Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Just out of curiosity, what exactly did you say?

IMO going to Iraq is an act of bravery, tempered by the (reasonable) fear of what refusing to go would entail. Refusing to go to Iraq also requires courage, but again qualified by an understandable fear of the risks that being a soldier in Iraq bring.

And for those out there reading - any knowledge of what the actual consequences have been for those soldiers who have refused to go to Iraq? Has it been just dishonorable discharge, or short jail terms, or longer ones?

by MarekNYC on Mon May 22nd, 2006 at 04:50:28 PM EST

  The gist of my original post (the one which appeared as a comment--actually seconding another slightly similar comment in the replies thread to another's diary entry ) is here in what I've written in this diary entry.  Though far reduced, the essentials are there.

  In the original, I offered what I imagined I'd do if I were in the military as an unheroic example of someone who lacks the courage to do other than go along with the crowd and follow orders--despite knowing them to be wrong and illegal.

  As for what has happened to CO's (conscientious objectors) the responses have varied greatly.  I met one enlisted Army soldier, a sergeant with the 82nd Airborne (not an outfit for slackers!) whose military record was impeccable.  He did a tour in Iraq and after it, went to his CO (Commanding officer) and requested to take conscientious objector status.  This they allowed and he was given an honorable discharge.

  When I asked him why many others couldn't do the same, he answered that much depends on one's comportment and on what the Army expects (or doesn't expect) the person seeking a CO discharge to do.  In his case, he joined the outspoken opponents of the war.  Something the Army was given no reason to expect.

  But then, that's what free-speech is for.  Others--esp. those who make waves while still on active duty, can face disciplinary action--reductions in rank, transfers, rebukes in their official record or, of course, a court-martial and a dishonorable discharge.

  It may not be widely appreciated by the public that many firms ask job applicants not only, "Have you ever been convicted of a felony?," but also, "Have you been dishonorably discharged from the military?"

  Those soldiers (in the thousands, now) who have gone AWOL (absent without leave), fleeing the country or going underground, face criminal charges and possible imprisonment if they are ever found; though there is a strong interest still on the part of the Army to settle such cases as quietly as possible since the spectacle of a trial draws undesirable public attention to the number of those who desert and the very appealingly humane motives behind many of those who do so.  It's not good public-relations for the military now that the war is no longer a popular cause.

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Tue May 23rd, 2006 at 10:26:17 AM EST
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