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U.S. soldier refuses to serve in 'illegal Iraq war'

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Matthis Chiroux is the kind of young American U.S. military recruiters love. "I was from a poor, white family from the south, and I did badly in school," the now 24-year-old said.

"I was 'filet mignon' for recruiters. They started phoning me when I was in 10th grade," or around 16 years old, he added.

Chiroux joined the army straight out of high school nearly six years ago, and worked his way up from private to sergeant.

He served in Afghanistan, Germany, Japan, and the Philippines before he was honorably discharged and placed in the reserves.

As a reservist, he was due to be deployed next month in Iraq. On Thursday, he refused to go.

"I stand before you today with the strength and clarity and resolve to declare to the military, my government and the world that this soldier will not be deploying to Iraq," Chiroux said in the sun-filled rotunda of a congressional building in Washington.

"My decision is based on my desire to no longer continue violating my core values to support an illegal and unconstitutional occupation... I refuse to participate in the Iraq occupation," he said, as a dozen veterans of the five-year-old Iraq war looked on.

Minutes earlier, Chiroux had cried openly as he listened to former comrades-in-arms testify before members of Congress about the failings of the Iraq war.

The testimonies were the first before Congress by Iraq veterans who have turned against the five-year-old war.

Former army sergeant Kristofer Goldsmith told the landmark hearing of "lawless murders, looting and the abuse of countless Iraqis."

He spoke of the psychologically fragile men and women who return from Iraq to find little help or treatment offered from official circles.

Goldsmith said he had "self-medicated" for several months to treat the wounds of the war.

Another soldier said he had to boost his medication to treat anxiety and social agoraphobia -- two of many lingering mental wounds he carries since his deployments in Iraq -- before testifying.

Some 300,000 of the 1.6 million U.S. soldiers who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression or both, an independent study showed last month.

A group of veterans in the packed hearing room gazed blankly as their comrades' testimonies shattered the official version that the U.S. effort in Iraq is succeeding.

Almost to a man, the testifiers denounced serious flaws in the chain of command in Iraq.

Luis Montalvan, a former army captain, accused high-ranking U.S. officers of numerous failures in Iraq, including turning a blind eye to massive fraud on the part of U.S. contractors.

Ex-Marine Jason Lemieux told how a senior officer had altered a report he had written because it slammed U.S. troops for using excessive force in the face of a feeble attack -- they took four rounds of enemy fire.

Goldsmith accused U.S. officials of censorship.

"Everyone who manages a blog, Facebook or Myspace out of Iraq has to register every video, picture, document of any event they do on mission," Goldsmith said after the hearing.

Officials take "hard facts and slice them into small pieces to make them presentable to the secretary of state or the president -- and all with the intent of furthering the occupation of Iraq," Goldsmith added.

Chiroux stood fast in his resolve to refuse to serve in Iraq.

"I cannot deploy to Iraq, carry a weapon and not be part of the problem," he said.

One of thousands of U.S. soldiers who have deserted since the Iraq war began in 2003, the young reservist vowed to stay in the United States to fight "whatever charges the army levels at me."

Many deserters -- defined by the army as someone who has been absent without leave for 30 days -- seek refuge in Canada.

In the hours following his announcement, Chiroux received some 300 emails of support, he said. "I've been offered places to stay in all 50 states if I want to lie low. I've told them, 'That's very nice, but I'm not trying to hide.'

"I want to stand up to the powers that be and send a message that there are still people in this country fighting for peace," Chiroux said, steadfast in his resolve to not report for duty on June 15.

© AFP

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

37 Comments
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I guess it's perfectly fine for Retired general Sanchez to speak out against the government and fault those very same civilian leaders for being inept.

It's "perfectly fine" (Sanchez being retired), but like George Tenet's book, it's a bit pathetic.

Do you follow inept leaders?

More importantly, do I vote for them in the first place??

I of course think there should be exceptions in the case where your commanding officer orders you to rape an entire village in Southeast Asia (and I don't think military criminals should be paid "compensation" and have their ringleader put on the cover of Life Magazine).

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Eulji_Mundeok

You sound as if you've never served any military.

Then that explains your reply.

Also, you're not an American. That explains the rest.

But you only touched half my post.

I guess it's perfectly fine for Retired general Sanchez to speak out against the government and fault those very same civilian leaders for being inept.

Do you follow inept leaders?

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So Sgt. Matthis Chiroux is such a bad guy for speaking out against the war.

If he is who he says he is, he should be taken out and shot for not following a direct order from his civilian superiors. The way I understand it, American soldiers are in the military to serve and protect the civilian populace of the USA, and not the other way around.

It'll be a cold day in Hell before I submit to any tin pot generalissimo- Burmese or otherwise.

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So Sgt. Matthis Chiroux is such a bad guy for speaking out against the war.

So do we also say that retired Army lieutenant general Ricardo Sanchez also un-American and should have to repay all his training? I mean Criroux just spoke for a few minutes, Sanchez wrote a whole damn book.

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He served in Afghanistan, Germany, Japan, and the Philippines

This guy went through basic, AIT and served in Afganistan, Germany, Japan and the Philippines all within in six years? After reviewing the DA requirements for military assignments what Chiroux claims is impossible to do: a minimum 18-month tour of duty is required in Afganistan, minimum two years each in Germany, Japan and six months in the Philippines . Also, a soldier is required to have to have at least a two-year stateside break between overseas duty stations (A person can sign a waiver to do back-to-back overseas assignments but not four OCONUS assignments in a row).

This "story" has so many holes in it a person could drive a semi-truck through it. Doesn't the media (oh, I forgot: this is from AFP) and Congress vett these people who are going to testify?

jambon, this isn't an editorial. It's a BS propaganda piece.

RR

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Loki520,

I don't think anyone is trying to mix the message. You claimed that a majority of his critics have done their time. I don't doubt that.

My question was whether a majority of people who have done their time also criticize him. You claim this is so. You offer no proof.

I don't have to leave my paternal home to find a former marine officer and WWII veteran who has sympathy for him. Where there is one, there is another.

The focus does not "need" to be in any particular place. He is fully aware of what he is legally obligated to do and he is prepared for the consequences. You wish to focus on the legal obligation. That's fine and that is a legitimate focus.

It's just not the only focus. Another focus is individual conscience. And it is not for you to determine the depth or strength of his convictions.

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Yet another AFP editorial. When was the last time one saw a Medal of Honor recipient grace these pages?

Chiroux is an aberration of the American fighting man and typical fodder for the Leftist Media.

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Sezwho...

Don't try and mix the message. A VAST majority of his critics have done their time. A large majority of those that have done their time are also criticizing.

TWO separate groups of people. Your not gonna find a glory hole with me by comparing two separate statements and trying to make them into one.

And this isn't about his tour in 'stan or the percentage of his life in military service. This is about an individual who enlisted in the military, and raised the B/S flag when he decided he had enough and no longer desired to participate. It is not likely that your gonna find any WWII vet feeling any sympathy to him for his FAILURE to HONOR his COMMITMENT. Draftee's may very well feel differently. But you'll have a hard time finding vets of a volunteer force that do. You'll certainly find them, but not as many as you think.

You focus on what he's done. The focus needs to remain on what he is legally obligated to do. What he has agreed to do. What he was trained to do. It does not matter what he HAS done. He's recieved ALL the benefits of the enlistment (Training, GIBill, etc.). And now he's backing out when he's asked to fulfill his part of the bargain.

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Loki520,

A large percentage is not the same as a "vast VAST majority". Additionally, a large percentage of those who have served in the all-volunteer military is not the same thing as a large percentage of those who have ever served.

I just have trouble believing, for example, that the WWII crowd, for example, is going to come down very hard on a guy who has already done a tour in Afghanistan and who has spent 25% of his short life in some form of continuous military service. I have a tough time believing that a majority of Vietnam draftees are going to take him severely to task. Enough is enough.

I agree with you that him calling the war illegal does not make it so. However, it is enough that he believes it and that he is willing to bear the consequences of his belief.

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Sezwho,

Yes, a large percentage of those that have done their time are also critical of him. Most of us, at least close to 100% that I've talked to, think he's a buttwipe. His tenure in the reserves is absolutely NO different that his time on active duty. None at all.

Whether he is in the reserves to finish out his initial active duty enlistment, or he actually completed his initial enlistment and then joined the reserves, matters not one iota.

His whining started upon his notification of deployment to Iraq. So, he's obviously not a C.O. I believe that he actually believes what he says, and that is his reasoning. However, me believing that does not change one simple fact. Him and a truckload of others like him, at no time in the past, ever signed a document or had an agreement that stated they would only participate in campaigns that THEY deemed necessary, legal, or otherwise. The contracts, for all branches, active and reserve simply state that they WILL follow the legal orders of their superiors at all times. His belief that it is an illegal war is NOT the defining factor of legality. He needs a MUCH larger mandate of legality, one which would be carried out on capitol hill. While they may eventually declare the entire effort "wasted" or "lost", they have yet to call it an illegal war.

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adaydream, nowhere in the article does it say he didn't get in without some sort of waiver. He may very well had a juvenile record for something stupid such as shoplifting at 14 or whatever and did require a waiver to get in, or he may very well have been a pristine recruit who knows. My point is if he did get in a waiver no poster from the left would cry the normal cry they do if this article was about a soldier that committed a bad act while in the service. They would ignore that and never claim this guy shouldn't have been allowed in the service in the first place.

Second point, your both right and wrong, he did do his active duty obligation on his contract with honor, however his contract is the standard one for all first term enlistees which means he is signed up for 8 years total. Four years active and four years inactive reserves. Inactive reserves can be called back on active duty if required, it was done that way so that if there was ever a national emergency that required mobilization of all the armed forces there will always be a ready pool available to call upon to support the active duty contingent. He is a civilian now but he is still in his eight year window of his contract so I will agree to a certian extent he's getting screwed in one way since he did serve his time and did get out with honor, however that was part of the gig when he signed up and he knew that as all of us did when he originally enlisted, that we could be called back at anytime during that 8 year window. I really don't have much sympathy for him as this to me is more of a young man that is now angry that he has go back then a conversion to the anti-war cause.

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Nope he didn't. Read the article.

Hell, there's some posters here that would have him shot.

He served his time and got out, then went into the reserves.

He should have to pay back his training, what for? He served his enlistment honorably and got his honorable discharge.

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Betcha he got in with a felony waiver that I've been hearing so much about from other posters on this site.

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Yes, but do a vast VAST majority of those who have volunteered and done their time also criticize him?

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RJD, a vast VAST majority of his critics have also volunteered and done their time.

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He volunteered and did his time, which is more than could be said for others who want to criticize him. Who cares.

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The military should have a poll those that want to get out, get out but pay for the schooling you recieved if you aren't at completion of active duty contract

those that stay, need to suck it up. Kind of like a cop who wouldn't really want to arrest someone but has to anyway..

this would help the military greatly.

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Super... actually, I don't drink. But, even when I did, I could dismantle a story like this completly drunk. Such is the poor reporting of this source. It helps that the subject matter is of such questionable items, has absolutely ZERO facts behind it, and there are people as previously described by PT Barnum, such as you, to blindly follow along and believe everything they tell you.

So, in answer to your question - no. And shouldn't you be out looking for your stolen umbrella instead of playing in the forums with the adults? Your first comment, not even an educated one, was to tell me to STFU? Here's an idea... Instead of posting snide remarks that fully clairify the moron you are, why not try an post an opinion based in facts, or even just an opinion based in bias? Or, if your gonna respond to a post (one which obviously shows at least some familiarity with the topic, as mine did), why not use it as mental exercise and see if you can put out something a bit more productive than "Loki when they let you guys drink again do you plan to STFU?".

Your obvious and displayed ignorance should not allow you to ASSUME you have the right/need or even the desire, to tell someone to STFU. Besides... trolls are the last people that should tell someone to STFU.

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“I stand before you today with the strength and clarity and resolve to declare to the military, my government and the world that this soldier will not be deploying to Iraq,” Chiroux said in the sun-filled rotunda of a congressional building in Washington.

Looks like the military turned this self-described poor white boy into a very confident young man.

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Did a quick check at one of the more popular milblogs and in the comments section I find this about the guy:

*Suffice to say that a thorough scan of his media appearances throughout his Army career as a Public Affairs Specialist places him in Japan or Germany or other European postings from at least 2004 through his discharge in 2007. There are hints that he was in Japan in 2003, making his "service" in Afghanistan and the Philippines either fabulist, or of a very brief duration.

Do a google on his name, with ranks PVT, PFC, SPC and SGT, and you'll see what I mean. He joined sometime after June 2002, so unless he got in immediately, and did OEF in 2003, he's a liar. (No surprise if that's the case.)

PAO reporter and photographer, all good with Army and benefits for 4-5 years, until he's asked to do what looks like his first combat tour within his 8 year obligation. Then, suddenly he has to "take a stand."

I cry Beauchamp on him.*

http://www.mudvillegazette.com/milblogs/

May 16, 2008 "Lede of the Day"

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This is big news?

The armed forces have again met and even exceeded their recruiting goals.

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far left leaning liberal

Loki520, here...me. That's me. Damn proud of it.

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Romeo

"Heh .... A guy who admits that he is too dumb to make informed decisions is now suddenly an expert in international law? (rolleyes)"

You'll find that one tour in Iraq or 'stan turns dissenters into experts in History, Law (International, maritime, military, etc.), military tactics at each level from squad all the way up. Matter of fact, each dissenter now has the expertise to advise Petreaus on how to properly execute this war.

I mean, once you've been involved in platoon operations.... surely your qualified to know and execute the "big picture" that is at least 10 steps above you. Right?

/sarcasm

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And when I say "Great Article", I mean "Great article if your a far left leaning liberal and like to have your bias spoon-fed to you like Woolsey".

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Easy answer. Back to Back tours in Afghanistan.

"A group of veterans in the packed hearing room gazed blankly as their comrades’ testimonies shattered the official version that the U.S. effort in Iraq is succeeding."

Great article. Two things to point out: The "group of veterans" was actually three groups. VVAW and IVAW who levied and obtained this testimony WINTER SOLDIER. And the MILBLOGS, which outnumbered the VVAW and IVAW. Also, the room was NOT packed. Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey downplayed attendance at the hearings, saying the timing is not good for big attendance. There may have been 80 people TOTAL. Not packed by any stretch of the means.

"Almost to a man, the testifiers denounced serious flaws in the chain of command in Iraq."

TO A MAN, their testimony has been previously, and credibly, rebutted by the military, and more importantly, by other military members who were at the events they discuss, either as part of a squad, patrol, etc... And remember.... they were NOT under oath. NOT UNDER OATH while testifying on Capitol Hill about military atrocities they've seen or been part of. NOT UNDER OATH while they accuse their fellow teammates of murder, destruction of property, fraud, etc.. NOT UNDER OATH.

Rebutting them is extremely easy to do as EACH one of them are talking about (remember NO OATH) matters that can't be proven. No matter what they are saying, they qualify it with a statements along the lines of "but, you'll find no proof as the military/administration, has edited/destroyed/revised/watergated the documents. It's my word against the entire US military, government, IP, IA, my teammates in my unit and everyone else. You should believe me."

Then there was the idiot that said the military is racist because we refer to the locals as Hadji. Too bad it's an HONORIFIC.

For more of the complete story, and to follow links to some of the other MILBLOGS out there, go to http://www.blackfive.net/main/2008/05/vets-against-th.html#comments

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U.S. soldier refuses to serve in 'illegal Iraq war'

Heh .... A guy who admits that he is too dumb to make informed decisions is now suddenly an expert in international law? (rolleyes)

RR

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Sarge: Making him pay the U.S. government back the money spent on his training is a viable option. He should then have his citizenship revoked and made to relocate to any Islamic-controlled Middle Eastern country of his choice. If he hates our country so much, let him move to a nation that is more to his liking.

RR

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Former army sergeant Kristofer Goldsmith told the landmark hearing of “lawless murders, looting and the abuse of countless Iraqis.”

Bad mouthing his former brothers and sisters while they are still in a combat zone. Where have we heard this before? Heh ... guess Goldsmith will be the dem's candidate for U.S. President in about 30 years.

RR

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Skipthesong - First I'm talking about those war supporters who scream and holler george bush accolades for starting this damn war. For calling anybody who talks down this administration's decisions, unpatriotic, but they couldn't find the recruiter's office. Those who have no idea what they are talking about when, it comes to hardships and having to be away from your family for months on end.

You don't seem to fit the bill.

When you have a contract there are limited ways to get out of it. Or to change orders once received. Not that there aren't ways.

These men will be vilified by those who never served. Someone will save the tapes and if these testifiers ever run for office or anything that could be adversely influenced by them. You bet they will be pulled out and used adversely.

It takes guts to speak out.

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RR - I disagree. The Army's wasted enough time and money on this guy. What do you think of my suggestion?

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this soldier will not be deploying to Iraq

Then deploy this deserter to Fort Leavenworth where he can make little rocks out of big rocks.

RR

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This guy signed up for the Army knowing full well he could be sent to Iraq. The Army wasted thousands of dollars on him. He should be fined for that amount and kicked out with a dishonorable discharge.

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Gotta love the U.S. Congress for allowing a deserter to testify. Nothing like rewarding bad behavivor. The guy should have been taken away in cuffs if indeed he refused to deploy as the article indicates.

So, this guy got to the rank of Sgt. and now he is against what he was doing? Sorry, Sarge, I can understand if you were drafted, but you enlisted.

As to legalitiy of the war, did the oath change or something? I don't remember swearing to uphold and defend the Constitution....except if it's an illegal war.

RR

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skipthesong,

I partially agree with you but I think my reasons may be different. It seems to me that 6 years of a 24-year-old's life should be enough. Unfortunately, I think the contract says differently.

As I understand it, the volunteer part of the military applies up to the time that you consent to be under the custody and control of the military. After that, it owns your derriere. You must obey every lawful command and this seems to be this soldier's plea--that the war is unlawful.

We as a nation pay a heavy price for a volunteer military--not the least of this price is the enormous military budget for the safekeeping of scarce human resources, for ensuring that we can wage war with a minimum of casualties to ourselves. However, another price in this day and age is that a unitary executive has a strong hand in making the decision as to how and when to go to war and this decision is unchecked by the mothers and fathers of young men and women who would otherwise be drafted to fight.

In my opinion, volunteering for special forces or for long enlistments is OK, but this should never comprise the bulk of our ground forces. If we are to fight and to occupy, it must be the people's fight and not that of a military cadre at the disposition of the executive.

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so by his own admission he was "poor white trash", destined for welfare, drugs or alcohol addiction... instead the military thought they could make something of him, and they did. trained him, encouraged him, challenged him... he even made sergeant in six years... got his honorable discharge, and JOINED the reserves... you don't get placed in the reserves.

Takes advantage of the benefits of the reserves, and then doesn't want to do his part...

he is not a victim... his actions are criminal under military justice (which he is subject to as a reservist), regardless of the" touchy-feely" ideals he has suddenly developed.

so let him go, and serve his time for defrauding the US government. They really don't want to have him overseeing a squad in time of war.

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Now all you Iraqi War supporters might want to go enlist" adaydream, I don't know what you consider a war supporter, you and others have accused me of such, but bear in mind I did my time and rolled my dice. I am not an Iraq war supporter, but I do support some sort of action against Islamic terrorism and any other form of action against the people of the US. Yes, I would do my best to help you in a time of need. Additionally, I have given quite a bit of cash for organizations helping vets and even given quite a bit for NPO's helping Iraqis.

Anyway, I give this guy credit. I have always felt if the man doesn't want to be in they should let them out. It is after all a volunteer military and not wanting to be there can make matters worse.

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Now all you Iraqi War supporters might want to go enlist and take the place of these who say they will never go back to Iraq. I mean they have actually been there. They have actually seen the lies in Iraq. They have carried out the blood letting that they were sent to do and have the balls to stand up and speak out.

I guess these soldiers and Marines will be crucified in years to come, especially if they run for office. Those who didn't have the guts to even enlist will be so brave to talk down about these brave men.

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