New Website Honors Troops Who Refuse To Deploy To Afghanistan As Death Toll Reaches 1,000
StandWithHonor.com posts videos of troops refusing to deploy to the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars while encouraging the public to reply with videos honoring those troops in hopes to inspire more troops to choose conscience when faced with moral dilemmas.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PRLog (Press Release) – May 21, 2010 – “No, First Sergeant, I will not deploy to Afghanistan!” declared a young soldier defying orders in front of his entire company. These words were uttered almost exactly one year ago by 23-year-old Iraq veteran, Victor Agosto, who recounts his story in a never-before-released video on www.StandWithhonor.com, a new video-based website launched on the heels of 1000 US deaths in Afghanistan.
“Specialist Agosto took a valiant stand in the face of his first sergeant ordering him to prepare for a war Victor found immoral,” explains Thad Crouch, Army veteran and StandWithHonor co-founder. “He knew the military would jail and court martial him for his stand, but he took it anyway.” Crouch says there’s a need to honor troops such as Agosto, who can’t qualify for Conscientious Objector (CO) status for various reasons. In Agosto’s case, he doesn’t qualify, because while he would willingly fight to defend our country, he won’t obey orders to fight in a war he deems to be immoral.
StandWithHonor.com honors “Soldiers of Conscience,” such as Agosto, who choose to act in response to the authority of conscience rather than the authority of coercion, regardless of whether or not the military grants them CO Status. The site invites viewers to make two types of videos on StandWithHonor’s You Tube channel, www.youtube.com/user/StandWithHonor : Stand Videos, which depict troops standing for deeply-held values conflicting with orders, and Honor Videos in which the public honors troops for taking stands. A third type, Question Videos, encourages troops to look within and ask questions of conscience.
“Conflicted troops whose consciences contradict their military orders often dare not speak up for fear of being prejudged as cowards, jailed for defying orders, dishonorably discharged from the military, losing their wages and pension, and retribution by their peers. Ironically, in an attempt to appear ‘honorable’ to others, many obey orders which violate their own sacred honor and integrity, leaving themselves morally and psychologically wounded for life,” says Crouch. “It’s no wonder in recent years number of suicides of those who’ve served in Afghanistan exceed the number killed in combat!” he says. “And for every suicide, there are five times as many suicide attempts,” Crouch exclaims. “This epidemic is tied to pressuring troops to act against their conscience. Isn’t it time we stand with those, who often have to stand alone? Isn’t it time we develop soldiers of conscience and honor them as the heroes they are?”
StandWithHonor.com was born when Thad Crouch’s efforts to support troubled troops were noticed by Michael Skye, founder of Austin, Texas-based VisionForce, who recognized him as a “Visionary Peacemaker,” and partnered with him in the VisionForce initiative, Operation StandWithHonor. Skye, who envisions the end of all war by year 2020, asks, “What if GI’s, who opposed the war as a matter of conscience, started refusing deployment by the thousands, while also being publicly honored for their heroic actions?” Suggesting StandWithHonor could play a critical role in ending war itself, Skye quotes JFK, “War will exist until that distant day when the Conscientious Objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today.”
One’s opinion of the Iraq or Afghanistan War need not be a factor in submitting videos according to human technology entrepreneur, Skye, “People can experience the emotion of honor when they stand for their values in the face of their fears, whether that fear be of a foreign enemy, one’s own chain of command, the judgments of their peers, or even self-doubt. So both the soldier following orders to war and the soldier refusing orders can stand with honor.”
“Our troops enlist knowing they may be called upon to risk their lives to stand for us, to defend our freedom. What if Americans stood to protect their honor and their freedom of conscience?” asks Crouch. “What if!” exclaims Skye. The impact of Operation StandWithHonor will likely depend on how many inspired individuals are willing to stand up and take part.
Those who have questions about soldiers of conscience, or who would like to honor these courageous men and women, are invited to visit www.StandWithHonor.com and take action today.
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About StandWithHonor.com: We are a Visionary Change Agency using the latest human and internet technologies to empower soldiers to stand on conscience, widely publicize their stands, and inspire the public to honor them as heroes.