“Thank you for all your help. Without Courage to Resist, I would be in jail.”
—Army Spc. Alexis Hutchinson
April 6, 2010
With the help of about 1,500 donors last year, we were able to wage a number of successful campaigns. I need to ask for your help now going forward: couragetoresist.org/donate
For example, Ft. Stewart officials backed off from court martialing single-mom Spc. Alexis Hutchinson (photo above with year-old Kamani) for refusing deployment to Afghanistan, objector Sgt. Travis Bishop was released three months early from the Ft. Lewis stockade a week ago, Spc. Dustin Stevens was discharged and the Echo “punishment” Platoon at Ft. Bragg disbanded, and former Canada refuge seeker Spc. Cliff Cornell walked out of the brig at Camp Lejeune a month early. Each of these victories was directly related to political and/or legal appeals funded by Courage to Resist supporters in the last few months.
We’re now facing one of our most challenging cases. Army Spc. Marc Hall (photo below-right) served 14 months in Iraq and returned with PTSD. When he was told last July that he wouldn’t be able to leave at the end of his enlistment, he produced an angry rap song railing against the Army’s continuing “stop-loss” policy.
Nearly five months later, Marc filed an official complaint with the Army’s Investigator General over inadequate mental health care provided to him at Ft. Stewart, Georgia. Within days, he was jailed on the pretext of his song.
As we mustered civilian legal aid and mental health services for Marc in Georgia, the Army kidnapped Marc and took him to Kuwait where he remains under pre-trial confinement awaiting a virtually secret trial. Our federal court appeals failed to stop this “extradition”, but we continue to work every day on his behalf.
Marc is now schedule to be court martialed in Iraq on April 27. We are working to make sure that Marc has civilian legal representation and mental health witnesses at trial in Iraq—but that’s dependent on money and resources for travel expenses and more.
Why has the Army gone to such extremes to make an example out of Spc. Marc Hall? Because he is only one of tens of thousands of “walking wounded” trapped in the military, and the military can’t afford to provide real treatment or let them go.
“The number of US soldiers who have died in the Afghan war has reached 1,000. A grim milestone in the conflict launched more than eight years ago,” began a news story last week. “We must steel ourselves for harder days yet to come,” declared Admiral Mike Mullen, in defense of the endless occupation of Afghanistan. In addition to the 100,000 US troops that remain today in Iraq, the surge in US forces to Afghanistan continues. Foreign troop levels are expected to reach 150,000 soon.
Yet the military has a big problem. Even with relatively solid recruiting due to historically high unemployment, they are still unable to convince (bribe) enough troops to reenlist after their first stint. That’s where “Stop-loss” and the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) come in to form the “back door draft” that is reviled throughout the ranks.
We have become the place to call for hundreds of IRR members questioning continued service—thousands if you include those that rely on our extensive web resources alone. For example, google “IRR recall” and you’ll see that Courage to Resist is the first resource listed.
Since the last time I asked for your support, we identified significant reductions in our budget and made hard decisions—including reducing staff hours by 50% and moving our Oakland-based workspace saving 40% on office-related expenses. These actions, along with the continued support of many, have allowed us to move forward in our mission by maintaining an amazingly effective, bare-bones organization.
Unfortunately, the same is not true for a long time ally of war resisters, The Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors (CCCO). Founded in 1948 to help people escape military enlistment, CCCO played a critical role in supporting objectors during the Vietnam War and on through the 90’s. Recently they closed of their office and website “due to the economy.” CCCO once played a central role in the GI Rights Network. However, having planned ahead, the new GI Rights Hotline—a consortium of over 20 groups—is now taking responsibility for the free 877-447-4487 hotline. Over the last five years, I believe Courage to Resist has also stepped into this void by providing the material, moral, and political support to objectors that CCCO was once known for.
We’re up for the challenges ahead. We need to increase our monthly sustainers by at least $1,000 so that we can focus more on the work at hand, and less on fundraising in the months ahead. I’m asking that you consider a contribution of $35 or more, and possibly becoming a sustainer for only $10 a month. Regardless of the amount, we need your support to help end war by supporting the troops who refuse.
Project Director, Courage to Resist
First US military service member to refuse to fight in Iraq
P.S. If you’ve recently donated, thank you! If not, I hope you’re able to become a monthly sustainer, or will be able to make a larger-than-you-first-thought contribution, so that we can continue to organize the “support of the people” when soldiers become part of the solution in building a better world.