Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Ricky Clousing, Darrell Anderson and Camilo Mejia

A number of e-mails this morning are about this:

Precondition Failed

That's the message those attempting to follow war resister Ricky Clousing's case by visiting his website. When we were working on the editorial for The Third Estate Sunday Review, we had that same problem -- or rather Dallas did when he was attempting to locate a link for Clousing -- which is why this note appeared:

At one point, Ricky Clousing had a website or there was one in support of him. Dallas, whom we've overworked for this edition reports that the link currently takes you to an error page. Our not providing a link for him should not be read as a lack of support for him. If anyone knows of a web site about his case, please e-mail and we'll note it next week and in the future. Courage to Resist covers all known American war resisters. The War Resisters Support Campaign provides information regarding American war resisters in Canada.

This is probably an issue of a spike in traffic. I haven't visited Clousing's page this morning but what was provided at it yesterday regarding the trial Thursday is noted at Courage to Resist:

Sgt. Ricky Clousing, who served as a U.S. Army Interrogator in Iraq in 2004 and 2005 has been charged with desertion by the Army and will face court martial on Thursday October 12 at Ft. Bragg in North Carolina. Prior to the court martial Clousing and his attorney, David Miner, will hold a press conference at 10am at the Quaker House in Fayettville, NC (223 Hillside Ave) and at Noon supporters will rally in downtown Fayettville to demonstrate their support for Sgt. Clousing.
Clousing left Fort Bragg, North Carolina where he was stationed in 2005 after returning from Iraq with the 82nd Airborne Division. He had been AWOL until August 11th, 2006, when he called
a press conference in Seattle, Washington coinciding with the annual Veterans for Peace national convention. At the press conference , Clousing went public with his stand stating, "In Iraq I operated as an interrogator and was attached to tactical infantry units during daily patrol operations. As an interrogator I spoke to Iraqis each day. This gave me an idea of what local civilians thought of coalition forces. Throughout my training very appropriate guidelines for the treatment of prisoners were set. However, I witnessed our baseless incarceration of civilians. I saw civilians physically harassed. I saw an innocent Iraqi killed before me by US troops. I saw the abuse of power that goes without accountability. Being attached to a tactical infantry unit and being exposed to the brutalities of war, I began to doubt and reconsider my beliefs." Later in the day, he turned himself in to Fort Lewis military police where he was confined for two days and then ordered to report to Ft. Bragg.
If Clousing is convicted for desertion he faces up to a year confinement and a bad conduct discharge.
Donations are urgently needed for legal fees. Please DONATE today! For breaking news and for updates about actions you can take to support Sgt. Clousing vist: http://www.sdmcc.org/rickyclousing/

Turning to other war resisters, Merlene Davis (Lexington Herald-Leader) contrasts the reactions to explore forgiveness (she notes the man yelling at Darrell Anderson from last week) in "Amish set an enviable example of forgiveness."

War resister Darrell Anderson turned himself last Tuesday at Fort Knox. Friday the military released him. Anderson self-checked out of the military in Januray 2005 and relocated to Canada. In Iraq, Anderson was wounded by a roadside bomb and has suffered from PTS since then. Jim Warren's "Deserter will not be charged, lawyer says" (Lexington Herald-Leader) noted that Anderson is at "a Tennessee treatment facility" for PTS and that the military will be dischargning Anderson with "other-than-honorable".

Anderson and Clousing are part of a movement. Zach notes a column by one of the first known war resisters of the current Iraq war, Camilo Mejia. From "A soldier's resistance" (Sacramento Bee):

In 2004, I was sentenced to 12 months in a U.S. Army jail because I refused to go back to Iraq. Even then, I knew that our military presence there was fueling a national resistance while boosting terrorism across the world. And I knew our commander in chief was not being straight with us.
Now the National Intelligence Estimate confirms that the Iraq war has become a "cause celebre" for terrorists. And Bob Woodward's latest book, "State of Denial," confirms that the president has consistently gotten a negative picture of Iraq in private only to turn around and give a positive picture in public.
When I became a prisoner of conscience for refusing to return to my Florida National Guard unit in Iraq, morale among my unit was already low. But I'm sure it's much lower now for all the troops who are there, or for those who are about to deploy, some for up to a fourth time. President Bush did not tell us, or the American public, the truth about weapons of mass destruction -- or about the strength of the insurgency. And Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld keeps extending the tours of our already-exhausted troops. Add to that the fierce resistance and it's all guaranteed to corrode morale.

We need to face up to the problems in Iraq.

Zach wondered about the "E" initial? I'm not remembering seeing that before either (but I could be remembering wrong). It may have something to do with the confusion this summer when another Camilo Mejia was in the news.

The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.