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American asylum seekers?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
U.S. Soldier Seeks Political Asylum in Germany
Quote:
The reasons he gives for his petition are unambiguous. Shepherd "refuses, for reasons of conscience, to continue his military service, because he does not wish to take part in a war by the United States against Iraq that is in violation of international law and the prohibition of violence stated under Article 2, Number 4 of the Charter of the United Nations and, furthermore, does not wish to be involved in war crimes in connection with the deployment of his unit in Iraq." Shepherd says: "If I carried out my orders, it would make me a criminal. But I swore my oath on the American Constitution, which prohibits wars of aggression of any nature, such as the one in Iraq."
...
Dozens of American Deserters in Germany
Shepherd's chances of gaining a favorable judgment are not bad. In June 2005, the Federal Administrative Court in the eastern city of Leipzig invalidated the demotion of Florian Pfaff, an officer in the German military, who had refused to take part in the development of a computer program that could be used to support combat operations in Iraq. In their ruling, the judges wrote: "Serious legal reservations have existed and continue to exist, with respect to the prohibition of violence in the UN Charter and other applicable international law, against the war against Iraq, begun by the United States and the United Kingdom on March 20, 2003."


For this reason, the court continued, no professional soldier in the service of the Federal Republic of Germany could be required "to support actions by NATO partners that are in violation of the United Nations Charter and valid international law." In addition, under a European Union directive enacted in 2006, which applies in Germany, a person who refuses to participate in a war that violates international law must be recognized as a refugee.
André Shepherd seeks German asylum
AWOL American soldier soldier applies for German asylum

Canada is also being forced to deal with this question:
AWOL in Canada
Quote:
With the Iraq war in its fifth year, an increasing number of American soldiers have been going AWOL and fleeing to Canada, particularly over the last six months. One lawyer who works on their behalf puts the number of American war resisters currently living in Canada at 250 or more. Advocates for them here talk of a kind of "underground railroad" that has developed south of the border to help war resisters make their way north.
Canada court: AWOL U.S. soldiers not refugees

Has the role of "conscientious objectors" changed? During the Vietnam War era, the "draft", i.e., compulsory military service, was still in effect in the U.S.. The U.S. has "professional", i.e., volunteer, Armed Forces now, but I wonder how many people who signed up thinking they'd be fighting al Queda and the Taliban in Afghanistan found themselves in Iraq instead, and thus found themselves to be conscientious objectors?
post #2 of 18
Honestly, I don't have much empathy for people who sign up and then change their minds. They ought to just suck it up and do what they promised to do.
post #3 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by coaster View Post
Honestly, I don't have much empathy for people who sign up and then change their minds. They ought to just suck it up and do what they promised to do.
I agree. Unless the oath has changed since I took it, it says; "defend against all enemies, foreign and domestic".
post #4 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by coaster View Post
Honestly, I don't have much empathy for people who sign up and then change their minds. They ought to just suck it up and do what they promised to do.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skippymjp View Post
I agree. Unless the oath has changed since I took it, it says; "defend against all enemies, foreign and domestic".


I know quite a few who signed up before the whole conflict in Iraq started, and they have gone over there and done their jobs, most of them multiple times. They are serving their country, they aren't deciding the policy of the country. We can't all be the Commander in Chief, and they didn't take the oath to serve to be their own boss.
post #5 of 18
Tricia, to answer your question about CO's during the draft / Nam era, they had to make that choice beforehand. They had to apply for CO status with their draft board. I don't recall any that were able to revert to that status post-induction. After that point in time, refusing to serve would be an offense punishable by the military justice system. I believe that today, boots have the opportunity along the way to opt out (ie "quit") before their duty assignments. Not sure if that's all the branches, though. Mike's probably better-informed on that.
post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by coaster View Post
Tricia, to answer your question about CO's during the draft / Nam era, they had to make that choice beforehand. They had to apply for CO status with their draft board. I don't recall any that were able to revert to that status post-induction. After that point in time, refusing to serve would be an offense punishable by the military justice system. I believe that today, boots have the opportunity along the way to opt out (ie "quit") before their duty assignments. Not sure if that's all the branches, though. Mike's probably better-informed on that.

Actually, I have to admit that, no, I'm not. It's just not something I ever bothered to check into. I never met any conscientious objectors, or know of anyone that ever tried to obtain that status.
post #7 of 18
They signed up to defend the *US* against foreign threats. Since it has been established that Iraq never posed a threat to the US and that all they are being asked to potentially give up their lives for is to free of the *Iraqi people* from a dangerous dictator it isn't surprising a few are balking.

But, when they signed up they also pledged to follow their Command In Chief. They don't get to choose which orders they follow and which they don't. They should finish their tour and not re-up.

I'm sure it is a very small number who have chosen to run out on their buddies rather than honor their commitment.

BTW - One of the consequences of launching an unjust war is that it is going to be hard as h**l to get people to volunteer for military service in the future. The Army is already unable to meet it's recruitment goals.
post #8 of 18
This is the oath taken when enlisting the the armed forces:

Quote:
I, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.
It's interesting that it doesn't mention just or unjust war; in fact, in doesn't even mention war. As a matter of even further fact, it doesn't even say that I'll defend the United States, it says I'll defend the Constitution of the U.S. It says that I'll obey orders, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. And the UCMJ doesn't make provision for an individual service person to make that decision, either.
post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by mschauer View Post
They signed up to defend the *US* against foreign threats. Since it has been established that Iraq never posed a threat to the US and that all they are being asked to potentially give up their lives for is to free of the *Iraqi people* from a dangerous dictator it isn't surprising a few are balking.

But, when they signed up they also pledged to follow their Command In Chief. They don't get to choose which orders they follow and which they don't. They should finish their tour and not re-up.

I'm sure it is a very small number who have chosen to run out on their buddies rather than honor their commitment.

BTW - One of the consequences of launching an unjust war is that it is going to be hard as h**l to get people to volunteer for military service in the future. The Army is already unable to meet it's recruitment goals.
Wow, lots of misconceptions in one post! I'll hit just the two big ones.

The oath says nothing about "threats." It says "enemies." Very different thing.

And recruiting is actually doing quite well, thank you.
post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrblanche View Post
And recruiting is actually doing quite well, thank you.
Perhaps because the standards regarding criminal records and education have been lowered?
Army and Marine Corps Grant More Felony Waivers
Quote:
The 2006 and 2007 Pentagon data released Monday show for the first time the number of dispensations issued for specific felonies. The number of Army waivers for aggravated assaults with a dangerous weapon rose to 43 from 33. Waivers for burglaries increased to 106 from 36. Waivers for possession of narcotics, excluding marijuana, rose to 130 from 71 and for larceny to 56 from 26.
In the Marine Corps, waivers for burglary convictions rose to 142 from 90, while those for aggravated assault increased to 44 from 35.
The Army also listed a handful of felony waivers granted for kidnapping, making terroristic threats, rape or sexual abuse, and indecent acts or liberties with a child.

Military analysts, though, say these are exactly the kinds of recruits who would never have been allowed into the Army before the war in Iraq. To reach its recruiting targets, the Army has had to soften many of its requirements. It now allows in more recruits who did not graduate from high school and who received lower test scores in their service entry exams. Recruits are older and less physically fit. And there are more people in the service with medical conditions that would have otherwise disqualified their enlistment.
post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrblanche View Post
Wow, lots of misconceptions in one post! I'll hit just the two big ones.

The oath says nothing about "threats." It says "enemies." Very different thing.
Actually I didn't say anything about "oaths". My point was that they sign up with the belief that they are putting their lives on the line to protect American interests. In Iraq all they have been dying for is the protection of Iraqi interests.

Quote:
And recruiting is actually doing quite well, thank you.
You're right. A recent development,that I missed, because of their inability to meet targets was to lower the standards and increase bonuses to meet targets:

http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/arc...uiting_target/

Quote:
The U.S. Army recruited more than 2,600 soldiers under new lower aptitude standards this year, helping the service beat its goal of 80,000 recruits in the throes of an unpopular war and mounting casualties.

The recruiting mark comes a year after the Army missed its recruitment target by the widest margin since 1979, which had triggered a boost in the number of recruiters, increased bonuses, and changes in standards. The Army recruited 80,635 soldiers, roughly 7,000 more than last year. Of those, about 70,000 were first-time recruits who had never served before.
Edit: That article is older than I thought it was but my point stands. They are having to resort to extraordinary efforts to meet recruitment goals.
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by mschauer View Post
.....they sign up with the belief that they are putting their lives on the line to protect American interests. In Iraq all they have been dying for is the protection of Iraqi interests.
There are all kinds of reasons why this is debatable, starting with what is defined as "American interests." If our recruits are signing up believing that they're defending American interests, then they're dying for Exxon, Boeing, sugar beet farmers, Bank of America, the NFL, the US Congress, and Hollywood, just to name some American "interests" that pop to mind, and also Iraq, because American interests are pretty tied up there. And if that's what they think is worth dying for, then they have been sadly mislead.
post #13 of 18
Actually, the recruiting numbers are at or above 100%:

http://usmilitary.about.com/od/2008r...s/a/august.htm

That's as of August 2008, so it's pretty recent. At the end it shows the goals and actual number of recruits, so it's not only about one month. And no one can say that anyone signing up for the military any time in the last 6 years didn't know that there was a good chance they would be going to see active combat in Iraq. Considering the contracts are for 2-6 years, depending on the Service, there is no reason anyone should be a Conscientious Objector at this point in time who are in Active Duty.

One thing that hasn't been brought up, though, is that if you do only serve one term you have to be Inactive Reserve, where you have to report to Muster to ensure that you are still fit enough to be in Active Reserves in case you are called up. Well, at least that's how it was from 1991 - 1996. One of Earl's Air Force buddies just got done having to go to yearly muster in 2003. I do not know if they have called any of the Inactive Reserves up to Active, though.

Quote:
Paragraph 10a of the enlistment contract states:



a. FOR ALL ENLISTEES: If this is my initial enlistment, I must serve a total of eight (8) years. Any part of that service not served on active duty must be served in a Reserve Component unless I am sooner discharged.

This means two things: Let's say you enlist in the Navy for four years. You serve your four years and get out. You're really not "out." You're transfered to the INACTIVE Reserves (called the "IRR" or "Individual Ready Reserve") for the next four years, and the Navy can call you back to active duty at anytime, or even involuntarily assign you to an active (drilling) Reserve unit during that period, if they need you due to personnel shortages, war, or conflicts (such as Iraq). This total 8 year service commitment applies whether you enlist on active duty, or join the Reserves or National Guard.
post #14 of 18
They get no empathy or sympathy from me. Zero, nada, zilch.
post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by coaster View Post
Tricia, to answer your question about CO's during the draft / Nam era, they had to make that choice beforehand. They had to apply for CO status with their draft board. I don't recall any that were able to revert to that status post-induction. After that point in time, refusing to serve would be an offense punishable by the military justice system. I believe that today, boots have the opportunity along the way to opt out (ie "quit") before their duty assignments. Not sure if that's all the branches, though. Mike's probably better-informed on that.
Believe it or not my ex-husband did that exact thing.
He enlisted in summer of 1969, went through Basic training and AIT and then got stationed at Fort Leavenworth. They wanted to make him a guard at the Army prison there but he couldn't hack it as a prison guard, he applied for CO status and got it and they had him working in the prison welding shop teaching the prisoners how to weld.

At least that is how I remember it, but that was a long time ago.
post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcat View Post
U.S. Soldier Seeks Political Asylum in Germany


André Shepherd seeks German asylum
AWOL American soldier soldier applies for German asylum

Canada is also being forced to deal with this question:
AWOL in Canada

Canada court: AWOL U.S. soldiers not refugees


Has the role of "conscientious objectors" changed? During the Vietnam War era, the "draft", i.e., compulsory military service, was still in effect in the U.S.. The U.S. has "professional", i.e., volunteer, Armed Forces now, but I wonder how many people who signed up thinking they'd be fighting al Queda and the Taliban in Afghanistan found themselves in Iraq instead, and thus found themselves to be conscientious objectors?
Well, seeing as how there is plenty of Al Queda in Iraq there shouldn't be any problems.

(At least there WAS plenty of Al Queda in Iraq, I think we have defeated many of them)

I agree with Bryan.
post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcat View Post
Perhaps because the standards regarding criminal records and education have been lowered?
Army and Marine Corps Grant More Felony Waivers
LOL, I doubt very much that those very small numbers have an actual bearing on recruiting goals. You are quoting double digits or am a missing something?
post #18 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ckblv View Post
LOL, I doubt very much that those very small numbers have an actual bearing on recruiting goals. You are quoting double digits or am a missing something?
The Pentagon hasn't been very forthcoming about releasing figures, as the article pointed out, which in itself should raise a red flag.

The reaction of the U.S. Armed Forces to Shinseki's appointment as V.A. Secretary says it all.
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