An army soldier was sentenced to a one month jail term and demoted Wednesday for refusing to fight in Afghanistan. Victor Agosto, a veteran of the Iraq war who was due for release in June was a victim of the armed services’ “stop loss” program and was told he would be redeployed to Afghanistan.
In early May, Agosto wrote in response to orders to go Afghanistan: “There is no way I will deploy to Afghanistan. The occupation is immoral and unjust. It does not make the American people any safer. It has the opposite effect.”
According to the Associated Press, Agosto, who comes from Florida, reached a plea agreement with prosecutors: “Agosto says he’s reached a plea agreement with military prosecutors, and faces up to 30 days in jail.” After release the soldier faces a less than honorable discharge.
Agosto argued the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are not making the US safer. In addition, he felt the war was illegal. “Before being sentenced,” writes the Miami Herald, “Agosto told the judge he believes the war violates international law.”
The Iraq vet has the support of family members says the Herald, “`I agree with his decision. The whole family agrees,” said his sister, Nubia Rodriguez, 30, of North Miami. “It is not fair for him. He signed up for four years.”
Agosto, a former chess champion, has become active in anti-war activities and was supported by protesters at the hearing.
In a statement he wrote: “I have learned that nothing is more frightening to power than a direct and principled challenge to its authority. The truth is on our side, and those who have incarcerated me know it …My only apologies are to the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. I hope that someday they can forgive me for my contributions to their distress.”
In an interview with Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman, just before sentencing, Agosto said: “I decided that I just—I couldn’t, in good conscience, deploy to Afghanistan. I don’t believe that we’re actually there to fight terror or that terror can even be fought on the battlefield. And then that’s basically—that’s basically it. I just—I don’t—I just can’t do it.
The army vet was tried and sentenced at Fort Hood Texas, where the “Fort Hood 3” refused to go Vietnam in the 1960s.