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Bradley Manning Case: The Slow Death of Democracy

Op-Ed by David Gespass for MLTF

Today, although he was acquitted of aiding the enemy, Bradley Manning was found guilty of five counts of violating the Espionage Act. It has long been said that military justice is to justice what military music is to music, but Manning’s prosecution has failed to clear that low bar. Since his arrest in 2010 and the long road to his court martial, the government has perverted the values it claims to represent, and made a mockery of its military justice system. The case has been a travesty since it began. Manning was tortured, held for years before trial, and overcharged. While the process of “justice” for Bradley Manning will proceed through the sentencing phase and appeals process—along with continued advocacy for a full pardon and release—it’s a good time to reflect on the most egregious of the government’s sins thus far.

Stop the Army from deploying conscientious objector

PV2 Christopher Munoz

Ft. Hood command still plan to deploy private to Afghanistan despite CO claim

Killeen, Texas -  A soldier seeking a discharge from the Army based on a conscientious objection to war has been told by the command at Fort Hood that it still intends to deploy him to Afghanistan sometime in the coming weeks.

Private Second Class Christopher Munoz, 22, applied for a C.O. (conscientious objector) discharge on June 25, 2013. He has also asked for his deployment to be delayed until request for discharge would be given a fair hearing.

Servicemembers are eligible for C.O. status if they can prove to military authorities that they are opposed to all wars, and that the opposition is grounded in religious belief or moral conviction that is sincere and occurred at some point after enlistment. PV2 Munoz's application asserts that he qualified for this status according to the provisions of Army Regulation 600-43.

As a C.O applicant, PV2 Munoz cannot be made to carry weapons or munitions if deployed.

“If deployed, PV2 Munoz will be at significant risk for harassment by his fellow soldiers since he will effectively be a 'dead weight' on the unit. Despite these very real risks, PV2 Munoz's command has said that a delay of his deployment will not be considered,” said James M. Branum, an attorney who represents PV2 Munoz.

Click Read More to learn more about the case and see how you can help.

Military sexual assault — It’s the culture

Kathy GilberdBy Kathy Gilberd

This Op-Ed was written for the Military Law Task Force of the National Lawyers Guild and is reprinted with permission.

The military is once again in crisis over sexual assaults. In recent weeks, it has become more apparent than ever that the military’s sexual assault policy is a failure, and that sexual assault in the services has become epidemic.

Sequestration's indiscriminate cuts are no solution to the bloated military budget

An Op-Ed for MLTF by David GespassDavid Gespass

Reprinted by permission from nglmltf.org.

Editor's note: Some on the Left, most prominently former Democratic Party chair Howard Dean, have said that the automatic cuts of the sequester are the only way the military budget will ever be reduced, and that he therefore supports them. In this editorial written for the MLTF website, former  NLG president David Gespass agrees with the sentiment, but argues that the cuts of the sequester will not big enough, or directed enough, to make the kind of difference we hope for.

The “sequester,” as has been well documented, was the Obama administration’s ingenious mechanism, which both parties and houses of Congress bought into, for insuring a rational budget deal. The idea was to require, in the absence of such a deal, uniform spending cuts for all but a specified few federal programs. Thus, the military budget, for example, will require the same percentage cuts in spending on the building of more tanks, for which we have no use, and the provision of food for the troops. The consequence, as we shall see, is that little is done to rein in out-of-control military appropriations while visiting significant hardship on GIs, veterans and civilian personnel.

The US military budget is clearly out of control. In 2012, the country spent $711 billion on the military. The next fourteen biggest military spenders, including a number of presumed U.S. allies and two countries, Germany and Japan, that are not supposed to have armies  – China, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, Japan, India, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Brazil, Italy, South Korea, Australia, Canada and Turkey – spent a total of $713 billion. Only Saudi Arabia, at 8.7%, spent as high a percentage of its gross domestic product as the U.S. at 4.7%.

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