Reaffirming our resistance

March 26, 2009

Mathis Chiroux served in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan, Japan, Europe and the Philippines and was honorably discharged in summer 2007. After receiving orders last year to return to active duty and deploy to Iraq, he went public with his intention to refuse to deploy. Here, Mathis explains that the Army's actions against him are coming to a head, with a hearing set for April.

FINALLY, IT appears, the end is near. At 9 a.m. on April 21, my hearing with the Army concerning my refusal to deploy will commence at 1 Reserve Way, in St. Louis. My new and final JAG attorney, who has assured me he's not volunteering for Iraq service as his predecessor has, updated me on a number of developments in my case.

First and foremost, the Army has made a motion "to prevent any discussion in opening statement, questioning of witnesses or in argument concerning the constitutionality of the Global War on Terrorism ('GWOT'), or other soldiers', family members' or Iraqi civilians' experiences in GWOT."

Furthermore--and it comes as little surprise to me--the military is reading my Web site and is planning to use its contents against me in the hearing, which I'm not upset about because it means they're going to engage me on the issues.

So we're going to demonstrate how shortsighted that motion is, and then afterward, we're going to have a Winter Soldier, where the veterans and our supporters will resurrect our first casualty of the war, which is truth. A truth the Army would rather not hear, when its soldiers do what is true.

Mathis Chiroux
Mathis Chiroux

They used to tell me in the Army that crap rolls downhill. Well, it's rolling uphill now, and we are only the beginning, because it's the only true thing we can do. In our names, they are plotting destruction on all of us. We bleed together, with the people of the world, victims of lies, violence, hate and greed.

Crap's rolling uphill now, and driving it is resistance--the core of being, what makes us human. When we take responsibility for ourselves, we light the way for others. And others will come, as I was an "other" not but a year ago. And others have come who will be at this hearing.

Other members of the Army's Individual Ready Reserve, who have resisted as I have and who have pledged to demand similar hearings, will be present, and when their hearings come, they'll stand at 1 Reserve Way, St. Louis MO, too, and we'll do this all over again.

We acknowledge this war of terror was meant to be sustained and reaffirm that so is this resistance. The world is invited to share in our reaffirmation of military resistance to racist wars for profit on April 21 at the above-mentioned address at 9 a.m. More details soon on the location of the Winter Soldier to follow.

What you can do

Plan to be in St. Louis to support war resister Mathis Chiroux. The hearing is scheduled for April 21 at 9 a.m., at 1 Reserve Way. More details to come.

To read Mathis' statement to the media announcing his intention not to deploy, visit his profile on the Iraq Veterans Against the War Web site.

The Citizen Soldier Web site is an excellent resource for active-duty soldiers looking for news and advice about their rights. Soldiers can also contact the GI Rights Hotline Web site, or call 877-447-4487 from the U.S., 202-483-2220 from outside the U.S., or 06223-47506 from Germany.

For an excellent history of how the rebellions of GIs ended the U.S. war on Vietnam, read David Cortright's Soldiers in Revolt.

In the meantime, I'm headed to Europe at the request of members of the German parliament to speak about why they should not be supplying troops to the occupation of Afghanistan, nor supporting the NATO alliance. Following that, I'll be conducting several workshops before heading to Strasbourg, France, to demonstrate with thousands of Europeans against the NATO summit to take place April 4. Obama will be in Europe trying to sell his wars for empire, and the people, united, will be on hand to say no.

Look for coverage in the coming weeks concerning the demonstrations. Look forward to updating you all in person. See you in St. Louis!

Further Reading

From the archives