Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Desertion and the Deserting Deserters who Desert

Two news stories have caught my eye in the past three days. The first is about a petty officer in the Navy, Pablo Paredes, that has made a huge media spectacle concerning his refusal to deploy on Monday from San Diego. The San Diego Union Tribune has been reporting on it since Saturday when he started calling news agencies for press coverage. It's also been all over the local news. Paredes went down to the naval pier to make his point seen and was planning to through his military ID into the water (though he didn't when he found out he could be fined for destruction of government property). He brought friends to video tape the whole thing with instructions to send it to Michael Moore should anything happen to him. I'm sure he was disappointed when he wasn't so much as even arrested. What will Paredes do now?

Paredes is looking for a lawyer to represent him for free before he turns himself in to the Navy.

"I knew what was coming," Paredes said, "and now I just have to see it through."

The second story I found today thanks to Drudge. A marine, Jeremy Hinzman, didn't show up for deployment and has escaped to Canada and is seeking political asylum. Hinzman is testifying in a hearing on all of the atrocities and murders of civilians US soldiers are committing over in Iraq. Of course, most of the occurrences cited were well known in the media and were legitimate given the circumstances (ie shooting up a car of civilians as it attempted to rush a military checkpoint). Here's a telling quote from Hinzman:

"I was deeply concerned about the civilian casualties," he said.

"What they were doing was committing murder."
"This was a criminal war," Hinzman said.

"Any act of violence in an unjustified conflict is an atrocity."

The fact is, these men as well as some others that have popped up in the media here and there signed a contract and made a commitment and took an oath. It is up to them to fulfill their commitment. They don't have the option to pick and choose where they want to go and what conflict to take part in. If that were the case, it would make the military ineffective as a fighting force. They obviously have the right to break their contracts and their commitments, but they will suffer the consequences of their actions. Paredes will likely spend a year or two in jail. Hinzman should get deported back the US to face his consequences as well. I'm sure some on the left will cheer them on for their protest because of their general disdain for the military, but most people, like myself, will have no respect for men who refuse to carry out the duty that they had agreed to.