Saturday, May 17, 2008
This just in...
IVAW member Matthis Chiroux announces his refusal to deploy to Iraq
Sgt. Matthis Chiroux, who served in the Army until being honorably discharged last summer after over four years of service in Afghanistan, Japan, Europe and the Phillipines, today publicly announced his intention to refuse orders to deploy to Iraq.
Sgt. Chiroux made his announcement in the Cannon House Office Building Rotunda after members of Iraq Veterans Against the War testified before the Congressional Progressive Caucus during Winter Soldier on the Hill.
What is written below is a re-write of a blog response that I made a couple of days ago, in response to the above news.
There is no doubt that it took courage of conviction for Matthis Chiroux to have made this declaration right there in the halls of Congress. I support his convictions, and respect his courage.
However, I question the judgement in the choice of time and venue to air his decision to refuse re-deployment to Iraq. An act for which he could by legal definition be charged with desertion in the face of the enemy. To announce this at this incredibly important venue for Winter Soldier was rhetorically flammatory, and just what IVAW didn't need imagewise, in my personal opinion.
The resultant media focus on this public airing of Chiroux's moral stand and ensuing military legal entanglements will sadly overshadow the initial purpose of the hearings, where, unfortunately, he chose to make his personal moral stand.
He will have become bigger than the original story; the testimony of all the others who were there that day, will have been overshadowed by media sensationalism, and right-wing swiftboating of the Winter Soldier hearing concept, and testifiers. This act will re-energize the administrations spin miesters, and Republican 527 funded political operatives and organizations, i.e., our old friends, the gathering of Eagles. Rather than leaving the Hill still on offense, IVAW will, I believe, find themselves on defense with shaky field position. It was a "gimme" for the Neocons.
These were hearings that Iraq veterans Against The War had worked diligently to bring about, following the US Media black-out on the Winter Soldier Iraq & Afghanistan hearings this past March 13-16th at the National Labor College in Silver Springs, Maryland. Now, the powerful testimony stands to be overshadowed by this tactical faupaux.
These hearings were to demonstrate that the gathering in Silver Springs was not just a few disgruntled soldiers, but was in fact Truth, from a Boots On The Ground perspective, as told by soldiers who served honorably in combat in their country's name, to those with the power to act on those Truths.
Winter Soldier On The Hill! Right where it belonged, in the first damn place! Winter Soldiers Speaking Truth To Power. Heroes coming from the shadows to share their experiences with the American People, baring their souls before Congress for all to see. All of this in the hopes of winning hearts and minds to the Truth of our involvement in iraq...what a story!!!
But wait, there's been a distraction, folks. Someone thought that one person's message was more important than the message of all of the other Winter Soldiers present on the Hill, that day. This can't help but make our hill a little steeper, the pack a little heavier.
This was the poison pill of the anti-war movement back in the seventies, and it has the potential to be that way again, if we allow it. No one individual's plight can be considered bigger than the mission, if we are to succeed in bringing objective Truth to the American People, and win middle America's hearts and minds.
I hope that IVAW learned from this one.