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December 11, 2004

I support our troops

Dave Lindorff is especially interesting today.

For what it's worth, since this is a public forum and you never know who's reading, I might as well take the opportunity to say this:

If you are an active duty military person considering desertion or refusal of orders on moral or ethical grounds, and you don't know where to turn for information or assistance, talk to me. I'll try to help you. I can refer you to organizations that exist to help you. I can try to track down a lawyer for you. I can drive you to the bus station.

My offer could be construed as a violation of federal law. I make it anyway.

If you're another blogger who's sympathetic but unready to take this particular stand, I'd point out that a link on your blog to this post need not sound like you're supporting what I'm doing.

Posted by Chris Clarke at December 11, 2004 11:32 AM TrackBack URL for this entry:

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I come to you & your journal via LJ User iamkatia. She reposted what you wrote here (from "If you are an active dury military person" to the end), and suggested I talk to you.

First, a bit of background information:

One, I am not in, nor am I considering entering, the military. Two, I quite like what you wrote, and what you are offering, and I appreciate it and its sentiment, very much. Three, A number of people I know have either made offers of this variety to current military personnel, or have written their own statements against war, and against participating in it.

Second, my question:

How does one refuse orders on moral and ethical grounds, and how is that similar (or isn't it?) to desertion?

Another LiveJournal user (visleer) posted something almost one year ago about the processes one must go through in order to declare something that means you won't (continue to?) participate in the military because of your own morality or ethics. Is that what you mean? I'm not sure what I mean, myself, but I would like to know whatever it is you know. Thank you

Posted by: Kashmiri at December 14, 2004 10:31 PM
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Hey Kashmiri;

Simple answer: you're thinking of conscientious objector status, which many people assume applies only to people before they enter the military. There is a process by which an enlisted person can attempt to have the military recognize one's objection to killing, even if the person comes to that conclusion after enlisting.

The military may or may not allow you conscientious objector status. If they do, an honorable discharge is generally granted. But the process is long and very difficult. Sometimes other types of discharges are more advisable.

And sometimes the military refuses to grant CO status, and orders the enlisted person to report for duty and transport to a war zone. (As the Bush administration continues its Stop Loss policies to boost troop levels in Iraq and Afghanistan, it's likely CO discharges will get harder and harder to acquire.)

Which leaves desertion, which is of course illegal.

That's the short version, and it's way more complex in real life. Which is why I'd help the person track down an attorney. (And that link above has some good info as well.

Posted by: Chris Clarke at December 14, 2004 10:50 PM
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