Open letter to active duty soldiers on the border
Don’t turn them away
The migrants in the Central American caravan are not our enemies
Open letter to active duty soldiers
Your Commander-in-chief is lying to you. You should refuse his orders to deploy to the southern U.S. border should you be called to do so. Despite what Trump and his administration are saying, the migrants moving North towards the U.S. are not a threat. These small numbers of people are escaping intense violence. In fact, much of the reason these men and women—with families just like yours and ours—are fleeing their homes is because of the US meddling in their country’s elections. Look no further than Honduras, where the Obama administration supported the overthrow of a democratically elected president who was then replaced by a repressive dictator.
“There are tens of thousands of us who will support your decision to lay your weapons down. You are better than your Commander-in-chief. Our only advice is to resist in groups. Organize with your fellow soldiers. Do not go this alone.”
These extremely poor and vulnerable people are desperate for peace. Who among us would walk a thousand miles with only the clothes on our back without great cause? The odds are good that your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. lived similar experiences to these migrants. Your family members came to the U.S. to seek a better life—some fled violence. Consider this as you are asked to confront these unarmed men, women and children from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. To do so would be the ultimate hypocrisy.
The U.S. is the richest country in the world, in part because it has exploited countries in Latin America for decades. If you treat people from these countries like criminals, as Trump hopes you will, you only contribute to the legacy of pillage and plunder beneath our southern border. We need to confront this history together, we need to confront the reality of America’s wealth and both share and give it back with these people. Above all else, we cannot turn them away at our door. They will die if we do.
By every moral or ethical standard it is your duty to refuse orders to “defend” the U.S. from these migrants. History will look kindly upon you if you do. There are tens of thousands of us who will support your decision to lay your weapons down. You are better than your Commander-in-chief. Our only advice is to resist in groups. Organize with your fellow soldiers. Do not go this alone. It is much harder to punish the many than the few.
Former U.S. Army Ranger, War-Resister
Former U.S. Army Ranger and Infantry Officer, War-Resister
Leaflet distributed by:
About Face: Veterans Against the War
Courage to Resist
Veterans For Peace
Courage to Resist has been running a strategic outreach campaign to challenge troops to refuse illegal orders while on the border, such as their Commander-in-Chief’s suggestion that they murder migrants who might be throwing rocks, or that they build and help run concentration camps. In addition to social media ads, About Face, Veterans For Peace, and Courage to Resist, are also printing tens of thousands of these leaflets for distribution near the border. Please consider donating towards these expenses.
Soldiers, you are not alone!
a message from Veterans For Peace
You are not alone if you are thinking WTF am I doing on the U.S. border with Mexico?
You are not alone if you are asking if this is some kind of political stunt.
You are not alone if you wonder what all this concertina wire is for.
Is it even legal to deploy troops on U.S. soil? Against desperate asylum seekers?
You are not alone if you are re-thinking your role in the U.S. military.
No, you are not alone. Many people, in and out of the military, have these very same concerns.
Veterans For Peace certainly does. We believe the deployment of U.S. troops to the border is an illegitimate use of the U.S. military. We believe that the Central America caravan poses no threat whatsoever to the people of the United States.
This is no “invasion.” The asylum seekers are traveling in a caravan for their safety from criminal gangs. With their babies and young children, they are fleeing from extreme violence and poverty. They are desperate to keep their families alive. They have every right under both U.S. and international law to seek asylum in the U.S. In fact, we have a special responsibility to help them. For decades the U.S. has been supporting corrupt dictators throughout Latin America, creating the conditions from which these poor people are fleeing. We should be meeting the asylum seekers at the border with open arms, not with concertina wire.
If you decide to follow your conscience and refuse to obey orders that you believe are illegal or immoral, you will not be alone. Veterans For Peace will support you, along with other organizations who have legal resources and know how to organize political support. See below.
If you decide it is time for you to get out of the military, we can put you in touch with counselors who can help you to be honorably discharged.
Most of all, as veterans of multiple wars, we strongly advise you not to do anything that you might regret for the rest of your life, just because you were “following orders.” It is much better to follow your conscience, and do what you know deep down is right.
Veterans For Peace is responsible for this message. The other organizations listed are valuable resources.
- VETERANS FOR PEACE
- COURAGE TO RESIST
- MILITARY LAW TAKS FORCE
- CENTER ON CONSCIENCE AND WAR
- GI RIGHTS HOTLINE
Veterans For Peace works to educate the public about the true costs of war. We want peace at home and peace abroad. We are committed to acting nonviolently. We welcome active duty members.
DoD Instruction 1325.06 allows GI’s to read and keep one copy of the leaflet.
Sending the US Army to the Border Creates ‘a War Atmosphere’
By Ryan Harvey, the Nation. November 14, 2018
Troops will deliver anti-riot equipment to Customs and Border Protection officers, further blurring the line between military and civilian law enforcement.
President Donald Trump has deployed 5,600 active-duty US troops to the border with Mexico as part of the mission formerly known as Operation Faithful Patriot. According to leaked documents received by The Nation, the Army will provide Customs and Border Protection officers with anti-riot weapons and protective equipment, further blurring the line between military and civilian law enforcement.
“With the Army directly supplying law enforcement with military equipment, the line is gone” said Ramon Mejia, an Iraq War veteran, whose father immigrated to the United States from Mexico. “They’re creating a war atmosphere. It’s dehumanizing towards specific groups on the border, and it’s an extremely dangerous precedent to set.” Meija added that the gear will likely remain at the border and contribute to the militarization of border policing: “There’s been this increasing military-style occupation of these border communities by law enforcement already.”
Critical legal info for US service members concerned about legality of orders to deploy to the US-Mexico border.
PDF updates: Illegal orders at the border, Resistance through dance, Deployed to the border: A test of conscience, The Objector Church.
“Cabinet order” stands in direct violation of federal law assumed to safeguard against martial law.