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Green Bay Soldier: War is Immoral and I Won't Go Back to Iraq
Green Bay soldier: War is immoral and I won't go back to Iraq
Army spokesman said Spc. Kristoffer Walker has not filed conscientious objector paperwork
By Tony Walter | Green Bay Press Gazette
A Green Bay soldier told the Army today that he won’t go back to Iraq because he believes the war is immoral.
Spc. Kristoffer Walker, 28, was scheduled to board a flight at Austin Straubel International Airport in Ashwaubenon this morning to return to Atlanta, where he was scheduled to rejoin the 353rd Transportation Unit deployed to Iraq in October. Walker has been home on leave the past two weeks.
Lt. Col. Nathan Banks, an Army spokesman at the Pentagon, said Walker did not follow military procedure by filling out paperwork to list himself as a conscientious objector.
“His unit is counting on him,” Banks said. “He’s actually turning his back on his battle buddies. By just not reporting, you’re letting down your teammates. When you raise your right hand to defend the country, you knew there was a time you could possibly be deployed.”
Walker said he hasn’t pursued conscientious objector status because it would be futile.
“The Army’s definition is a little different than mine,” Walker said. “The Army’s definition is that you have to be opposed to war and all its forms. That’s not me. I absolutely support using military force to respond or retaliate to attack. By their standards, you’re not allowed to object to one conflict over another.”
Walker enlisted in the Army in 2002 and spent a year in Iraq as an infantryman beginning in February 2004. When his initial enlistment ended, he joined the Army Reserve unit headquartered in Buffalo, Minn. The unit was activated in July and deployed to Samarra, Iraq, in October.
Walker said he has been seeking a transfer for several months, contacting elected officials and military personnel.
“Everyone drags their feet,” Walker said. “I’m a little beyond frustrated. I signed up to defend the constitution and defend the country against foreign enemies. But I’m not going to do something immoral and contrary to the contract I signed up for. It’s really quite sad.”
Walker said he sent e-mails this morning to his company sergeant and commanding officer in Iraq, but hasn’t heard back from them. He said his wife received a text message from a member of Walker’s unit in Iraq so he knows the unit is aware of his decision.
Banks said the matter still is in the early stages, but Walker’s fate is in the hands of his active duty unit.
“He’s put himself in serious danger of being a deserter,” Banks said. “He’s taking the wrong way to handle it and will probably face judicial punishment. But it takes 30 days for him to be declared AWOL. The Army says he’s not violating any rules yet.”