Mar 17, 2008
Agustin Aguayo, an Iraq War veteran and conscientious objector, was held from October 2006 to April 2007 in the U.S. military prison in Mannheim, Germany. While in jail, he received hundreds of letters of support from German citizens, and on December 21, 2007, was awarded a peace prize in Stuttgart by German anti-war organizations. Another soldier, James Banks, a member of the U.S. Army’s 173rd Airborne Division, was recently released from several months in the Mannheim prison for his refusal to deploy with his unit to Afghanistan. Two more members of the 173rd Airborne Division, Andrew Hegerty and Jeffery Gauntt, remain in prison in Mannheim after conviction on the same charges.
These are just a few of thousands of U.S. soldiers who have deserted, resisted or refused deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan. About 5,000 members of the U.S. Army deserted last year alone, according to “official statistics,” up from about 3,500 the year before. Officially, Army desertions have gone up 80% since the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
This only gives a hint of the much vaster numbers of troops who want out – and get out as soon as they can.
Everyone of them who deserts, refuses deployment or leaves weakens the U.S. wars – and deserves our support.