IRR resisters on Vets Day: 'Stop the War'
Iraq vets Benjamin Lewis and Brandon Neely publish
open letter to "refuse orders to reactivate into military
service" and pledge to "openly support other IRR members who
Tony Anderson court martial Tuesday
Iraq War resister Tony Anderson is scheduled to be court martialed
Tuesday, November 17 at Ft. Carson CO for missing movement. Please donate to Tony's
Five simple things you can
...to organize war resister support in your community
Courage to Resist offers five suggestions on
how your local community can get involved and act directly to stop unjust
war and occupation by supporting GI resistance.
petition to support the Hempstead 15 (link
On October 15 police attacked a peaceful gathering of Iraq vets
and others at Hofstra University
in Long Island during
the last presidential debate.
Veterans Day call by IRR
resisters to 'Stop the War'
By Benjamin Lewis (photo right) and Brandon Neely (photo
below), AlterNet. November 11,
On this day, Veteran's Day, we would like to express to the American
public why we, veterans of the Global War on Terror, have chosen to
refuse orders to reactivate into military service. We are direct
witnesses to the horrors of this war, having experienced its atrocities
at their source, and we have decided that we can no longer carry out
these illegal and immoral policies.
We believe that veterans and active-duty GIs are in a key position
to stop illegal and unjust war, and we are inspired by the resistance
of troops who stood against the war in Vietnam. One of the preeminent
reasons for the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam was increasing dissent
among the active-duty troops stationed abroad and at home. By the end
of the war, there were entire units refusing to participate in combat,
many going as far as outright mutiny.
The United States learned a lesson from the Vietnam War: that it is
unlikely, except in the event of self-defense, that regular civilians
will execute the life-threatening orders that are given to them by
military authority. The solution of policy makers was to create an
all-volunteer force that negated the need for a draft. This translates
into a mercenary force composed of America's disadvantaged: a sector of
the U.S. demographic that is particularly susceptible to military
recruitment for lack of other options and finding themselves with
deployment orders again and again.
To compensate for huge pitfalls in recruitment since the invasion of
Iraq, the military has resorted to recalling former service members.
This policy is known as "involuntary activation" and utilizes
deactivated service members who still have time on their contracts in
the Individual Ready Reserves (IRR) to fill shortcomings in specific
job specialties. The abuse and misuse of this policy has escalated
under the current administration to such a degree that it can now only
be viewed as a "backdoor draft" that targets the same
individuals the military sought out for enlistment, namely because they
are better at not questioning orders.
However, we have now begun to question these orders. We are veterans
of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and members of the IRR who have
refused or will refuse any activation orders that would lead to us
serving an unjust and imperial U.S. foreign policy. It is a prevailing
notion that this refusal is unpatriotic, but we consider our actions
the only choice. Not only did the U.S. invasions of Iraq and
Afghanistan do great harm to the people of those countries, but it
undermined the ostensible goal with which the wars were begun: Instead
of stopping terrorism, it has proliferated terrorism, an expectation
that was predicted well before the war started.
By refusing activation, we are refusing to participate in wars that
serve the purposes of furthering the careers of politicians and
high-ranking officers. We openly support other IRR members who follow
in these footsteps. The military is a force that rules through fear of
retribution for disobeying its will. In reality, more than a third of
IRRs simply refuse to report to duty. Most of the rest report out of
fear that the military will change their discharge status or prosecute
them for desertion, but up to this point, prosecution has been rare.
Members of the IRR are not under the Uniform Code of Military Justice
(UCMJ), and thus far, the military has had a practice of not
prosecuting them with criminal charges unless they report in some form
or function to activate. Very few willingly volunteer for activation.
There can be no promise that President-Elect Barack Obama will stop
the stressful and unfair techniques of back-to-back deployments,
"stop-loss" or the "backdoor draft" that are damaging
the psychology of
veterans in irreparable ways. Nor that he will stop encouraging global
violence by unlawful uses of force. It is in this vein that we turn to
organizations like Courage to Resist, Iraq Veterans Against the War and many other
large-scale and grassroots organizations to solicit
change in a largely unrepresentative democracy, and to allow the voices
of the people to ring through the halls of the Capital.
Benjamin Lewis, former Marine Corps mortarman, Iraq
veteran, IRR recall resister
Brandon Neely, former U.S. Army Military Police, Iraq
veteran, IRR recall resister
Iraq War resister Tony Anderson
By Courage to Resist
November 11, 2008
The U.S. Army plans to court martial Pvt Tony Anderson next Tuesday,
November 17 for his refusal to deploy to Iraq in July. He faces two years
in an Army stockade and a dishonorable discharge.
"I don't feel that it's right to take someone else's life,"
year-old Private Tony Anderson to Courage to Resist's Sarah Lazare.
"I felt that if it came down to it, I couldn't kill someone,
in Iraq or anywhere."
Anderson was speaking on phone while being watched by his commanding
officer at Ft. Carson, Colorado where he is stationed.
refused to deploy to Iraq in July of this year.
Tony thought about
filing for a conscientious objector
but was discouraged from doing so by his commanding
officers. They told him that it would not be possible for him to obtain a
and even flat-out lied saying that he was "not the right
Anderson was led to believe that filing a C.O. application would be
When he was ordered to deploy to Iraq on July 1st, Tony decided
he could not go. Just hours before boarding his flight, he went AWOL,
eventually turning himself in after 22 days in hopes of diminishing the
severity of his punishment. On his return, Tony was again ordered
to deploy to Iraq immediately. This time, he simply refused, and he
says, "they haven't tried to deploy me since then because they
I'm not going to go."
Courage to Resist has pledged $1,500 to cover Tony's civilian legal
defense, but we need your help to do so.
Donate to Tony's defense at
Five simple things you can do
...to organize war resister support in your
By Courage to
Resist. November 7, 2008
Support networks are a vital part of the war resistance movement:
providing political, emotional, and material support to military
objectors and helping amplify their stories of resistance lays the
foundation for a strong movement and ensures that resisters do not have
to go it alone. Through collective aid and alliance, we can act
directly to stop unjust war and occupation.
This document contains suggestions about how your local community
can get involved in these efforts. Please keep in mind that this is not
meant to be a blueprint for what your organizing must look like, but
rather, a collection of ideas and possibilities, to provide a starting
point for those who are not sure how to begin. Courage to Resist would
love to work with you in the future to figure out how these ideas best
fit in with your community.