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12.22.2009

is there anything the u.s. army won't do to its troops?

Jailed for performing a song, forced to go AWOL to get help for PTSD, separated from an infant baby... is there anything the US military won't do its troops?

I don't know if many of you get email updates from Courage To Resist. Courage is one of the principal organizations supporting military resisters in the US, and lately they've sent some really interesting information.

  • Marc Hall, an Army Specialist who was stop-lossed, was put in jail for speaking out against the policy that involuntarily re-upped him. As hip-hop artist Marc Watercus, Hall has written an angry and explicit song about stop-loss (listen here). Military personnel are not supposed to forfeit their First Amendment rights - and certainly not while off-duty.

  • Erick Jasinski was forced to go AWOL - to get treatment for his Iraq-related PTSD.
    "In late 2008 they stop-lossed me, and that pushed me over the edge," Jasinski told IPS, "They were going to send me back to Iraq the next month."

    During his pre-deployment processing "they gave me a 90-day supply of meds to get me over to Iraq, and I saw a counsellor during that period, and I told him "I don't know what I'm going to do if I go back to Iraq."

    "He asked if I was suicidal," Jasinski explained, "and I said not right now, I'm not planning on going home and blowing my brains out. He said, 'well, you're good to go then.' And he sent me on my way. I knew at that moment, when they finalised my paperwork for Iraq, that there was no way I could go back with my untreated PTSD. I needed more help."

  • Alexis Hutchinson, a 21-year-old Specialist from Oakland, California, continues to live under restriction, and still faces court martial for choosing her infant over deployment. Alexis was not refusing to deploy. She was not speaking out against the war. She was asking for more time to find someone to care for her 11-month old son Kamani. Within a few days, however, the Army had tossed Alexis in the stockade and turned Kamani over to the Chatham County (Georgia) foster care system.

    After the case garnered some media attention and a few congressional inquiries, the Army backed off - a little. But she's still in restricted custody and she still may be court martialed and forced to deploy.

    You can read more about these soldiers, and what you can do to support them here.
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