Delta House Missile Defense
|August 27, 2009||Posted by Jeffery J. Smith under Progress Report, The Progress Report|
Delta House Missile Defense
Afghanistan War Resister Sentenced
War is a matter of conscience and of corporate welfare. We could save money and lives if we forced ourselves to pay for war in real time, instead of borrow from abroad. We trim, blend, and append two 2009 articles from (1) t r u t h o u t, Aug 16, on soldier resister by Dahr Jamail, author of Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches From an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq; and (2) Taxpayers for Common Sense, their Weekly Wastebsket, Aug 21, on missile spending.
by Dahr Jamail and by TCS
- Afghanistan War Resister Sentenced
Sergeant Travis Bishop, with the US Army’s 57th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, at a special court martial was found guilty on all counts: missing movement, disobeying a lawful order, and going absent without leave (AWOL).
Bishop has filed for conscientious objector (CO) status. A CO is someone who refuses to participate in combat based on religious or ethical grounds, and can be given an honorable discharge by the military.
Last week, Specialist Victor Agosto was sentenced to 30 days in a county jail for his refusal to deploy to Afghanistan.
Bishop is the second soldier from Fort Hood in as many weeks to be tried by the military for his stand against an occupation he believes is “illegal.”
James Branum, the civilian lawyer for both soldiers, says “the war in Afghanistan does not meet the criteria for lawful war under the UN Charter, which says that member nations who joined the UN, as did the US, should give up war forever, aside from two exceptions: that the war is in self defense, and that the use of force was authorized by the UN Security Council.”
The US Constitution states any treaty enacted by the US becomes the ‘supreme law of the land.’ So when the United States signed the UN Charter, we made that our law as well.”
“Travis was never told about his option of conscientious objector status,” Branum explained.
Captain Matt Kuskie, the prosecuting attorney, argued, “Ignorance of the law is no excuse.” The judge, Major Matthew McDonald, said that whether Bishop was notified or not about his right to file for CO status was not relevant to the case. “If every soldier in the Army who disobeyed an order could claim it was because they weren’t notified of conscientious objector status, we probably wouldn’t have a military any more,” he added.
The jury, who were all officers of much higher ranks (six to seven ranks higher) than Bishop, therefore, not necessarily a jury of his peers, appeared hostile to Bishop’s plight. One of the jurors had to be woken up during the trial. Another, a Lt. Col. Atkins, rolled his eyes and shook his head throughout most of the defense’s time of making their case.
Shortly thereafter, Bishop was shackled and escorted out of the building. While walking to a van to take him to prison he flashed a peace sign, while several soldiers, one of them active duty and most of them combat veterans, stood at attention and saluted him for his actions.
JJS: If we paid weaponeers what we pay soldiers, and relied on corporate patriotism to make up the difference, how eager do you think companies would be to arm us for eternal war? And how eager would any nation be, once they accepted the moral imperative that Earth we must share by sharing her worth?
- Delta House Missile Defense
Congressional Appropriators must decide whether to defy the White House and reinstate funding for programs shrunk by the Pentagon — including the Airborne Laser and Ground-Based Missile Defense — or terminated outright, such as the Multiple-Kill Vehicle and Kinetic Energy Interceptor (KEI). House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman John Murtha has already spared KEI the knife, giving the program based in his home district $80 million in the House version of the bill.
Also, the Missile Defense Agency reported a successful test of the Airborne Laser, a Boeing creation that would shoot ballistic missiles out of the sky with a laser mounted on the nose of a 747 aircraft. MDA had conducted a similar test the previous week, and will attempt to actually shoot down a missile by the end of the year.
But even if the system passes that test, the fact is the laser is still too weak to allow the large planes to shoot down missiles from a safe distance. The planes would have to practically hover above their targets in order to destroy them — hardly an invulnerable position. Defense Secretary Gates said, Theres nobody in uniform I know who thinks this is a workable concept, he said.
We should be able to defend our country on the more than half a trillion dollars we are currently spending.
Strategy and security should guide weapons spending before parochial concerns about jobs, votes, and dollars. But military leaders, scientists, and the preponderance of evidence agree that missile defense programs like the Airborne Laser have failed on that score, and other investments are more deserving of our limited dollars. The party has to end some time. We should spend our precious cash on programs that actually work.
Jeffery J. Smith runs the Forum on Geonomics.
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