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Refusing to serve in Bush's wars

By Eric Ruder | December 2, 2005 | Page 1

ANOTHER U.S. soldier has joined the ranks of service members refusing to deploy to George Bush's wars. On November 17, Army National Guard Specialist Katherine Jashinski held a press conference at the gate of Fort Benning in Georgia to announce that despite denial of her conscientious objector (CO) application, she would not deploy to Afghanistan.

"Any person doing any job in the Army contributes in some way to the planning, preparation or implementation of war," said Jashinski. "Now I have come to the point where I am forced to choose between my obligation to the Army and my deepest moral values. I want to make it clear that I will not compromise my beliefs for any reason. I have a moral obligation not only to myself but to the world as a whole, and this is more important than any contract...I am prepared to accept the consequences of adhering to my beliefs."

The press conference took place on the eve of the annual protest against the School of the Americas (SOA), recently renamed the Western Hemispheric Institute for Security Cooperation, a Pentagon-run training ground for Latin American military personnel. Many SOA graduates have gone on to perpetrate horrific human rights abuses in their home countries.

"The floodgates are open," Iraq war resister Camilo Mejía told Socialist Worker. "Katherine is the first woman CO to come forward, and I think a lot of other women will take courage from her.

"And she brings up the issue of Afghanistan. This is important because there is some reluctance in the peace movement to bring up Afghanistan, because the Taliban's supposed role in harboring al-Qaeda and the connection to 9/11 justifies the war on Afghanistan in some people's minds. So how ironic that she gave her press conference in front of Ft. Benning, which trains terrorists. If we're saying that harboring terrorists justifies the war in Afghanistan, we would have to say that a war on the U.S. is justified. We don't just house them, we train them."

Speakers on Jashinski's behalf at the press conference included Iraq Veterans Against the War members Aidan Delgado and Eric Garcia; Aimee Allison, a 1991 Gulf War resister; Debbie Clark of Veterans for Peace; and Father Roy Bourgeois, founder of the School of the Americas Watch.

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