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"I’ve Been Put in Prison for Opposing the War in Afghanistan"


The following is an excerpt from Soldier Box: Why I Won't Return to the War on Terror [3]Reprinted with permission of Verso Press, Brooklyn, NY.

It’s December. I’ve been put in prison for opposing the war in Afghanistan. Lots of other people disagree with it, lots of people think it is variously a stupid or illegal or unjustified or doomed war. The problem is that I am not supposed to say these things because I am a soldier; and yet I keep saying them.

Remand is when you are held in prison awaiting trial. Sometimes it is for those considered a flight risk and at other times it is for those not yet tried and convicted but considered too dangerous to be out in the world – I belong to the latter category. What I have said damages the ‘war effort’ and I have said it with that intention. Remand is purgatory. They tell us it’s not a prison, but we can’t go out. We ’re held in a centre for corrections. I find irony in that idea and in the idea that the individuals who’ve sent me here actually believe it is me who needs adjustment. The Military Correctional Training Centre (MCTC) claims to improve soldiers or discharge them as good citizens. To me it’s a funny idea – funny ha-ha, and funny strange.

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