May 16, 2008
Sgt. Matthis Chiroux, who served in the Army until being honorably discharged last summer after over four years of service in Afghanistan, Japan, Europe and the Phillipines, today publicly announced his intention to refuse orders to deploy to Iraq.
Sgt. Chiroux made made his announcement in the Cannon House Office Building Rotunda after members of Iraq Veterans Against the War testified before the Congressional Progressive Caucus during Winter Soldier on the Hill.
Sgt. Chiroux made the following statement to the press. (Video of his announcement is also available.)
Good afternoon. My name is Sgt. Matthis Chiroux, and I served in the Army as a Photojournalist until being honorably discharged last summer after over four years of service in Afghanistan, Japan, Europe and the Phillipines. As an Army journalist whose job it was to collect and filter servicemember's stories, I heard many stomach-churning testimonies of the horrors and crimes taking place in Iraq. For fear of retaliation from the military, I failed to report these crimes, but never again will I allow fear to silence me. Never again will I fail to stand.
In February, I received a letter from the Army ordering my return to active duty, for the purpose of mobilization for Operation Iraqi Freedom.Thanks in great part to the truths of war being fearlessly spoken by my fellow IVAW members, I stand before you today with the strength, clarity and resolve to declare to the military and the world that this Soldier will not be deploying to Iraq.
This occupation is unconstitutional and illegal and I hereby lawfully refuse to participate as I will surely be a party to war crimes. Furthermore, deployment in support of illegal war violates all of my core values as a human being, but in keeping with those values, I choose to remain in the United States to defend myself from charges brought by the Army if they so wish to pursue them. I refuse to participate in the occupation of Iraq.
To donate to IVAW’s Legal Fund to support Matthis and other servicemembers who are refusing to support the occupation of Iraq, use our online donation form and select "Legal Fund" under special projects.
If you would like to send a message of support to Sgt Matthis Chiroux, email email@example.com.
Here is the video incase you can’t access it
After reading this story, I emailed him to thank him. Here’s my letter to him:
Thank you for your service to this country. Youre doing the right thing by not wanting to return to a country we never should have been in. I have always supported the troops but have never supported Bush's illegal, unconstitutional and undeclared occupation of Iraq. Thank you for taking a stand. If only ALL the troops would do this, there would be no more war. We cant depend on this treasonous administration who sent you there to die for nothing. Luckily, you survived, but over 4,000 of us didnt.
We cant depend on our lazy, lying Democratic Congress who were voted in in 2006 to stop this war, only to end up as traitors who continue to give Bush and his minions more blank checks to continue this quagmire that is the Iraq war. It is not surprising that Congressman Ron Paul has received the highest amount of support and campaign dollars from active military personnel because his stance is the Constitutional one, that we are not to nation-build or police the world.
You're a hero and you are more supported by your actions than you might realize. I have lots of true patriotic friends who I haven't even talked to about you yet (because I just learned of you), but I can tell you with 100% certainty that they support you too. The Bush administration should all be tried and executed for war crimes and treason. People like YOU are the TRUE patriots that all of us in this country should emulate. Thank you for your service and thank you for refusing to be a part of Bush's crimes.
You stand tall and keep fighting for the truth and for the principles this country was founded on. Many uninformed and just plain ignorant people will call you a traitor. Don't let it bother you one bit. The people that will demonize you for this are the very same ones who gladly sound the trumpets for war, but were too chickenshit to enlist themselves. Those people are haters of America and most likely have no idea what the Constitution says, and if they did, wouldn't care.
From a true patriot to another,