April 21, 2009

I wish he had found this earlier

I came across this blog tonight:
It starts out with this post on March 30:
A Melancholy Mashup

Soldiers called back (or, “relieved from your current inactive status,” as the army tries to soften the blow in the notification letter) from the IRR are a melancholy mash-up of the unmotivated, indifferent and, in some cases, in remarkably poor health. Being the closest thing the U.S. has to a conscripted army anymore, these are not the soldiers you see demonstrating shock and awe against defenseless fields of grain in recruiting commercials. During morning formations, I half expect to hear Bill Murray to chime in from the last row and march with his thumb in his mouth. Much of the group often seems to be thinking about one of only two things: getting home at the end of deployment, and getting beer at the end of the day.

The most shocking thing thing about some of these soldiers, though, is that the army has forced them here at all. No, it’s not surprising that since returning to civilian life, some soldiers have added some padding around their waists. What is surprising is to see the army recall soldiers who originally enlisted in 1977 and left the service in the 1990s. Or to see the army deploy someone with 75% hearing loss, and others who are collecting disability pay for mental and physical injuries from earlier deployments. Maybe all this shouldn’t be so surprising, though. After all, have I told you the story about the guy who was forced to report for duty even though he was being treated for lung cancer at a VA hospital?
Mar 30, 2009

The next day he posted some advice to Drill Instructers:

A Letter to Drill Instructors

Here’s a word of advice to any future drill instructors who might one day be training soldiers recalled from the IRR: if you think it might be neat to kill time by showing these folks videos of American military vehicles being blown to pieces in Iraq and Afghanistan, take a minute to rethink.

These video montages have been popular, especially among rear echelon and non-deployed personnel for a few years now, for three reasons: 1) they’re always set to the heaviest and trendiest hard rock of the time. Everybody likes to rock out to this stuff. 2) Blowing shit up is cool, right? How many people joined the Army without some degree of fascination in seeing big explosions? 3) Inevitably, the people that take greatest satisfaction in watching limp pieces of flesh and metal cartwheel out of clouds of dirt and fire are those that have never seen the mangled and torched bodies of their friends after they fall back from the sky.

If that’s the kind of thing that entertains you, then so be it. But consider who’s watching when you play it on an auditorium projector screen. Remember that a good number of your captive audience probably have nightmares, chronic back pain, lost hearing and the brain-numbing effects of multiple concussions, primarily because of these explosions.

A number of them probably tried to leave the military to avoid dealing with these things again, and they’re only here in front of you because they’ve been forced against their will to go back into the fire and risk ending up on a video you’ll show the next bunch that comes through.

Then he jumps to April 6th. It adds to my appreciation of the work of organizations like Courage to Resist and War Resisters Support Campaign and IRR Resisters like Mattis Chiroux and Benji Lewis. They're all challenging the military's unjust policies. 

He references material from our blog in his next post. That information was written by Benji.

Wish I Had Found This Earlier

My heart sank when I read in a blog yesterday that the military essentially has no legal recourse against soldiers who do not answer IRR recall orders. My fate, though still unknown to me and my loved ones, has been sealed by someone at Army Human Resources Command (HRC) in St. Louis. For others, though, I hope the information is useful. Be careful what you do with this information. I cannot verify its authenticity, and highly recommend you confirm its claims.

During the first week at the replacement mobilization center, the battalion commander tried to congratulate us for all honoring the commitments of our contracts. To be honest, that’s bullshit. I’m only here because I thought the army had me by the balls and I might face jail time or at least surrender all federal benefits as a veteran and a citizen if I didn’t report.

Today still, I look for even the smallest hole I might jump through and return to my life and my freedom. Yes, I did volunteer long ago, and deployed without complaint. Then, when it was time for me to re-enlist, I and everyone else in the IRR made a conscious decision to leave the military. I did not volunteer to be here today, and to likely be held even beyond the eight year mark at the end of my inactive time later this year.

Anyway, from the Adopt Resistance blog:

Since IRR members are not subject to the UCMJ, the military has no formal jurisdiction to take action against IRR individuals if they do not voluntarily report—and there are no corresponding civilian laws requiring IRR individuals to report.

If an IRR member does report—even if only to apply for a waiver from activation—they can again be punished under the UCMJ for being absent without leave and unauthorized absence (AWOL/UA), missing movement, conduct unbecoming, etc. if they later decide to resist.

I wish I had been able to find this kind of information before I reported back for duty. I left the military for a host of reasons, which mean a whole lot to me but mean nothing to the army now that it has me back under its control. 

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