Refuse to follow Trump’s orders

November 1, 2018

The number keeps rising: first 1,000, then the Pentagon officially deploying 5,200, now Trump threatening to send as many as 15,000 U.S. troops to the U.S.-Mexico border — all to confront a caravan of desperate, impoverished and nonviolent migrants from Central America fleeing violence instigated by the U.S. and journeying north toward the U.S.

Two renowned antiwar veterans — Rory Fanning, a former resister and author of Worth Fighting For: An Army Ranger’s Journey Out of the Military and Across America, and Spenser Rapone, who was kicked out of the military for posting a photo of himself at his West Point graduation ceremony with an antiwar sign under his hat — issued this statement calling on U.S. soldiers to defy the order of their commander-in-chief if they are called to the Southern border.

YOUR COMMANDER-in-chief is lying to you. You should refuse his orders to deploy to the southern U.S. border should you be called to do so. Despite what Trump and his administration are saying, the migrants moving North towards the U.S. are not a threat. These small numbers of people are escaping intense violence. In fact, much of the reason that these men and women — with families just like yours and ours — are fleeing their homes is because of the U.S. meddling in their country’s elections. Look no further than Honduras, where the Obama administration supported the overthrow of a democratically elected president who was then replaced by a repressive dictator.

The migrant caravan marches through Mexico

These extremely poor and vulnerable people are desperate for peace. Who among us would walk a thousand miles with only the clothes on our back without great cause? The odds are good that your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc., lived similar experiences to these migrants. Your family members came to the U.S. to seek a better life — some fled violence. Consider this as you are asked to confront these unarmed men, women and children from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. To do so would be the ultimate hypocrisy.

The U.S. is the richest country in the world, in part because it has exploited countries in Latin America for decades. If you treat people from these countries like criminals, as Trump hopes you will, you only contribute to the legacy of pillage and plunder beneath our Southern border. We need to confront this history together, we need to confront the reality of America’s wealth, and both share and give it back with these people. Above all else, we cannot turn them away at our door. They will die if we do.

By every moral or ethical standard, it is your duty to refuse orders to “defend” the U.S. from these migrants. History will look kindly upon you if you do. There are tens of thousands of us who will support your decision to lay your weapons down. You are better than your Commander-in-Chief. Our only advice is to resist in groups. Organize with your fellow soldiers. Do not go this alone. It is much harder to punish the many than the few.

In solidarity,

Rory Fanning
Former U.S. Army Ranger and war resister

Spenser Rapone
Former U.S. Army Ranger and infantry officer, and war resister

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