Statement from Matthis Chrioux
February 2, 2009
I have a date with the military.
March 12, I'll attend a board hearing in St. Louis, Missouri, to determine what the nature of my discharge from the Individual Ready Reserve will be. The Army has alleged "misconduct" and they're shooting for a "general discharge," but I'm pushing for "honorable," as my refusal to deploy was not an act of misconduct.
I will attend this hearing in uniform as ordered, but only for the purpose of these administrative proceedings. I'm not contesting the fact that I did not report as ordered to deploy to Iraq. However, I intend to paint a clear picture of my convictions to the military, and I seek to corroborate them with first hand accounts of occupation.
No person is bound to act against the dictates of conscience, let alone their understanding of the law. I know the occupation of Iraq and further the Global War on Terror to be an illegitimate and ultimately murderous campaign waged for economic gain, fueled by misinformation and greed. I know it to be in violation of not only international law, but the U.S. Constitution. Far more importantly, it is against the dictates of my own conscience, and never again will I compromise my humanity to support or ignore the crimes of my government.
I will be working closely with Iraq Veterans Against the War to plan what we hope will reflect a Winter Soldier event in the form of our members testifying under oath to the military about their experiences in the Global War on Terror.
I seek only truth to be heard and considered by the military. If reconciliation is possible, I seek that, as well.
If we are a democracy, than ultimately we the people are responsible for the actions of our government. When those actions bring about crimes against humanity in the forms of occupation, torture and war profiteering, it is our duty as people to resist.
I stand for humanity, the rule of law and the rights of people, be they Arab or American, to cast off their oppressors, be they foreign or domestic...and even challenge them in court, which is what, in essence, I am doing.
The Army in no way has forced this hearing upon me. I demanded this hearing from them to oppose the General Discharge, and I thank them for providing me due process.
We are continuing to gather funds needed to cover travel expenses and accommodation for those who will be testifying. I hope anywhere from fifteen to thirty veterans, military family members, Iraqi civilians and constitutional experts will appear before my board. Please consider making a donation to my defense campaign either through my website, matthisresists.us, or through ivaw.org.
This information, when presented to the military, will provide a clear contrast to the official narrative of the Global War on Terror and establish a firm base for my actions in reality as recalled by those who lived it.
As well, I have recently returned to New York from Washington D.C. where in addition to watching our new president be inaugurated and demanding our old one be prosecuted, I visited the offices of the Congressional Signatories to my support letter from last summer.
As I write this, they are penning another letter of support which will be more widely circulated in Congress than the first to be sent to President Obama before my hearing. As well, several Members have expressed interest in appearing in person to voice support for me and troops like me in March.
I will mobilize as much media as possible to put the critical issue of war resistence to the American people for judgment, but I need your help to get the word out. Please forward this information far and wide, especially in St. Louis, and contact me if you'd be interested in helping organize or participating in a national day of action to support war resisters on March 12. I'd like to make it a day to send a clear demand to President Obama that he halt the military from prosecuting troops refusing to participate in the Global War on Terror.
In these most critical times for our service members and the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and others, I ask the American people to consider that change will not manifest itself in this country until society halts the unjust practices of the past, among them prosecuting Soldiers of conscience.
We tried to bring this message to President Obama at the final presidential debate. Tragically, Joe the plumber took precedence that evening, and Nick Morgan the Iraq Vet was nearly crushed by a police horse during a violent crackdown on our peaceful demonstration.
Hopefully, President Obama will hear our voices this time and understand that enough blood has been shed in Baghdad, Kabul, Waziristan and Hempstead alike. It is time for a just peace, at home and abroad.
But for peace to exist, first must occur reconciliation, and for reconciliation to occur, first must exist truth.
Truth is what led me to resist, and it is that truth now that leads me to St. Louis. Win or loose, my life WILL reflect truth and is dedicated to preserving human rights. The truth is, there is no other path I can walk. The Army proved that to me and now I'll prove it to them.
More to follow on various fundraisers, events and our national day of action. As always, I am grateful to all for your interest, support and dedication to peace and justice. I look forward to the whirlwind of activism that will be the next 39 days.
Peace and Solidarity,