[Marxism] Letters to GI Army Times defend unit's refusal of mission
ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Mon Dec 6 03:24:11 MST 2004
In Defense Of The 343rd Combat Refusal:
Letters To The Army Times
December 06, 2004 Army Times
In October, 18 soldiers with the Army Reserve's 343rd Quartermaster
Company refused a fuel convoy assignment in Iraq, citing contaminated
fuel, ill-equipped vehicles and lack of armed escorts.
[The Dec. 6 issue of Army Times carries a whole page of letters to the
editor about that event.
There are the usual demands that the soldiers be thrown in prison as
"borderline traitors," blah blah blah.
And, surprisingly, Army Times also carries letters in defense of the
343rd combat refusal.
Here they are.]
Letter To The Editor:
I'm a member of a small joint military team that has been working in
Baghdad for the last several months. We have to travel into the "Red
Zone" two or more times a week. Our policy is that we absolutely will
not perform any mission in the "Red Zone" without Cav support - armed
Baghdad averages more than 30 attacks a day. It is common knowledge
that insurgent forces are expected to increase the level of violence
through the Iraqi elections, and the terrorists want desperately to get
their hands on a U.S. service member.
It is amazing to me that anyone would order a fuel convoy to travel over
100 miles through Baghdad without an armed escort. Convoys are
rocket-propelled grenade magnets to start with - an unarmed fuel convoy
is an insurgent's dream come true. I can't think of any way to fill out
a risk assessment for that mission that doesn't scream doom.
I wonder what was so important about that mission, with all the
potential to create another Jessica Lynch situation (or worse).
Sgt. 1st Class John Giersdorf
Sierra Vista, Ariz.
Letter To The Editor
Finally some soldiers put their heads together and said we're not going
to stand for this.
I was happy to see some unity. If every soldier in Iraq stood up and
said, we're not doing this anymore, maybe this thing would end.
I am the spouse of a deployed soldier in southern Baghdad.
If these guys were not used and abused and stretched so thin, they may
actually be able to accomplish their mission.
My husband is doing patrols and guard duty for so many hours a day he is
usually lucky if he gets two or three hours of sleep each night. He is
often required to work 48 hours straight. He is allowed one day off
every 21 days. On that day off, he is required to go to re-enlistment
briefings and classes.
He is down to eating once a day. He tries to stay out of the dining
facility because it is hit so frequently with mortars. For the same
reason, he is reluctant to go to the phone center very often.
I am proud of the soldiers for standing up for themselves and the safety
of their unit. And let us not forget, those ordering and scheduling
never leave their forward operating bases.
Fort Hood, Texas
Letter To The Editor
It seems to me that when the soldiers followed orders without question
at Abu Ghraib prison, they got into horrible trouble.
I have three sons serving in the military. One of my boys is in Iraq.
He is not one of these soldiers, but if he were, I would be 175 percent
Would the men who wanted the soldiers to perform these duties under
these conditions have sent their children to deliver contaminated fuel
to their other children?
They might have done the job themselves and that is understandable.
After all, I would gladly go in my son's place.
Put ourselves in the places of these soldiers and surely we can find
fault, but put the faces of our children on these soldiers and we would
Maybe instead of charging at these soldiers with hate and contempt, we
should hope that, next time, conditions will be a little safer in an
already unsafe country.
Letter To The Editor
The soldiers who refused were definitely in the right.
Those soldiers in the convoy suicide mission had to contradict orders in
order to do the right thing. If anything, it could be irresponsible
If I were the commander, I wouldn't send soldiers on a mission more
dangerous than it needs to be. You don't play with people's lives.
Besides, dead soldiers will not get the job done.
I'm sure the mission had good intentions originally, but planning needs
to be more realistic.
I know that armoring all the vehicles will take time, but that's
something that should have been done before the war, or at least much
Reserve Spc. Bill Lugo
Ridgefield Park, N.J.
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