I promised an update to the Hempstead 15, though the first update is that I’ve been spelling Matthis Chiroux’s name wrong all this time and none of my so-called colleagues have bothered to correct me. Mea culpa, sir, and bravo for your fortitude in following in the footsteps of that Fort Hood Three (see my “two photos” post above) and telling the disciplinary panel at Fort Leavenworth what they could do with their deployment order:
I thought of those brave G.I.’s in Vietnam who stood against the system, who worked to prevent the victimization of their brothers and sisters by resisting the continued genocide. Many went to jail. One was shot and killed while trying to escape.
I thought of my brothers and sisters in IVAW. Those who realize the humanity in us all deserves to be respected beyond what the military trained us to think. We are sacred; we are beautiful. We are not killers, we are women and men of dignity and justice.
The ‘government’ tried to rattle me by asking if I’d have objected to simply taking photos, and I told him any act to support an illegal war, from the front lines to a state-side base, was a violation of the Oath of Enlistment.
I took my leave of the witness chair feeling satisfied that everything I had come to say and do had been done, and then Marjorie Cohn walked in!
Prof. Cohn gave the most thorough, detailed, understandable and spot-on breakdown of the illegalities of the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan I’ve ever heard. She focused on the U.N. Charter, the Geneva Conventions, the Nuremburg Tribunals, U.S. Federal and Constitutional law and the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
She spoke with elegance and grace about some very hard subjects, and when the ‘government’ asked if she thought every Soldier in the Army who had deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan or supported the occupations from the states were a party to war crimes, she answered honestly.
Marjorie will always be a hero to me, as well Kathleen Gilberd of the NLG, who has provided me priceless council (sic) and support since the earliest stages of my resistance.
I had to include that call-out to Kathy Gilberd, one of the quiet muses of my book (and has written one, with Marjorie Cohn, that will end up being invaluable, even though I’ve been following it all).
The video above is of an act I hold above even the courtroom confrontation: Matthis giving testimony, at Winter Soldier St. Louis, about having used services of sex slaves while in the military, and now realizing that not all war crimes are the kind that leave blood on your hands.
I’d promised this as an update/wrapup to the Hempstead 15 story. Tomorrow I’ll finish up, with some thoughts on the context to their story, and some overtones of the past in current events that have me worried and a bit wearied.