[Marxism] AWOL against the war - then and now

lshan at bcn.net lshan at bcn.net
Fri Mar 19 18:21:26 MST 2004

As a deserter - anyone who is awol for more than 30 days - Sgt Mejia is a
test case for conscientious objector status based on political rather than
religious reasons. It's a tough rap. If the Vietnam war is anything to go
by, he may find fighting Iraqi guerrillas easier than being called a coward,
a traitor and a shame to the flag.

During Vietnam there was a global underground railway for American deserters
and draft resisters. I was a "stationmaster" at the London end because I
hated the war, but, as a former GI, I also identified closely with
rank-and-file "grunts". My main qualification was that I spoke barracks
language. This was important because of the vast cultural gap between older
antiwar activists, such as myself, and awol teenagers for whom Jimi Hendrix
rather than Gandhi was the most evocative peace symbol.

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