Posted by: raju161 August 5, 2009
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Bravo guys at least Nepalese got it.
Texas soldier faces jail for refusing deployment

FORT WORTH, Texas — A Fort Hood soldier who faces up to a month in jail for refusing deployment to Afghanistan said it's been liberating to stand up for his beliefs despite the threat of a harsher penalty.

Army Spc. Victor Agosto, 24, of Miami, will plead guilty Wednesday to disobeying lawful orders, said his attorney, James M. Branum. As part of a plea agreement with military prosecutors, Agosto faces up to 30 days in jail and cannot be discharged at a level lower than other-than-honorable conditions, an administrative discharge.

A discharge is not automatic, but the Army is expected to release Agosto after his jail sentence, Branum said.

Lt. Col. Ben Danner, a Fort Hood spokesman, said officials could not comment on Agosto's case until after the court proceedings.

Military officials initially planned to try him in a special court-martial in which the maximum penalty is a year in jail and a bad conduct discharge, Branum said. Only a dishonorable discharge is more severe.

Agosto did not apply for conscientious objector status, which means a soldier is opposed to all wars. He said he does not believe war is wrong but that he came to oppose the one in Iraq after returning from a 13-month deployment in late 2007. He said he never saw combat because his job was working with computers on a base.

"I realized that the war in Iraq had nothing to do with making Americans safe," Agosto told The Associated Press by telephone on Tuesday. "After I got back, I started feeling guilty about my part in the occupation. Although I wasn't pulling the trigger, I was giving support for the people who were."

Upon returning to Fort Hood, the central Texas Army post about 150 miles southwest of Fort Worth, Agosto became involved in the peace community and Iraq Veterans Against the War.

After learning earlier this year that the Army was keeping him beyond his June enlistment date, a practice known as "stop-loss," he told his commander that he would not deploy to Afghanistan. He decided to remain at Fort Hood rather than go AWOL.

A few weeks later, in May, he stopped training with his unit because he "found it difficult to reconcile that even though I wasn't going, I was helping them prepare." He then had to pull weeds and sweep.

Agosto said he was never mistreated by his fellow soldiers or superiors. Many troops have said they support him and flash him the peace sign, and even those who disagree with him still say they respect him, he said.

"This whole experience has been pretty liberating," Agosto said. And while he has been nervous at times, "it's better than going to Afghanistan and serving in a war I don't believe in." 

source- Houston Chronicle

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