By Chuck Parker
August 5th, 2012
“In the past several years, tens of thousands of service members have resisted illegal war and occupation in a number of different ways: by going AWOL, seeking conscientious objector status or a discharge, asserting the right to speak out against injustice within the military, and publically refusing to fight.”
Most people are unaware that resistance inside the military is so widespread. Many people believe that this is not possible, since there is no draft. But as this book points out—it’s just not that simple. Most recruits sign up when they are very young, and they are lied to by recruiters and the media, which promote military life as a golden opportunity to better yourself and serve your country. Most of the former soldiers interviewed in this book say they joined up because they couldn’t find jobs, and the military seemed like their best option at the time.
Once in the military, they awaken to the harsh realities. They must endure the indoctrination during basic training which tries to strip away their consciences, and turn them into soldiers who are comfortable, or even enthusiastic about the idea of killing. Soon they meet returning veterans who tell them stories of killing innocent people, living in constant fear, and losing comrades. In addition to resisters who decide they want out of the military before they ever see combat, there are many who decided to refuse further service after serving one or more tours in Iraq. Their understanding of the cruelty and injustice of these wars has developed from their first hand experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Some of these war resisters have fled to Canada, others were arrested and served time in military prisons. Public support for these war resisters is crucial, as they often feel as if they are all alone against the military machine.
The most high profile case is that of Bradley Manning who is on trial for releasing documents to WikiLeaks, including a video of a massacre of 12 civilians in Iraq called, Collateral Murder. His case has generated international support, and may have speeded the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. He is facing a possible life sentence. For daily updates from the Bradley Manning Support Network visit www.bradleymanning.org.
By resisting, these men and women are merely upholding their oath not to carry out illegal orders, as laid out in the Constitution. Their defense is a defense of democracy. With corporate America committed to a policy of increased military spending, and continuous warfare around the world, they are determined to silence any resistance. The stories of these courageous soldiers are vital in the struggle to expose the pro-war militaristic culture that is being force fed to our youth, as the enemy of freedom that it is.
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