but I have to say that since it's an all volunteer military, that I don't see why they should be able to seek asylum in Canada. These men and women signed up knowing full well that they might be called to duty, they were not forced, drafted, etc... Even in situations where recruiters misrepresented facts, nobody was forced to join and had to understand that if Uncle Sam told them they were going to war, there was no choice but to follow.

It comes down to taking responsibility for our actions, and I think it's rather obvious what might happen when you join the military. Now if it's a matter of PSD and it not being properly treated, that's a different story.
posted by furtive at 6:12 PM on April 25, 2005


Well, presumably at least some of the guys in Iraq signed up when their country was not at war, with the expectation that if they did go to war it would be for reasons that made sense.

I'm assuming that you meant "for good reasons" because every war makes sense economically.

So when you cut the pool down to potential recruits who had never heard of Vietnam or Gulf War I, you're talking about 10 or so people.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:14 PM on April 25, 2005


So when you cut the pool down to potential recruits who had never heard of Vietnam or Gulf War I, you're talking about 10 or so people.

Many of the people who think the current war is stupid and pointless also believe that Gulf War I was good and justified. Possibly that's in large part because it was more easily won, but that's how it is. There hasn't been anything like the current mess since that thing in Vietnam, and many people were until recently of the opinion that we all learned enough from that so it wouldn't happen again.
posted by sfenders at 6:31 PM on April 25, 2005


My country used to have bigger balls.

Imagine if a poor decision you had made was final and possibly lethal and you could not take it back.
posted by srboisvert at 6:40 PM on April 25, 2005


Imagine if a poor decision you had made was final and possibly lethal and you could not take it back.

Then I shouldn't have made that decision. Or is it everyone else's responsibility to put themselves out saving me from myself? Decisions have consequences. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out that joining the military might eventually put you in harms way, even for something you disagree with. If someone honestly can't figure that out, they should be locked up, because they are totally incapable of taking care of themselves in the outside world.
posted by Snyder at 7:05 PM on April 25, 2005


Weasels. They should be tried by a military jury and punished accordingly. VOLUNTEERS -- they CHOSE to sign up -- whatever their reasons. It is made crystal-clear to everyone who raises their hand and takes The Oath that killing -- and possibly being killed -- is an occupational hazard.
posted by davidmsc at 7:31 PM on April 25, 2005


I'm pretty much as anti-war and anti-military as a person can get, and I think these guys are wankers. If you signed a contract with the military, you honor that contract with the military. You knew what you were in for, you knew things could get the way they are now, you still signed up.
If you don't want to go to Iraq and fight, then don't.
If you can't get an exemption from the military, suffer their punishments for refusing to fight. Do the jail time.
You made a contract to abide by their rules for a specified amount of time, stick by it.
posted by nightchrome at 7:37 PM on April 25, 2005


My country used to have bigger balls.

Oh, your country still has massive swinging grandad-balls, trust me. What's it's lacking these days is more in the brains department.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:41 PM on April 25, 2005


truly.

What if the war is illegal, immoral and unjustified? What if the people who ordered them to go kill Iraqis were lying? What if they're being forced to commit crimes solely to enrich the person who sent them and his buddies? What if they're acting as private mercenaries for that person and his buddies instead defending the US, as they swore to do?
posted by amberglow at 7:48 PM on April 25, 2005


I'm going against MeFi consensus here, but I'm not unsupportive of all deserters. I understand that they were not conscripted, but on the other hand, the U.S. military makes extreme efforts to recruit lower-class and minority soldiers, people it can more easily convince to join for supposed economic advantages (e.g., paying for college).

My point is that while some deserters are surely "wankers", they probably aren't all chicken-hawks, and a decent number of them were likely not in the military entirely by their own volition, but because they didn't see any other opportunities for themselves. In that case, isn't it morally preferable to renege on a halfheartedly agreed-to voluntary servitude as a professional murderer than to participate in a criminal quasi-imperialist war?
posted by bpt at 7:59 PM on April 25, 2005


Weasels. They should be tried by a military jury and punished accordingly. VOLUNTEERS -- they CHOSE to sign up -- whatever their reasons. It is made crystal-clear to everyone who raises their hand and takes The Oath that killing -- and possibly being killed -- is an occupational hazard.

I know, I mean unloading an M-16 in a seven-year old Iraqi child's face is right there in the fucking brochure!

It's kind of cute, though, how you went from emphasizing that the army is a volunteer service, but as soon as self-determination was applied to not wanting to volunteer anymore you started whining about "occupational" issues.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:01 PM on April 25, 2005


I'm with you, bpt.
posted by amberglow at 8:02 PM on April 25, 2005


Those volunteers protect the rest of you to work and live in comfort. And, being a volunteer doesn't strip you of a conscience, nor a brain.

Not saying some of those dudes are doing it for the wrong reasons, but it is also wrong to say that it should never happen for the right reasons.
posted by UseyurBrain at 8:05 PM on April 25, 2005


What if the war is illegal, immoral and unjustified? What if the people who ordered them to go kill Iraqis were lying?

Then you go fight it. The military doesn't get to pick what wars it fights, civilians do. Most importantly, the military doesn't get to choose war when the civilians keep the leash on. At the same time, the military doesn't get to stay home when it disagrees with the war.

Note that there remain outs for conscientious objectors, even those who realize that they are CO's while in the service -- but CO's are opposed to war or killing, period, not just this war and these killings.

It's hard to sympathize with someone who will still take out his sword when Caesar tells him to, so long as he agrees that the target needs killin'.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:19 PM on April 25, 2005


Came a war and a guy called Luigi asked if he could go, as a volunteer.

Everyone was full of praise. Luigi went to the place where they were handing out the rifles, took one and said: 'Now I'm going to go and kill a guy called Alberto.'

They asked him who Alberto was.

'An enemy,' he answered, 'an enemy of mine.'

They explained to him that he was supposed to be killing enemise of a certain type, not whoever he felt like.

'So?' said Luigi. 'You think I'm dumb? This Alberto is precisely that type, one of them. When I heard you were going to war against that lot, I thought: I'll go too, that way I can kill Alberto. That's why I came. I know that Alberto: he's a crook. He betrayed me, for next to nothing he made me make a fool of myself with a woman. It's an old story. If you don't believe me, I'll tell you the whole thing.'

They said fine, it was okay.

'Right then,' said Luigi, 'tell me where Alberto is and I'll go there and I'll fight.'
They said they didn't know.

'Doesn't matter,' Luigi said. 'I'll find someone to tell me. Sooner or later I'll catch up with him.'

They said he couldn't do that, he had to go and fight where they sent him, and kill whoever happened to be there. They didn't know anything about this Alberto.

'You see,' Luigi insisted, 'I really will have to tell you the story. Because that guy is a real crook and you're doing the right thing going to fight against him.'

But the others didn't want to know.

Luigi couldn't see reason: 'Sorry, it may be all the same to you if I kill one enemy or another, but I'd be upset if I killed someone who had nothing to do with Alberto.'

The others lost their patience. One of them gave him a good talking to and explained what war was all about and how you couldn't go and kill the particular enemy you wanted to.

Luigi shrugged. 'If that's how it is,' he said, 'you can count me out.'

'You're in and you're staying in.' they shouted.

'Forward march, one-two, one-two!' And they sent him off to war.

Luigi wasn't happy. He'd kill people, offhand, just to see if he might get Alberto,' he thought, 'I'll have killed a load of people for nothing.' And he felt bad.

Meantime they were giving him one medal after anohter, silver, gold, everything.

Luigi thought: 'Kill some today, kill some tomorrow, there'll be less of them, that crook's turn is bound to come.'

But the enemy surrendered before Luigi could find Alberto. He felt bad he'd killed so many people for nothing, and since they were at peace now he put all his medals in a bag and went around enemy country giving them away to the wives and children of the dead.

Going around like this, he ran into Alberto.

'Good,' he said, 'better late than never,' and he killed him.

That was when they arrested him, tried him for murder and hanged him. At the trial he said over and over that he had done it to settle his conscience, but nobody listened to him.

- Italo Calvino, 1943.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:26 PM on April 25, 2005


bpt: They had no problem taking the money, but now want a free ride when it comes time to put up? Wankers. Perhaps some of them are doing it for moral/ethical reasons, but why should they expect a free ride as well? They also have a ethical obligation to abide by the contracts they signed and a moral obligation to the Oath they swore, or are oaths meaningless? (I have a feeling, to most people in this part of the world, they are.)

I know, I mean unloading an M-16 in a seven-year old Iraqi child's face is right there in the fucking brochure!

It's kind of cute, though, how you went from emphasizing that the army is a volunteer service, but as soon as self-determination was applied to not wanting to volunteer anymore you started whining about "occupational" issues.


Waah, waah, waah. I'm sure your straw man looks nice and all, but maybe you should reflect on what you wrote, and you might realize it's entirely wrong.

Some people wonder why accountability is such a problem for the administration and the government at large, I wonder why they think it's some kind of anomaly.
posted by Snyder at 8:28 PM on April 25, 2005


Why should people worry about accountability when the leadership isn't accountable at all? Neither the Civilian or Military? WTF? The soldiers should be honorable? bullshit. Let the ones who ordered this horrendous shit be held accountable first. Let the people who thought up the torture plans at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere be held accountable first.
posted by amberglow at 8:31 PM on April 25, 2005


I'm sure your straw man looks nice and all, but maybe you should reflect on what you wrote, and you might realize it's entirely wrong.

(chuckle). Oh, okay. That settles it then. Thanks for setting me straight.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:33 PM on April 25, 2005


Another thing, in the article, 2 of the deserters are mentioned as being 19. Even if they enlisted as early as they could, the Iraq war was already going on. I have no idea what would motivate them to join the military if they thought the war was immoral, but whatever their reasons for deserting, I can imagine none are excusable, given those conditions. I can at least hypothesize possible excuses for the older ones, but these 19 year olds don't get any pity.
posted by Snyder at 8:38 PM on April 25, 2005


Clearly those who sign up must absolutely do some serious thinking about the implications of that decision, but there must also be a lot more oversight over military recruiters and recruiting-related materials.

Every once in a while on TV I see ads for the US Army Reserve which continue using the tagline "one weekend a month and two weeks a year". Bullshit. If you sign up now you're sure to find that your commitment will be expanded beyond that.
posted by clevershark at 8:42 PM on April 25, 2005


Those volunteers protect the rest of you to work and live in comfort.
How are they protecting me? From what?

F.W.I.W., I wouldn't join this army and not expect to be sent off to kill somebody.
posted by signal at 8:49 PM on April 25, 2005


!!

WOW. The weirdest thing ever just happened to me.

Here I am munching on dinner and reading this thread on something related to our military when my cell phone rings. It's a 415 number, but one I don't recognize.

I answer it...

"Hi! I'm looking for Dave. This is Sergeant So-And-So with the U.S. Army. I'm just wondering if you've thought about options for your future?"

!

This is while I'm staring at this thread. Incredible. Absolutely incredible. I think it's time to format my computer. :-P
posted by RockBandit at 8:50 PM on April 25, 2005


The Military should have a better mechanism to exit it's employment then Fort Leavenworth, Canada, disability, or death.
posted by CivilWolf at 8:59 PM on April 25, 2005


I don't know what these soldiers signed, but I'm pretty sure that when it said "Your ass is ours for the next X years" it didn't say "Your ass is ours until we're damned well good and ready to let you go home, if you don't die first".

People stopped being volunteers when stop-loss came into effect, IMO. In that case (and not before, during the deployment they agreed to), I think that desertion is respectable.

That being said, I'm Canadian (married to an American, living in Canada), so take it all with a grain of salt. From what I can see way up here though, you're all screwed up and losing what honour you once had.
posted by Kickstart70 at 9:04 PM on April 25, 2005


I remember the chorus of exclamations I heard when a couple of U.S. soldiers were killed early on in the fighting, with a rocket-propelled grenade.

"A rocket-propelled grenade?!! They should get them the fuck outta there!"

Well, uh, just what did you think you'd be up against? I mean, I know that national pride is at an all-time high and all, but... oh, right, welcomed with open arms.
posted by dreamsign at 9:23 PM on April 25, 2005


If it's an all-volunteer army, shouldn't you not have to go if you don't want to?
posted by mek at 9:26 PM on April 25, 2005


amberglow: What is this, "Bobby hit me first?" Just because the administration isn't (yet) held accountable, no one should be? This isn't the fucking schoolyard. Just because the administration eschews accountability and embraces lies, you're going to pout and do the same until some mythical teacher comes down and makes everyone play fair? And unless you believe that the Bush administration were the first do this, then the "He did it first!" argument is kind of weak.

We live in a culture where accountability is being devalued and perjury becoming a mere peccadillo, no longer absolutes, but excused for whatever reasons the defender of oath-breaking or irresponsibly believes mitigates such archaic notions. The behavior of this administration is based on that, at least in part, and not the sole realm of neocons. If we want to build a culture where people are responsible for their actions and oaths, we should hold people to their obligations, and take said obligations seriously, otherwise, our culture simply gets tit-for-tat political arguments that we have right here, and never change anything.

XQUZYPHYR, I gave your post the response it merited. At least amberglow and bpt wrote discussible posts, even if I disagree with them. You want an explanation, ask, and I'll consider you someone worth the time.

On preview: kickstart70, the contract you sign when joining the U.S. armed forces does say that you can be retained beyond you're initial enlistment. It's not exactly a surprise.

It also seems a fair bit of people here either don't seem bright enough to understand the concept of "volunteer military," or are being disingenuous.
posted by Snyder at 9:33 PM on April 25, 2005


Snyder, can't argue with a lot of what you're saying here but let's not confuse a "volunteer" with a "zombie" - even if that's what the military would like. Sure, if you sign up, you should damned-well be prepared to go to War but I know plenty of retired military that have some serious problems with what happened in Iraq...still do. I'm not saying they should not be held accountable but I can't sit here and tell you that if I was in the military, I wouldn't have some serious reservations about going over there.

News flash, no WMD's in Syria either. SHOCKER!!
posted by j.p. Hung at 10:14 PM on April 25, 2005


I'm not saying a soldier can't have problems (or stronger feelings) with the Iraq war, or even try to figure out proper and legal ways to avoid going (if any exist,) but if they choose to desert, they should have the courage of their convictions, and stand to the consequences of their actions. They did swear to an oath and sign contracts, and those are important too.
posted by Snyder at 10:24 PM on April 25, 2005


Recalling what gesamtkunstwerk said, the cruel irony of this whole situation is that Americans who are willing to die for their country in (un)righteous battle, are precluded from so doing if they're attracted to the same sex. This point is relevant because the interest of the Armed Forces in punishing deserters is to set an example and discourage desertion. Desertion is discouraged to prevent a weakening of the Armed Forces. Yet, the Forces have no qualms about shedding direly needed soldiers and officers on the basis of their sexual preferences ... which makes me wonder whether the US Armed Forces can defend their punishment for deserters: it seems totally illogical to force those who want to not fight to stay and force those out who want to fight but happen to be merely gay (and have not committed any crime or engaged in any dereliction). Both kinds of soldiers have signed the same contract. And since those who want to desert are unlikely to be good for fighting morale and can be national security risks (the arguments used to prevent gays from serving), why should they not get the same dishonorable discharge that a G/L/B soldier would (rather than the discharge + jail time)?

Additionally, two thoughts on contracts, since people seem to be confusing contractual agreements with sacred covenants:

First, breaking a contract typically results in the payment of damages, not jail time. Instead of being imprisoned, deserters could be required to pay back any perks or immoluments they got above the payment for services rendered.

Second, there is the doctrine of unconscionability which says that if the bargaining power of the two parties is very imbalanced and the requirements of the contract are unduly oppressive, the contract can be considered void. Though it would be tough to make that case in this instance, I wanted to point out that the legal system recognizes that a contract voluntarily signed can be considered void by its oppressive nature.
posted by Azaadistani at 10:31 PM on April 25, 2005


So many people these days don't know how to take responsibility for the consequences of their choices and actions.
posted by nightchrome at 11:30 PM on April 25, 2005


Weasels. They should be tried by a military jury and punished accordingly. VOLUNTEERS -- they CHOSE to sign up -- whatever their reasons. It is made crystal-clear to everyone who raises their hand and takes The Oath that killing -- and possibly being killed -- is an occupational hazard.

Ah, we get it. When you join the U.S. military, you check your conscience, your brain, and your heart at the recruiter's door. We now consecrate the bond of obedience and all that. Gotcha. Mindless automatons. Kill what we tell you to kill. The Oath uber alles. Right. Wonderful. Certainly confirms the validity of a contempt for all things military...things therefore base.

They did swear to an oath and sign contracts, and those are important too.

So true. "Signed contracts." Paperwork is what's important. What's a little harmless participation in an immoral war of invasion, a war sold on utter lies -- compared to the absolutely heartchilling horror of breaking a "contract". Sure, "defending the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic" ain't got jack-shit to do with invading Iraq, but hey.....it was a contract. Yeah, you really should go to prison for opposing such a war, while the chain of fucking command that led us into it flourishes. That's certainly a culture of responsibility, eh?

....if Uncle Sam told them they were going to war, there was no choice but to follow.

All three of you, go look up My Lai hamlet (hell, go look up Vietnam), and then report back to us with more of your brilliant insight on the wonderful virtues of obedience.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 12:20 AM on April 26, 2005


Ah, we get it. When you join the U.S. military, you check your conscience, your brain, and your heart at the recruiter's door.

No, but you do check a sizeable number of your rights at the door. It's part of the package, and you are well aware of it upon signing up.
Nobody is saying you have to go to Iraq and kill people if you really and truly don't want to. You either get CO status, or you suffer the penalties laid out for disobeying. It's quite simple, really.
You can satisfy your conscience, your brain, and your heart without sacrificing your integrity in the process. Running away from your chosen obligations is pathetic.
posted by nightchrome at 12:34 AM on April 26, 2005


So, you've signed up. You've been shipped out. You've been ordered to kill people you know are innocent. Depending on whether or not it is illegal in your country to kill innocent people on foreign soil in time of war, you face one of two dilemmas:

Dilemma 1: It's immoral to kill innocent people, but it's also immoral to renege on a lawfully binding contract. Which horn do you choose? Personally, I think you're a poor excuse for a human being if you choose to honor the contract.

Dilemma 2: It's immoral to kill innocent people, but if you don't kill them, you'll be faced with yet another dilemma: Stay and be punished for doing the right (and legal) thing, or seek asylum elsewhere and leave all your rights as a citizen behind.

I have no idea which dilemma these deserters are facing. It wouldn't surprise me if it's legal to kill innocent people when ordered to do so, under certain circumstances. It also wouldn't surprise me if it turns out that the circumstances in Iraq are not such that they furnish such legal warrant.

Nor do I know their true motives. Although the article in question speaks only of the desire to avoid killing, it wouldn't surprise me if some of those soldiers deserted out of fear, as many of you suggested. However, I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt.
posted by bricoleur at 1:21 AM on April 26, 2005


At first on reading the thread, I thought that, well, if you sign up for the military, and by inference War, then yes you gave away any rights to complain over where they send you.
I gave this a moment of reflection and changed my mind. The primary reason I was lacking sympathy came not from a distaste for their actions, but anger that they were stupid enough to join a military that fought what I feel to be an unjust war (or at least one started for unjust reasons).

Therefore what fold_and_mutilate said.
posted by skarmj at 1:53 AM on April 26, 2005


> All three of you, go look up My Lai hamlet (hell, go look up
> Vietnam), and then report back to us with more of your
> brilliant insight on the wonderful virtues of obedience.

Yeah, what he said.

Perhaps it's just me, but if a teenage kid makes the dumb
mistake of signing himself into the military for whatever
reason, and then decides that there's a strong chance that
his decision is likely to result in the death of himself or
others due to his orders to invade another country, then
desertion seems to me to be a pretty smart idea.

And all of you armchair generals who are so fond of telling
these kids what they should be doing in this situation
might want to think about signing up yourself, given how
strongly you feel about it.

Here's a link to facilitate the process:

http://www.goarmy.com/flindex.jsp
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:38 AM on April 26, 2005


I think the point behind a lot of the criticism here is that most of the critics wouldn't be stupid enough to sign up and find themselves in this sort of situation. So your attempt at "sticking it to the armchair generals" falls kind of flat.

You're allowed to join the military and then change your mind about wanting to be in it. You get Conscientious Objector status and everything is hunky-dory. You're not allowed to pick and choose where you agree and where you don't. You either do it, or you get punished.
People who desert are not running away from war...they are running away from the punishment they would suffer for refusing to fight. They're no better than escaped convicts, essentially.
posted by nightchrome at 2:45 AM on April 26, 2005


Motherfuck! Everyone stop focusing on the contract-- it goes much deeper than that. People who volunteer volunteer volunteer for military service are saying that they will kill in exchange for goods and services. Once you say that, you deserve whatever you get.

It doesn't matter that military families pay a lot of lip service to "serving the country" and the "sacrifices" of it. It's bullshit-- they signed up so they wouldn't have to work in the tire warehouse. It's a career option with things the volunteers wouldn't otherwise get. But it comes with an agreement to kill without judgement. Which means you're pretty loathsome if you agree to it. Which means we shouldn't have any sympathy for people who want to reneg and get into a world of shit for it.
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:40 AM on April 26, 2005


Oooh, I've been told of by the great and never responsive to comment fold_and_mutilate! But hey, you're stoopy. To go along with your apparent reading comprehension, you love lies, and consider promise no more than mere red tape! I'm sure you endorse everything the Bush administration did to go to war for whatever reason, because all those Oaths of office and fabricated intel reports were just paperwork and words! Go look up necessary components of a free society (trust and accountability being two) then report back on your brilliant insights on what it means to be responsible for yourself.

bricoleur: In regards to your dilemmas, deciding not to kill innocents (and in regards to your thought of it being legal to kill innocents, it is not, to my knowledge, a legal order under the UCMJ,) does not waive his other obligations. One way or another, he will have to face the consequences of breaking an oath. Oaths shouldn't be entered into lightly, because they're serious things, and we can already see what happens when a lack of respect for such things exists at the highest levels of power. (Expects to hear from at least someone who is still reading from their script and not actually looking at what I wrote that I'm an apologist for war crimes and love Bush.)
posted by Snyder at 3:53 AM on April 26, 2005


They should've joined the Navy, so they wouldn't have gotten orders for Iraq. (Corpsmen attached to USMC units excluded, of course.)
posted by alumshubby at 3:54 AM on April 26, 2005


Should you fight in a war you to believe to be a complete and moral wrong? No. Should you abandon all vestiges of responsibility and accountability? No.

If you truly cannot abide serving in the military (which I can understand, things change, you were stupid, you deliberately ignored history) there is a way. The military endorses this way, though it may not when people do it. You tell them, "I don't plan on doing so-and-so, or I plan on doing so-and-so because I believe it is a moral imperative (which really you can categorize nearly any controversy as, yay) and then you tell them when you plan on disobeying. You disobey. You accept the consequences for the action of disobeying.

You acknowledge that if something is this important to you, it is larger than your own safety, comfort, or even life. This is the magnitude of morally disagreeing with something.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 4:32 AM on April 26, 2005


'The Universe is totally indifferent to the fact that you may not realize the consequences of your actions, however, you will have to pay for them just the same'
posted by LowDog at 4:52 AM on April 26, 2005


Snyder, we disagree, but not as much as you appear to think.

One way or another, he will have to face the consequences of breaking an oath.

No argument there. See subdilemma of dilemma # 2.

Oaths shouldn't be entered into lightly, because they're serious things, and we can already see what happens when a lack of respect for such things exists at the highest levels of power.

Again, no argument. But nothing in the article (we all read the article, right?) makes it clear that any of these deserters entered into their commitments lightly. It would be more fair to say that, having made their own commitments, they realized at some point that those above them were not keeping theirs. The whole war is arguably illegal, in which case I don't see how resisting it in any non-violent way will damage the fabric of society. If our leaders were upholding their own oaths, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

You appear to feel that the only honorable course in such a predicament is to take your lashes, deserved or not, from the very organization that betrayed you. It is on that point, sadly, that we disagree.
posted by bricoleur at 5:34 AM on April 26, 2005


Oh, your country still has massive swinging grandad-balls, trust me. What's it's lacking these days is more in the brains department.

Stavros - I'm Canadian. My point was that we used to be have to courage to provide sanctuary to people who realize they don't want to be warriors. These days we seem to be too worried about the feelings of our #1 withusoragainstus trading partner to make an independent moral judgement (though we did manage to stay out the Iraq WMD debacle while still fighting the real war in afghanistan).
posted by srboisvert at 5:45 AM on April 26, 2005


If you sign up and then decide you don't want to fight, there are many, many ways (some of them even legal) to not do this. Running away is a jackass of a move, one that potentially can ruin your life.

It's like ordering food at a restaurant that you chose to go to and when you get it, deciding that you don't want it or it's not what you thought and then running out of the restaurant without paying. You have other options that do not involve you breaking the law.
posted by Dagobert at 6:01 AM on April 26, 2005


I don't think any of the other options don't break the laws regarding what you signed. How many soldiers are actually awarded CO status each year? I'm betting less than 100 if even that much.
posted by amberglow at 6:12 AM on April 26, 2005


Motherfuck! Everyone stop focusing on the contract-- it goes much deeper than that. People who volunteer volunteer volunteer for military service are saying that they will kill in exchange for goods and services. Once you say that, you deserve whatever you get.

You hit that nail right on the head, Mayor Curley.
posted by furtive at 7:27 AM on April 26, 2005


Hey, all you great warriors, if you can volunteer then you should also be able to resign, get it?
posted by acrobat at 7:28 AM on April 26, 2005


You can freely enter into commitments that restrict your ability to freely enter into other commitments or any choices for that mater.

Great warrior? Hmmm, wars not make one great. (actually in the military here, but Yoda is wise)
posted by Lord Chancellor at 8:44 AM on April 26, 2005


Well, presumably at least some of the guys in Iraq signed up when their country was not at war, with the expectation that if they did go to war it would be for reasons that made sense. They might be glad to risk their lives in defense of their country, but not so much for the defense of a distant land full of people who wish they'd go away.

Was that written to make a case for their misfortune, or their idiotcy? I fear for anyone that has a gun in their hands that believes such nonsense.

I know, I mean unloading an M-16 in a seven-year old Iraqi child's face is right there in the fucking brochure!

A nut in every thread. If it wasn't for fold and mutilate coming out of his hole for some of his usual inane commentary you would have won the prize.

What if the war is illegal, immoral and unjustified? What if the people who ordered them to go kill Iraqis were lying? What if they're being forced to commit crimes solely to enrich the person who sent them and his buddies? What if they're acting as private mercenaries for that person and his buddies instead defending the US, as they swore to do?
posted by amberglow


Really amberglow, whenever you comment on the military it would help if you preface your comments with the fact that you know nothing about the military and have no desire to step off you soap box to change that fact.

The Military should have a better mechanism to exit it's employment then Fort Leavenworth, Canada, disability, or death.

They do. Finish what you started and signed up to do. Amazing huh?

That being said, I'm Canadian (married to an American, living in Canada), so take it all with a grain of salt. From what I can see way up here though, you're all screwed up and losing what honour you once had.

And they say americans are arrogant. (and i'm crushed you think we've lost our honour. Especially coming from you. Wait, who the hell are you?
posted by justgary at 8:50 AM on April 26, 2005


It seems like whatever consequences might arise from simply disobeying orders, or registering your intention to conscientiously object, or whatever, would have to be lighter than the consequences of hopping the fence.
posted by sonofsamiam at 8:56 AM on April 26, 2005


acrobat, you don't just volunteer, you sign a contract. The gov't invests a lot of money in your training (this great warrior's gunners course cost over $30,000 per person in ammo alone), in your college education, your salary and all the infrastructure required to support it. After all of that you expect them not to do anything when you renege on your contract?

A person must live with the consequences of their actions. To object to being an instrument of war is a noble action, but running away from the consequences (a few months in jail and a dishonourable discharge) is not something that Canada should endorse. We hold our people to a high standard and anyone coming to our country is expected to abide by that standard. I think they've made the right decision.
posted by furtive at 9:01 AM on April 26, 2005


This caused me to join Metafilter. Metafilter thanks the now international republican media machine for the $5.

A couple points: 1. This news story is probably just a fake bit of propaganda. I say that because we are talking about the 82nd. And about a soldier who has already fought in a foreign land. To such people the Army provides legal ways out. You don't have to desert anymore, unless you are actually in the shit. And nobody who makes it into the 82nd is going to be in that position. Those guys are freaking nuts about loving their job. They get all the good stuff, they are rock stars.

2. There is no real shortage of men for the service. I was told so myself 6 months ago by a SFC, in relation to my own sacrifices. They don't need people that badly. If they did, they would be floating the draft idea, again. The statistics have it: the losses in the Iraq war have been on the order of 5000.

3. There is no pressure of immigration on Canada by former enlisted US soldiers and deserters. What hogwash. This is an artifice of propaganda. For one thing, it's too cold in Canada. Where are these people?

4. Motherfuck! Everyone stop focusing on the contract-- it goes much deeper than that. People who volunteer volunteer volunteer for military service are saying that they will kill in exchange for goods and services. Once you say that, you deserve whatever you get.

You make a good point, Mayor Curly. However, if you haven't been in a situation of owing a lot to corporate America, watching a lot of its dream fall with the WTC, and being on the verge of homelessness, you might not be able to personally understand the story of the type of person you describe. I personally ascribe to the ideal that people are 3 dimensional, and that the future allows room for change. Your ideology of damnation fits well with today's world, one in which whether you're with President Bush or against him, you can still find someone to hate, and, yes, the shit does go downhill, so it can be some little guy at the level of your bootfilth.

I have been reading Metafilter almost daily now for several years. I hope to continue enjoying it, despite the recent shift in ideology as Republicans and Government employees post here more often.
posted by nervousfritz at 9:04 AM on April 26, 2005


justgary, what i said was not about the military but about this "War". If you have nothing to add but insults, then kindly STFU. Since you do have nothing to add but insults--does typing them in make you feel superior? more "patriotic" or something? Are you a good American because you want people fighting in our name and with our equipment and with our money who don't want to be there? Bully for you.

2. There is no real shortage of men for the service. I was told so myself 6 months ago by a SFC, in relation to my own sacrifices. They don't need people that badly. If they did, they would be floating the draft idea, again. The statistics have it: the losses in the Iraq war have been on the order of 5000.
Oh really?
posted by amberglow at 9:10 AM on April 26, 2005


nervousfritz:

1. I call bullshit on your calling bullshit. This has been well covered by major and independent press in both the Canada and US. Also, unless you've met an spoken with each and every member of the 82nd I don't think you are qualified to say that nobody in the 82nd would ever desert.

2. See amberglow's above link, or my previous comment where I more or less explain why retention is important due to the cost of training soldiers, or read up on the stop-loss laws that have been passed, or how recruitment standards have been lowered so that enrollment quotas can be met, or how those quotas still aren't being met.

3. For one thing, it's too cold in Canada. Where are these people? WTF is that? Shall I berate you with weather statistics, or the fact that only a few tens of thousands out of thirty million actually live in a arctic climate?

4. Right after you poop on Mayor Curley for having a polarized view you spew bullshit about a mefi shift in ideology and a flood of republicans and gov't employees as members? Shame on you. We'd be better off if you'd saved your $5.
posted by furtive at 9:43 AM on April 26, 2005


Regardless, it doesn't change the fact that deserting is both a dishonorable choice (as I mentioned before, if you truly disagree, you don't run away, you refuse and take the consequences) and a silly choice (there are much smarter ways of getting out of the military than making yourself a fugative and renouncing your homeland. Ya know, just in case you want to actually visit someone or something.

Canada is playing a safe game, and there isn't really a flood of deserters heading towards their borders looking for haven. The dynamics of who is actually in the military has changed since the Vietnam era and how they are taken. Canada doesn't want to piss off the US by allowing a token sum of runaways that really isn't that big of deal in national scheme of things.

So the question here is, what's the question?
posted by Lord Chancellor at 10:27 AM on April 26, 2005


"So the question here is, what's the question?"
The question seems to be whether the deserters should be having a hard time or not. They should. They are cowards.

"What if the war is illegal, immoral and unjustified?" - etc
amberglow, if your leaders are dishonorable, you fight them.
If they believe they have been lied to, that the war is illegal, etc, they should stand up and fight for that. Not simply run away. They volunteered and in that act got involved. If they now wish to reverse their decision because innocents are killed, than they should fight to stop that. They should step up. These people seem to wish to divorce themselves from the situation entirely. They are cowards by definition. They won't fight for what they volunteered for, yet they won't fight for the reasons that made them reverse that decision. Appropriately Dante puts the traitors and cowards in the lowest part of Hell.
(The neutrals are in Hell, but roundly ignored).

fold_and_mutilate - the people who came back from Mai Lai reported what they saw. An honorable act. They stood up for that at least.

"desertion seems to me to be a pretty smart idea."
PeterMcDermott - Tell you what, lets go protest the war. While were there I see that the cops have tear gas & shields & clubs. They're coming at us. I'll split and leave you to take the beating and arrest. C'YA! . Y? Because I'm so smart. Sure I lose a friendship & trust, but hey, your in jail for your principles and I'm not. Sucker.

"might want to think about signing up yourself"
Been there. Done that. Several times. Your welcome.

"no qualms about shedding...needed soldiers...on the basis of their sexual preferences"
Azaadistani - yep, that's gotta end. My only misgiving is where to board homosexuals. Boarding them with the same sex is unfair to heterosexuals (because in the same way I'm not attracted to every woman I see, so why can't I then have a female barracks mate?)
posted by Smedleyman at 12:32 PM on April 26, 2005


So when conservatives say "Love it or leave it" they really just mean "Love it"?
posted by srboisvert at 12:51 PM on April 26, 2005


It could have been worse. Those soldiers could have all been ordered to fill prescriptions for birth control.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 12:56 PM on April 26, 2005


The people who came back from Mai Lai reported what they saw. An honorable act. They stood up for that at least.
It was six month's before one of the soldiers, Tom Glen wrote to dispute the official accounts. Prior to that, the military chain of command covered up the event. It was 30 years before the brave pilot who stopped the massacre was recognised for his role.

I'll split and leave you to take the beating and arrest. C'YA! . Y? Because I'm so smart. Sure I lose a friendship & trust, but hey, your in jail for your principles and I'm not.
I seem to recall the following as part of the US Army's "Warrior Ethos" - "I Will Never Accept Defeat", "I Will Never Quit" and "I Will Never Leave A Fallen Comrade".
Where does ducking and running on your friend and pissing away your principles come into the credo?

Been there. Done that. Several times. Your welcome.
Whoopde-doo. I doubt there are many MeFites who would not stand tall against aggression on American soil. The problem lies that actions against non-threatening nations seem to get stuck in most people's craw. Oh, and before you ask - yes I did.

My only misgiving is where to board homosexuals. Boarding them with the same sex is unfair to heterosexuals (because in the same way I'm not attracted to every woman I see, so why can't I then have a female barracks mate?)
Because homosexuals don't necessarily want to fuck you in the ass? Maybe? How about you wait until one touches your thigh and calls you "buttercup" before you suffer a frenzy of fear of the "pink menace".
posted by longbaugh at 1:52 PM on April 26, 2005


It would be more fair to say that, having made their own commitments, they realized at some point that those above them were not keeping theirs. The whole war is arguably illegal, in which case I don't see how resisting it in any non-violent way will damage the fabric of society. If our leaders were upholding their own oaths, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

I respect what you're saying, and I've thought long and hard about it myself, and I do believe, for everything heinous it has done, the government/military, as a whole has not (yet) forsworn their part of the oath, or rather, have not yet moved into the realm of illegality according to regulations and the UCMJ. This is the crux of the matter. While I feel that the current administration is not playing straight with our soldiers, sailors and airmen, (above and beyond it's behavior in regards to the invasion and the war,) it's not reached a place where soldiers are either obligated by their oath to resist. I don't believe opposition to a particular war is enough, especially as I do not wish the military to be the sole decision maker on when use of force is necessary.

Beyond that, I take oaths (and contracts) seriously. Unfortunately, there is no feasible, peaceful way, at this time, to hold the administration accountable for it's actions and perjury. However, I do believe that if we begin to hold oaths in respect, in our daily lives and in all circumstances, without prejudice, we can create a culture where such are things are respected, and we can use the force of public outcry against those who break their word.

On preview: longbaugh: I seem to recall the following as part of the US Army's "Warrior Ethos" - "I Will Never Accept Defeat", "I Will Never Quit" and "I Will Never Leave A Fallen Comrade".
Where does ducking and running on your friend and pissing away your principles come into the credo?
Dur, that's what he's saying!
Because homosexuals don't necessarily want to fuck you in the ass? Maybe? How about you wait until one touches your thigh and calls you "buttercup" before you suffer a frenzy of fear of the "pink menace". Are you saying that heterosexual males want to fuck all women? Or do you think that anyone who sees logistical problems in the integration of out homosexuals in the military is a homophobe with pink panic? Ass.
posted by Snyder at 2:46 PM on April 26, 2005


snyder -

PeterMcDermott - Tell you what, lets go protest the war. While were there I see that the cops have tear gas & shields & clubs. They're coming at us. I'll split and leave you to take the beating and arrest. C'YA! . Y? Because I'm so smart. Sure I lose a friendship & trust, but hey, your in jail for your principles and I'm not. Sucker.
Where exactly is that following the Warrior Ethos?

As for your second point - excellent. I see that you can understand my point exactly. Yes I do see that someone who sees logistical problems in the integration of out homosexuals in the military is a homophobe with pink panic. See Sparta for reference.

Thanks for the random insult though, hope it made you feel powerful.
posted by longbaugh at 2:55 PM on April 26, 2005


a homophobe with pink panic? Ass.
Now, that's the kind of talk that gets me hot.
posted by sonofsamiam at 2:57 PM on April 26, 2005


Snyder: This is the crux of the matter.

Yup.

While I feel that the current administration is not playing straight with our soldiers, sailors and airmen, (above and beyond its behavior in regards to the invasion and the war,) it's not reached a place where soldiers are obligated by their oath to resist.

It may appear differently to some of these men and women, especially those who have been in action there.

Unfortunately, there is no feasible, peaceful way, at this time, to hold the administration accountable for its actions and perjury.

In one sense, there is never a peaceful way to hold someone accountable for his actions; the threat of force, implicit or explicit, is always instrumental in bringing the guilty to justice. In another sense, though, I think that the actions of these deserters (at least, of the ones who are deserting out of conscience and not out of fear—I do make that distinction) heap shame upon the administration, which is a sort of accountability.

However, I do believe that if we begin to hold oaths in respect, in our daily lives and in all circumstances, without prejudice, we can create a culture where such are things are respected, and we can use the force of public outcry against those who break their word.

I have to respect that, but I disagree with it. I think there can be circumstances under which one should break an oath, and I think that one of those times is when innocent lives hang in the balance. I don't think we can actually attain any high moral ground from which to denounce the traitors among us by pursuing a course of action which will, as one of its consequences, sacrifice more innocents.
posted by bricoleur at 4:08 PM on April 26, 2005


It's funny how, the moment you advocate taking responsibility for your life, everyone accuses you of being a Republican. I wonder what this says about the self-image of Democrats...
posted by nightchrome at 5:04 PM on April 26, 2005


It's so nice that the "Support the Troops" crowd, or more accurately, the "Too Cowardly to Protest the War" people are mocking the soldiers who are refusing to fight in a criminal war. It takes a mountain of personal responsibility to bury your head in the sand.
posted by rougy at 5:48 PM on April 26, 2005


... Changing the culture in this way - transferring responsibility from the top to the bottom - will chip away at the willingness of soldiers to trust and obey orders. I'm sure there are plenty of bad orders out there, and they certainly shouldn't be obeying clearly illegal orders, but even I recognize that the integrity of the entire system requires soldiers to obey orders absent some clear and obvious illegality. ...--about how the Abu Ghraib officers in charge haven't been punished at all.
posted by amberglow at 6:33 PM on April 26, 2005


Unready for combat--When Dustin W. Peters, an Air Force supply technician, arrived in Kuwait in January 2004, all he and his fellow airmen knew was that they would be supporting US troops in Iraq. But when their unit received its assignment, they recalled, they were stunned: They would be protecting supply convoys traveling along Iraq's violent roadways.
Peters, 25, was killed last summer when his Humvee was struck by a roadside bomb near the town of Bayji, placing him among at least 13 Air Force and Navy members to die in Iraq while on assignments that were different from what they signed up for -- and with far less training than military personnel who usually performed those missions, according to a Globe analysis of Pentagon statistics. ...
(Boston Globe, 4/26)
posted by amberglow at 6:43 PM on April 26, 2005


I have to respect that, but I disagree with it. I think there can be circumstances under which one should break an oath, and I think that one of those times is when innocent lives hang in the balance. I don't think we can actually attain any high moral ground from which to denounce the traitors among us by pursuing a course of action which will, as one of its consequences, sacrifice more innocents.

But we're not. I'm not at least. Yes, if you feel strongly about this course of war, and the taking of innocent life, please don't! You have a moral obligation to stop and do what is right. But stopping and running are different. You do the right thing by protesting, not by hi-tailing it out of there. I've had to grapple with this issue to as how I feel about a war that I don't think should have happened. But I feel that I could do still being in the military because I think (foolish as it may seem) that it would be more harmful to get out, than it is to do what I can where I am for the benefit of all. Plus, would you want all of the moral guys leaving the military? Pity the people against our forces . . . Others may not agree. Others might see it as an ethical imperative to stop. Then do. Just don't run. Be willing to sacrifice your freedom for something you believe in.

On the homosexual issue, yes, it's wrong, and I will say that it's more of a top down approach than anything. More of how Congress sees it than the military. (though there are always noisy exceptions) Commanding Officers have said to some of my workmates "You don't mind working with a gay guy, do you?" simply because the whole ship knows he's gay, he's a good guy, and most importantly he does his job. What else do you need in a fellow serviceman? So, I would work on trying to get Congress to reverse the UCMJ and others regs to get things changed. The military doesn't really have any power to change it. It'll squirm when things do change (we have problems with the whole 'progress' thing) but we'll accept it. So, git 'er done and write to your representatives.

posted by Lord Chancellor at 6:45 PM on April 26, 2005


amberglow, you do realize that every soldier who deserts (a decision you seem to support) leaves a hole in his unit that has to either be filled by someone who might not be trained for it, or in some cases not filled at all, putting everyone else at risk, don't you?

By way of example: before my brother's unit shipped out he mentioned they were shipping out at 85% of their total strength. When I asked why that was he said (paraphrasing) "Some folks managed to get real clumsy with heavy objects or birth control right after the orders came through."
posted by Cyrano at 7:15 PM on April 26, 2005


(Although I think a vast majority of the situations described in you last linked article are surely a result of the clusterfuck in planning we've been paying for since the start of this thing. But deserters and malingerers certainly aren't helping matters, either.)
posted by Cyrano at 7:23 PM on April 26, 2005


You have a moral obligation to stop and do what is right. But stopping and running are different. You do the right thing by protesting, not by hi-tailing it out of there.

Good point. Staying and protesting might be the highest course of action, although I would be somewhat concerned about my freedom to protest once this administration decided to gag me.

On the other hand, the highest course of action isn't always available to all of us. We may lack that last ounce of courage, or we may have other commitments, etc. So refusing to kill, or abet the killing of, innocents, and then absconding, may be only the next best thing. It's not perfect, but it takes more courage than not acting on your conscience at all, and does more good.

Also, it's too soon to conclude that these people have only cut and run. They may be able to protest the war much more effectively while out of Bush's reach. And obviously, they are paying a price for their actions. Renouncing US citizenship and making yourself a fugitive in the US surely is paying with your freedom.

Plus, would you want all of the moral guys leaving the military?

Now there's an angle that, frankly, I hadn't thought about. But on reflection, (a) I don't think it's likely, but (b) when I do envision a wholesale desertion of the moral guys from the military, I see a polarized, critical situation that might finally galvanise our apathetic population into changing its leadership.
posted by bricoleur at 4:54 AM on April 27, 2005


longbaugh
"Prior to that, the military chain of command covered up the event."
Duh. But you don't do it for recognition.

"Where does ducking and running on your friend and pissing away your principles come into the credo?"
- Looks like we have a failure to communicate. It's called sarcasm.

"I doubt there are many MeFites who would not stand tall against aggression on American soil. The problem lies that actions against non-threatening nations seem to get stuck in most people's craw. "
- er...I was talking about serving in the U.S. military. I'm really not understanding what your talking about.
My point being - soldiers can't determine where and when to fight. If they believe the war is unjust they should fight for it instead of running.

"How about you wait until one touches your thigh and calls you "buttercup" before you suffer a frenzy of fear of the "pink menace"."
Hmmm...I'm even more unclear what the hell your on about. If a homosexual came on to me in an inappropriate manner I'd deal with it. If it were agressive, I'd make it more agressive. Otherwise I could care less what anyone's sexual orientation was.
My point here was it's unfair to board someone with someone else they have the potential to have a relationship with. Currently the military only boards unmarried folks with those of the same sex. There are co-ed barracks, but not roommates. I think that would have to change.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:54 PM on April 27, 2005


rougy - dead on.


"with far less training than military personnel who usually performed those missions"
Amberglow - this is why many ex-military parents tell their kids not to join. From the military POV though, you can't have soldiers dictating how trained they are and what job they should do based on their perception of their contract (whether the troop in question is wrong or right). Your pretty much signing up to be a slave.

"They may be able to protest the war much more effectively while out of Bush's reach....etc"
Actually, those are not bad points bricoleur. I'll have to think about that. I withdraw my big "C" on the coward label. But I will say they will have to work to undo the effects.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:04 PM on April 27, 2005


Yeah, Smedleyman explained his comments much more clearly than I did. Sorry for muddying the waters.

bricoleur: You make good, thoughtful points, even if I generally disagree with some of your conclusions. I just think we should hold oaths and innocents lives with similar moral seriousness, because I think it would lead to a culture where innocent lives would not so easily be taken. I can understand the difficulty of choosing between two difficult choices, but sometimes making a change requires some deprivation of one's self. If the Freedom Riders fled the cops and escaped from jail after their sit-ins and whatnot, would the Civil Rights movement have had such a lasting effect? I don't think so. If there were soldiers going to jail to protest an immoral war, I think that would have a greater impact then just going to Canada. I'm not saying they're evil for doing so, but I think, in the context of oath breaking, it's the responsible (and maybe eve heroic) thing to do.
posted by Snyder at 3:06 PM on April 27, 2005


Smedleyman explained his comments much more clearly...
A new first for me Snyder.


....I think that would have a greater impact then just going to Canada.

I very much agree with your final point
posted by Smedleyman at 10:16 AM on April 28, 2005


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