Courage To Resist- Victor Agosto


Dahr Jamail, Inter Press Service, (excerpts)-Having served three years and nine months in the U.S. Army, Agosto was to complete his contract and be discharged on Aug. 3. But due to his excellent record of service and accrued leave, he was to be released the end of June. Nevertheless, due to the stop-loss programme, the Army decided to deploy him to Afghanistan anyway.

 Stop-loss is a programme the military uses to keep soldiers enlisted beyond the terms of their contracts. Since Sep. 11, 2001, more than 140,000 troops have had tours extended by stop-loss.

 When IPS asked Agosto if he is willing to take whatever consequences the Army is prepared to mete out, he replied, “Yes. I’m fully prepared for this. I have concluded that the wars [in Iraq and Afghanistan] are not going to be ended by politicians or people at the top. They are not responsive to the people, they are responsive to corporate America.”

 Agosto added, “The only way to make them responsive to the needs of the people is if soldiers won’t fight their wars, and if soldiers won’t fight their wars, the wars won’t happen. I hope I’m setting an example for other soldiers.”

 IPS spoke with Adam Szyper-Seibert, an office manager and counselor with Courage to Resist. “Currently we are actively supporting over 50 military resisters like Victor Agosto,” Szyper-Seibert told IPS, “They are all over the world, including André Shepherd in Germany, and several people in Canada. We are getting five to six calls a week just about the IRR [Individual Ready Reserve] recall alone.”

 The IRR is composed of former military personnel who still have time remaining on their enlistment agreements but have returned to civilian life. They are eligible to be called up in “states of emergency.” The Army is currently undertaking the largest IRR recall since 2004, despite the recent inauguration of a so-called anti-war president.

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Sowing Doubt

The 3rd picture in the post Murder, Rape & Pillage, supposedly depicting a woman being sexually abused by coalition forces has an uncertain provenance. The narrative claimed by right wing site WND is that it is from an amateur porn site (however, does that preclude it being abuse and /or abuse by soldiers?). Alex Jones site claims the image aids disinformation that is employed when the government feels pressed on evidence of its war crimes. So you see the main sources of doubt are not wholly solid shall we say.

The Boston Globe took it as real then retracted after WND peddled its narrative. Anyway the source of one picture does not alter the authoritative accounts of rape recounted to reliable reporters such as Sy Hersh, Scott Horton or Larisa Alexandrovna. Quite apart from the pedantic squabbling by the Pentagon over what photos are in the ACLU case, oddly I would not take the Pentagon as a reliable source on evidence of crimes committed by…the Pentagon. It also displays again the crucial issue of protecting a domestic audience from truths that impinge on the heroic troop myth needed for continual maintenance of a warfare state.