Army Sergeant and journalist, honorably discharged after 5 years of active duty status in 2007, Matthis was recalled to active duty in early 2008. At the time of his recall he was ordered to redeploy to Iraq on June 15th, 2008. On 5/15/08 Matthis made an announcement in the Cannon House Office Building Rotunda refusing orders to deploy to Iraq.
His statement in full:
“Good afternoon. My name is Sgt. Matthis Chiroux, and I served in the Army as a Photojournalist until being honorably discharged last summer after over four years of service in Afghanistan, Japan, Europe and the Philippines. As an Army journalist whose job it was to collect and filter service member’s stories, I heard many stomach-churning testimonies of the horrors and crimes taking place in Iraq. For fear of retaliation from the military, I failed to report these crimes, but never again will I allow fear to silence me. Never again will I fail to stand.
In February, I received a letter from the Army ordering my return to active duty, for the purpose of mobilization for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Thanks in great part to the truths of war being fearlessly spoken by my fellow IVAW members, I stand before you today with the strength, clarity and resolve to declare to the military and the world that this Soldier will not be deploying to Iraq.
This occupation is unconstitutional and illegal and I hereby lawfully refuse to participate as I will surely be a party to war crimes. Furthermore, deployment in support of illegal war violates all of my core values as a human being, but in keeping with those values, I choose to remain in the United States to defend myself from charges brought by the Army if they so wish to pursue them. I refuse to participate in the occupation of Iraq.”