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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12 Responses to “Courage To Resist- Victor Agosto”

  1. libhomo Says:

    Recruiters never tell people about stop loss.

    • RickB Says:

      Marketing and the military, not known for their relationship to the truth.

    • Sporkmaster Says:

      But it is in the contract which you are suppose to have read. You go over the lease when you rent or when you buy a car. So if you did not read everything, who’s fault is that?

      • RickB Says:

        Stop loss is suppose to be used at times of dire crisis to defend the nation, not facilitate wars of choice and aggression, it’s rather more serious than buying a car.

    • clamor Says:

      First off, this is in no way intended to disrespect these two individuals. This isn’t an attack on their character (because I don’t personally know them), it’s more of a personal comment. I recently heard about this issue going public when a friend mentioned it to me while we were volunteering for Habitat for Humanity. I didn’t intend to comment on this issue at first, that is until I read what they have said.
      Allow me introduce myself a little, so you know where I am coming from and won’t think I’m someone talking about something I don’t know nothing about.
      I have serve under the same unit banner, and was also part of the last deployment with these two soldiers. I have been in COB Speicher, COB Sykes, COB Stryker, Camp Washington, COB Victory, BIAP, and etc. During my deployment, I have worked in 8 hour shifts to 12 hour shifts (majority of them 12 on – 12 off). I’ve had schedules where I would work 6 days a week to not having a day off for a month or two. I’ve done missions and duties ranging from guarding/escorting Third World Nations to E.C.P., Up Armoring Vehicles (form 1st CAV units to Special Forces units) to working in a COMMTEAM, providing communications to a whole Contingency Operating Base (COB). Though I am also “Stop-Loss” I am currently under going a Medical Evaluation Board due to injuries I have sustained during my deployment and services in the Army.
      Now that I have established my credentials allow me to comment. “It’s a matter of what I’m willing to live with.” “I’m not willing to participate in this occupation, knowing it is completely wrong.” “What I did there, I know I contributed to death and human suffering. It’s hard to quantify how much I caused, but I know I contributed to it.” These are the words of Spc Victor Agosto. So what you’re telling us is that you are willing to not help out a country that is being terrorized daily, you’re not willing to help contribute in an effort to stop the mass killing of innocent people in the streets and in their homes. You are okay with knowing that you and I are fortunate enough to be born, raised, and live in a Country where you can say all this and not be executed where you stand. You’re okay with turning your back on your fellow man who wants the same Freedom? You’d rather choose jail time over protecting your battles six? What if, Lord forbid, you got news that a close friend died during this deployment in a fire fight where he was out numbered? Would you be okay not knowing that maybe if you were there, everybody would be convoying back to base?
      We’re “commo,” we help provide various types of communications down range. We are the reason why soldiers get to say, ” I love you” to their love ones during their lunch time or day off. We are the reason why soldiers get to hear their 3 month old baby cry thousands of miles away. We’re the reason why a whole convey was able to reroute away from a road filled with I.E.D.’s. We’re the reason why family member’s are able to know that their son/daughter is safe for another day. This is weird to say, but we are also the reason why a mother knows the following day that her son/daughter was killed in combat during a raid, instead of worrying for a weeks about why their child hasn’t called to greet them a Happy Birthday. We are the reason why someone’s last words before they went in that missions was “I love you, I miss you, and I’m proud of you.” We are the reason why soldiers can call up their loves to tell them that they’re safe and weren’t pulling guard during the time that suicide bombing in the market happened that’s being shown in television right now. That is what we do when we serve during deployment.
      I don’t under stand why people act the way they do after they signed the “dotted line.” There are many things we didn’t know we’d be doing while in the Army, but deploying was the one thing we did know! To all the AWOL’s and Anti-war soldiers in service, not only did you joined a military establishment, but most likely you joined after September 11, 2001 (a time of war). Do you know how stupid that makes you look, when you say and act like this. I hope you guys and gals know what you stand for now, because it’s no longer selfless service and honor.
      Sgt Bishop, you said that “My father said, ‘Do only what you can live with, because every morning you have to look at your face in the mirror when you shave. Ten years from now, you’ll still be shaving the same face.’ If I had deployed to Afghanistan, I don’t think I would have been able to look into another mirror again.” Now that you can look at your face in the mirror everyday now, can you do me one favor. Can you shave your face every morning for a year and walk up to one random person a day who resides in Afghanistan or Iraq and let them know that you weren’t willing to help them out in any way? Or how about go up to a highly decorated vet and tell him that he didn’t need to do what he did during he’s time in service. Or how about something easy, write an email to I.P.S. and address it to all the families who have Medal of Honor members in their family, and let them know that if they had turned their backs, they would have lived to be at least 40. With that single email, you knocked out a flock of birds with one stone.
      And for people who don’t know, everybody who joins the military signs an eight year contract. The only thing that varies form person to person is how many years in those eight years will you be serving in active status. So technically we have an eight year service obligation. So lets say you have a three years active/five years IRR (Individual Ready Reserve) contract and you get “stop-loss,” 99% of the time the Army is just asking you to add an additional year in your active service. So now, that makes it 4 years active service/4 years IRR. That’s what happens when soldiers get “stop-loss” so don’t be fooled people, an additional year is better than the whole eight years.

      I joined because when my father was young he wanted to joined, but wasn’t able to. So I served for him and though he worries everyday he’s extremely proud of what I do.

  2. RickB Says:

    after 911 was not a time of war, it was terrorist attack, the invasion of Iraq killed over 1 million people, that’s why they will not volunteer their labour in a war crime. If you aren’t paid public affairs you should be, you project the line with naive sincerity.

  3. clamor Says:

    To “RickB”

    Then answer me this then, why didn’t he do all this whole Anti-war thing before he was “Stop-Loss?” Why only do this when he was oh so close to getting out? Why not during he’s last deployment or even yet, right after he got back? Oh and “RickB” don’t call me naive, when you don’t really know. Your not the one being thank personally by random people of Iraq. And just to let you know, not only do I serve the people of other country’s, but I also serve our local people. I volunteer my Saturdays with Habitat for Humanity, in just this past year I have donated twice for toys for tots, and in just this past year I have taken four people to our local Wal-greens and HEB for food.

    Spc Clamor
    I’d rather be naive at times, then to turn my back on someone knowing that they need help.

  4. clamor Says:

    I highly, highly enjoy your comments and rebuttal. You’re so quick on you’re feet, how do you do it? Your words just knock me off my feet, they take my breath away! Anyways………………………… I hope you’re not a writter, cause I’m not, but next to you, It seems like I have my degree in Literature. Wonder how short your reply will be now.

    • earwicga Says:

      Ah, bless ya clamor – you just reminded me of this wonderful song and I just know you will enjoy the clips of Tom

  5. RickB Says:

    Clamor, I would urge you to read War is a Racket by the most highly decorated Marine of his era
    clearly you have strived to do what you have thought is right, but Iraq has been carved up for private profit on the backs of both Iraqi and US dead. In that maelstrom individual stories of coalition personnel helping Iraqis person to person are very valid but that is not the real function or aim of the political class in prosecuting this war as the huge death toll, huge refugee crisis and cost plus contracts demonstrate. That you helped keep communications going is testament to comradeship but also how such social roles are misused by superiors and leadership elites.

    “It is solidarity with comrades, much more than loyalty to an abstract idea of nation or obedience to their superiors, that keeps men at war.”

    That only a few service people become aware of this is testament to military training and cultural reinforcement. Listen to what Courage to Resist have to say, they do not turn their back on those who need help or refuse to defend the their nation, what they refuse to do is help a ruling class perform the largest armed robbery in history. Ask yourself why habitat for humanity is needed in the richest nation on earth where billionaires pay less tax than their secretaries.

  6. clamor Says:

    Hi RickB

    Thanks for letting me say what I wanted to say. Could you do me a favor, google: 12.160 hmz courage to resist. I’ve been conversating with a man named Jeff.

    Just to let everyone who didn’t get it. I’m not saying that war is good. I just didn’t like the way these two “soldier” are handling there want to not wanting to be “stop-loss.”

    earwicga, thank you for the video, listening to it right now as I comment.

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