Walt and Allyson Caison drove an hour from Selma on Saturday morning to praise a dishonorably discharged veteran.
They spotted former Sgt. Ricky Clousing, 24, in front of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the Capitol lawn. There, along with a few others, they joined the former Army interrogator in laying flowers at the foot of the statue.
Clousing had been released from the brig at Camp Lejeune that morning after serving a three-month sentence for going absent without leave from Fort Bragg.
Raleigh was only a stop on his way to his mother's home in Washington state for Christmas, but Clousing had several North Carolina supporters who wanted to spend time with him before he caught a donated flight home.
From downtown, a small caravan of cars accompanied Clousing to the Quaker meeting house where about three dozen had gathered to feed Clousing lunch and hear his story.
In jeans, sneakers and a white T-shirt that sported the logo "Veterans for Peace," Clousing told the group about his surging feelings of patriotism when he enlisted in 2002.
He shared his doubts that increased as he served five months in Iraq, where he saw a teenager die in the street and a U.S. soldier shoot an farmer's livestock. The teenager was shot unnecessarily but not maliciously, Clousing said. The animals, he said, were shot just for fun.
Clousing explained that he couldn't say that all wars are wrong, which meant that declaring himself a conscientious objector was not going to be the way out of his five-year contract. Instead, Clousing had decided to just go AWOL and drive across the country to his mom's.
If you're reading the above and thinking, "Wow! The New York Times really went to work today," think again. The article is entitled "Out of the brig, ready to go homeWith doubts over Iraq, soldier went AWOL" and it's by Cheryl Johnston Sadgrove, The News-Observer. AP also covers the story:
"It feels good, but it feels surreal because I don't have to deal with the military anymore," Clousing, who was released 15 days early for good conduct, said Saturday outside of Camp Lejeune, the Marine base where he was imprisoned. "I'm getting out just before Christmas, so it's really great."
Clousing has said he witnessed an American soldier kill an innocent Iraqi man in Mosul, but that unit leaders dismissed his account by saying he was an inexperienced soldier.
"My decision was never personal to my command. I had to honor my own personal convictions," he said. "I'm excited to finally be finished with the military. I've gotten the opportunity to learn a lot about myself and the system I fell under."
Clousing was heading home to spend the holidays with his mother in Washington state, but stopped on the way in Raleigh to meet with peace activists for a wreath-laying ceremony at the city's Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
The Times? War porn from Gordo. Someone's idea of a holiday gift. (Someone's sick idea of a holiday gift.)
Teaming with High Flying Adore, Gordo's purple prose is entitled "Commander Said to Be Open to More Troops." Oh, is he said to be? Dateline's DC. Someone really needs to start paying attention to the datelines. An unnamed official tells Gordo and Sanger that, an unnamed Defense Dept. official in DC, that George W. Casey Jr. (who is in Baghdad) is 'open' to the idea.
And the Times calls it 'news!'
Praise be, the useless New York Times. First of all, unless an officer wants to take a public stand (a la Ehren Watada), they are always "open" to the orders from those who outrank them.
Gordo so useless and I'm really watching what I type to avoid from cursing. At one point in the nonesense article, he tells you that Casey said additional troops might have a purpose and blah blah blah. Yeah, it's the same thing John F. Burns reported months ago -- it's the same statements that Burns got out of him in the press conference. Did Gordo miss that?
Not damn likely. But they have to paint it as 'timely' to pass whispers off as news so Gordo plays dumb. (I think he's playing.)
Why is it 'news'? Why is it on the front page? Because the Times wants to sell you the war all over again. And the man who carried Judith Miller's purse for her is still at the paper and just the boy to sell it.
Now they can't change public opinion and probably even the Times grasps that. But they can make you think that there's no way to stop it, that it will happen, that it must happen. Which is why the Times throws their weight behind a whisper of non-news and front pages it. There's another article on Iraq, I'm not in the mood to read it. (A visitor also notes the Week in Review -- that's opinion and we don't generally grab the opinion here.) This crap gets Gordo high but then he's a fetishist. If Gordo didn't stroke his on war on, no one would.
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