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Soldier Who Refused to Return to Iraq Turns Self in as Protest; Activists Shout Encouragement

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posted on Mar, 15 2004 @ 01:54 PM
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ap.tbo.com...

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. (AP) - A Florida soldier who refused to return to duty in Iraq turned himself in to military authorities on Monday, saying he would seek conscientious objector status.
Accompanied by his lawyer, Staff Sgt. Camilo Mejia, 28, surrendered at the base's gate to two military police officers, who drove him away.

A crowd of peace activists cheered Mejia and shouted encouragement: "We love you!" "Go with God!"

Mejia was in Iraq from March until October last year, when he returned home on leave. He did not return to duty.

"I am saying no to war; I have chosen peace," Mejia said earlier at a news conference at Sherborn arranged by anti-war activists. "I went to Iraq and was an instrument of violence and now I have decided to become an instrument of peace."

Mejia's lawyer, Louis Font, said he believes Mejia is the first soldier to turn himself in after refusing to return to Iraq.

"I have not committed a crime and I should not run," Mejia said.


So what you think of this? Should he be honorably discharged, given an administrative position? How should the military handle this guy? Btw, he is not a citizen, just a Permanent Resident Alien...and I wonder how many soldiers are actually going AWOL? this is the first one I have heard of in the Iraq conflict.




posted on Mar, 15 2004 @ 01:59 PM
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He should be punished. Military members are subject to the UCMJ which he violated. He knew the risks when he did so and should now pay the price.



posted on Mar, 15 2004 @ 02:02 PM
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I agree, if you sign up for the military do you really think you won't have to fight? Was he just in it for the benefits? Doesn't matter, you sign up and you stay in until time to leave.

Finding the peace god after war is not a good enough excuse to leave the service.



posted on Mar, 15 2004 @ 02:13 PM
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I do not think there is any cause to punish him.

As a former Marine Infantryman, I too have taken up peace aside from the defence of the U.S.

An obejector can not be punished from my knowledge of the UCMJ so long as he can serve in a capacity outside the role of combat.

I personally wish him well and believe him a man of courage because he will be considered by some a coward.

Takes courage to stand up for what you believe. The military should only want men who believe in what they are fighting for, otherwise, they will get people killed.



posted on Mar, 15 2004 @ 02:14 PM
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He refused a direct order. An order to move from the US to Iraq. He is in violation of Article 92 of the UCMJ. Punishable by Article 15 of the UCMJ. But he is a reservist, and they can't legally confer the full punishments that Article 15 allows. I don't know. It seems to me that all his superiors could do is dock his pay.

Was he AWOL? Apparently not, as he has refused to run because he feels he has committed no crime.

There are conscientious objectors all over the US military, some of them confirm that status before they enlist. They still do their jobs, and probably very well. I don't know why he's seeking administrative discharge, unless it's just because he doesn't want to be in anymore. He could very easily transfer to a non-MOS specific duty, such as administration or maintenance.

He won't see jail time, he probably just won't get paid for a while. And he probably won't get anything less than an honorable discharge, as the order he has refused was simply a movement.

DeltaChaos

[Edited on 15-3-2004 by DeltaChaos]



posted on Mar, 15 2004 @ 04:50 PM
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Originally posted by DeltaChaos
He refused a direct order. An order to move from the US to Iraq. He is in violation of Article 92 of the UCMJ. Punishable by Article 15 of the UCMJ. But he is a reservist, and they can't legally confer the full punishments that Article 15 allows. I don't know. It seems to me that all his superiors could do is dock his pay.

Not so, he was activated. That means he is subject to the same rules and regulations as any active duty soldier?

Was he AWOL? Apparently not, as he has refused to run because he feels he has committed no crime.

He was Away without leave, sounds like AWOL to me.

There are conscientious objectors all over the US military, some of them confirm that status before they enlist. They still do their jobs, and probably very well. I don't know why he's seeking administrative discharge, unless it's just because he doesn't want to be in anymore. He could very easily transfer to a non-MOS specific duty, such as administration or maintenance.

But instead he chose to run. There were many other courses of action for him to take. If he felt that his immediate chain of command was not doing enough then he is given the right to go outside of his chain and request a meeting with his higher chain of command.

He won't see jail time, he probably just won't get paid for a while. And he probably won't get anything less than an honorable discharge, as the order he has refused was simply a movement.

He, in no way, deserves an honorable discharge. I am not sure if he will ever see jail time, but should get a BCD and RIR.



posted on Mar, 15 2004 @ 04:55 PM
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The draft is one thing, but if you volunteer, and then leave, you're in the wrong.



posted on Mar, 16 2004 @ 09:36 AM
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He was not in fact AWOL. You should read the definition before saying he was.

He could very well seek an administrative discharge, but it would not be an honorable one.

Unknown to many in the civilian world, there are 5 types of discharges.

Honorable
General
General Under less than Honorable Conditions
Bad Conduct
Dishonorable

The latter three are punative although only a dishonorable carries weight in the civilian world.



posted on Mar, 16 2004 @ 09:59 AM
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OK, I re-read the article, and it seems that Mejia was in fact AWOL. If you take leave, but fail to return to your place of duty when that leave period ends, within 24 hours you are considered legally AWOL.

These quotes confirm AWOL status:


from article
A Florida soldier who refused to return to duty in Iraq turned himself in to military authorities on Monday,

Mejia was in Iraq from March until October last year, when he returned home on leave. He did not return to duty.

Mejia is the first soldier to turn himself in after refusing to return to Iraq


He is also seeking administrative discharge due to his conscientious objector status. This change in status could not and will not release him from his contractual obligation to the Army. However, if a commander doesnt want him, that commander may recommend discharge under less than honorable conditions.

I think the guy just wants out. I dont think I would want to go back to Iraq either, but Id do it. Hell, I found out that my last unit (1Bde. 25ID) is going to Afghanistan in April, and I got crazy and tried to find all kinds of loopholes or waivers that would get me back in for that.

This guy is probably has just lost any intestinal fortitude he once had. Hell get his discharge, continue to study in Miami, get fat on freedom, and die.

No loss.
DeltaChaos

(edit)
OK, CNN just reported that he "went underground for a couple of months" before turning himself in. This is AWOL.


[Edited on 16-3-2004 by DeltaChaos]



posted on Mar, 16 2004 @ 10:12 AM
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I'm glad to see that we live in a more enlightened age than what happened 30 years ago. Throwing people in jail because they wouldn't serve when drafted, or flee the country. It always amazes me that some people will call these people cowards. Maybe some are, but doesn't it take courage to stand up to your government if you actually think that serving in a certain theater is wrong?



posted on Mar, 16 2004 @ 11:01 AM
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Maybe some are, but doesn't it take courage to stand up to your government if you actually think that serving in a certain theater is wrong?

No, that wasn't his job. He should have done as ordered, but he chose not to. In the military, when you are given an order you follow it. If you have a problem with following orders you should never have joined in the first place.

Personally I think that this guy just couldn't hack it and wanted out.

PS This guy wasn't drafted, he volunteered.



posted on Mar, 16 2004 @ 11:11 AM
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I know he vollunteered. That wasn't the point. As to knowing what he was getting into, he probably had no idea until he got there. We have a member of good standing here that went, I remember one of his posts saying that he got caught up in the patriotism. Kind of hard not to with all those commercials challenging the young. Of course they will take the bait, the older you get the less likely you are to take the dare.



posted on Mar, 16 2004 @ 11:18 AM
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No, that wasn't his job. He should have done as ordered, but he chose not to. In the military, when you are given an order you follow it. If you have a problem with following orders you should never have joined in the first place.


Yes, and I'm thankful everyday that the people involved in the My Lai (sp?) Massacre followed their orders.



posted on Mar, 16 2004 @ 11:18 AM
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Originally posted by intrepid
I know he vollunteered. That wasn't the point. As to knowing what he was getting into, he probably had no idea until he got there.

I would like to think that he had a good idea since he has obviously gotten a few promotions since he got it.
Promotions come with experience and training.



posted on Mar, 16 2004 @ 11:19 AM
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Originally posted by intrepid
I remember one of his posts saying that he got caught up in the patriotism.


If you're refering to me, It wasn't at all about the patriotism. Never was in seven years of service. I just loved the work. Injury has prevented my continued service and now I'm just a regular guy with a regular job.

I like football and porno and books about war.


DC

[Edited on 16-3-2004 by DeltaChaos]



posted on Mar, 16 2004 @ 11:29 AM
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According to the article he has been in the reserve for five years, army three, I couldn't tell if it was concurrent. However, I don't think that he was trained to deal with civillians dropping. This is what bothered him. Training can only take you so far. Would I do the same in his place, no, but I reserve the opinion that all people have demenours that are suited to certain careers. I, personally, would put a gun to my head if I was forced to be an accountant. Nothing wrong with that profession, it's just totally wrong for my personallity.



posted on Mar, 16 2004 @ 11:35 AM
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Originally posted by intrepid
According to the article he has been in the reserve for five years, army three, I couldn't tell if it was concurrent. However, I don't think that he was trained to deal with civillians dropping.



He is trained to deal with casualties, it is a fact of war that they will happen. Unfortunately sometimes it is the civilians that suffer.



posted on Mar, 16 2004 @ 11:39 AM
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Are you in the millitary Coolhand, or are you just forming an opinion without facts. I would love to hear from some millitary people on this. There are a lot of people here that have served, and still do, my guess is that they have encountered this situation before, not neccesarily themselves, but been around it.



posted on Mar, 16 2004 @ 11:41 AM
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Originally posted by intrepid
Are you in the millitary Coolhand, or are you just forming an opinion without facts. I would love to hear from some millitary people on this. There are a lot of people here that have served, and still do, my guess is that they have encountered this situation before, not neccesarily themselves, but been around it.


Yes I am in the military and yes I am forming my opinions with fact.



posted on Mar, 16 2004 @ 11:47 AM
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How long have you been in? Have you never come across someone that feels this way? If you did, would you want a person not commited looking after your back?



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