Profiles of Resisters
IVAW supports war resisters and conscientious objectors. Learn more about service men and women who are presently refusing to participate in the occupation of Iraq.
Kyle Snyder, Iraq veteran and war resister, returned from Canada to turn himself in to Army authorities on October 31, 2006 at Fort Knox. Now he is once again AWOL after officials at Ft. Knox have reneged on a previous verbal agreement with his attorney, Jim Fennerty, to discharge Kyle. Call the Fort Knox public affairs office 502-624-3351 and demand that Ft. Knox Commanding General, Major General Robert M. Williams "Discharge Kyle Snyder with No Punishment."
Sergeant Ricky Clousing
“In Iraq I operated as an interrogator and was attached to tactical infantry units during daily patrol operations. As an interrogator I spoke to Iraqis each day. This gave me an idea of what local civilians thought of coalition forces. Throughout my training very appropriate guidelines for the treatment of prisoners were set. However, I witnessed our baseless incarceration of civilians. I saw civilians physically harassed. I saw an innocent Iraqi killed before me by US troops. I saw the abuse of power that goes without accountability.
Being attached to a tactical infantry unit and being exposed to the brutalities of war, I began to doubt and reconsider my beliefs. I thought about these experiences and what they meant each day I was deployed and until I was back in garrison at Fort Bragg in April of 2005. My convictions, spiritually and politically, began to make me call into question my ability to perform day to day functions as a soldier. I finally concluded after much consideration that I could not train or be trained under a false pretense of fighting for freedom.”
After 14 months being AWOL, Sgt. Clousing turned himself in to authorities at Ft. Lewis, WA and is currently facing charges for desertion. Find out more about IVAW member Sgt. Clousing at www.couragetoresist.org.
Specialist Mark Wilkerson
“There were many experiences that I had in Iraq that made me question my mission, and also made me change the way I viewed spirituality, relationships, our government, and my life in general. It was a complete life turn-around, which allowed me to come to the conclusion that military service was no longer the correct path for me to take. This revelation led me to apply as a Conscientious Objector, or C.O., immediately upon return from Iraq in March 2004.
My C.O. claim was denied in November, so I applied for a rebuttal, and was told it wouldn’t be considered until my return from Iraq, more than a year away. So I made the difficult decision to go AWOL, for political, spiritual, and personal reasons.”
Mark was released from a five month incarceration on July 13, 2007, and is currently a college student and Colorado Springs chapter president. Read more about IVAW member Spc. Mark Wilkerson at markwilkerson.wordpress.com/.
Lieutenant Ehren Watada
“The war in Iraq violates our democratic system of checks and balances. It usurps international treaties and conventions that by virtue of the Constitution become American law. The wholesale slaughter and mistreatment of the Iraqi people with only limited accountability is not only a terrible moral injustice, but a contradiction to the Army’s own Law of Land Warfare. My participation would make me party to war crimes.”
“Normally, those in the military have allowed others to speak for them and act on their behalf. That time has come to an end. I have appealed to my commanders to see the larger issues of our actions. But justice has not been forthcoming. My oath of office is to protect and defend America’s laws and its people. By refusing unlawful orders for an illegal war, I fulfill that oath today.”
Lt. Watada is currently facing charges on seven counts, including missing movement, contempt towards officials, and conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman. If convicted, Lt. Watada faces over eight years in prison. Political charges of “contempt towards the president” have been dropped, but four years of prison are still possible for political speech critical of Iraq War. The trial date is not yet set, but is expected early 2007. Find out more about Lt. Watada and how you can support this IVAW member at www.thankyoult.org.
Specialist Suzanne Swift
The following is an exerpt taken from a statement written by Spc. Swift’s mother, Sara Rich.
“It has now been 60 traumatic days since my daughter - who signed up with the Army as an MP, and after bravely serving one tour in Iraq, chose to go AWOL rather than engage in the two more tours to Iraq that awaited her - was forcibly taken from our home in handcuffs. Like many soldiers, she was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. What we didn't know, what she couldn't tell us, is that she was also suffering Military Sexual Trauma. Late the evening of Sunday June 11, 2006, Spc Suzanne Swift was taken to the county jail, where she was strip-searched and orifice-checked… She sat in that cell for two and a half days, a veteran of Iraq combat, terrified that she may be sent back...
In the meantime, we wait. We wait for the Army to decide what to do with my daughter. Perhaps they are waiting for us to break down emotionally, mentally and financially so that we will give up. They wait for our support to dwindle so they can do something unethical to Suzanne and get rid of her. I trusted the Army once before and was severely let down. But I wholeheartedly want to believe that the Army will do the right thing.”
Spc. Swift is currently on active duty at Ft. Lewis, WA waiting for a decision on her discharge or possible court martial. Go to www.suzanneswift.org to find out how you can support Spc. Swift and also find information and resources on military sexual trauma.
Specialist Agustín Aguayo
“With or without non-combatant status I will not deploy to Iraq. I have been to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom II, and I know what to expect. I know what will be expected of me. And because of this first-hand knowledge, I simply cannot take part in this deployment. Some people might think that a fear of death is the reason for refusing to deploy. But that is incorrect. I have to be true to myself and do what is right. Even though I deployed as a non-combatant in 2004-05 I still carry guilt from my participation…
I cannot carry that burden on my conscience. When you know better you do better. Therefore, this time I will not deploy. My conscientious objection applies to all forms and aspects of war. Even if I went there to do kitchen detail or scrub toilets I would still be supporting the very missions and operations I oppose. An Officer once explained to me how in his view the Army was like a huge machine made of many parts that all work together to achieve the desired outcome. I know this is true. If the outcome is killing I cannot be a part of the ‘machine.’"
Spc. Aguayo went AWOL on Sept. 1st, after his unit tried to forcibly deploy him to Iraq. Currently, Spc. Aguayo is awaiting court martial in Wurzburg, Germany. His trial will be held March 6-7. Support this courageous war resister by visiting www.aguayodefense.org/, and agustin-aguayo.blogspot.com/.
After enlisting in the Army in January of 2003 to earn money for college and serve his country, Darrell Anderson was deployed to Iraq with the Army's 1st Armoured Division in the spring of 2004. Darrell served most of his time in Baghdad where he was wounded by a roadside bomb after serving for 7 months. Facing the possibility of a second deployment to Iraq, Darrell’s conscience kept him from returning to the military. He fled to Canada rather than face that possibility.
"I started to think ... what's it really for? I was willing to die for my country. I thought I was going over there to defend my country. But that's not what I was doing." There are no weapons of mass destruction. Innocent people are being killed every day. It's a war about money -- to keep money in rich people's pockets. There is no way I can believe in that. I still believe in my country, but I can no longer be a part of the Army or that war."
Shortly past Noon on Friday, October 6, Darrell was released from Ft. Knox after turning himself in to military custody on October 3. According to his attorney, Jim Finnerty, Darrell will receive an "other than honorable" discharge without facing court martial. He expects discharge papers to be mailed to Anderson within days.
To learn more about how to support Darrell Anderson, check out www.couragetoresist.org/x/.