Elevate Difference

Mission Rejected: U.S. Soldiers Who Say No to Iraq

Mission Rejected explores the lives and motivations behind soldiers who have refused to serve in Iraq—either by finding a way out before their tours began or by returning home, devastated by what they saw in the desert and finding ways not to return when called. The first half of the book deals with soldiers who have actually gone AWOL (Absent Without Leave) fleeing to Canada while the second half of the book portrays soldiers who have found other ways of being released from their commitment to fighting, such as filing for Conscientious Objector (CO) status. Laufer takes on a broad interpretation of what it means to reject the war in Iraq and includes stories of would-be soldiers, who never even got as far as basic training before opting out of military service. The common theme among the soldiers who actually did serve is that once they were in Iraq, they saw the futility of the war and felt as if they were just there killing innocent civilians for no reason at all. One of the most disturbing elements of the soldiers’ accounts is how similar they are. The soldiers were sent to Iraq where they saw their fellow "freedom fighters" killing innocent civilians without compunction. They saw right away that there were no "weapons of mass destruction," or even many weapons at all. They saw that the US-led coalition was there raping and pillaging a very poor country that has virtually no means to defend itself. They saw the futility, the rage and the hopelessness in the Iraqi people we were supposedly "liberating," so they exercised their right of will and conscience and got out. Laufer paints a picture of men and women who are heroes in the truest sense, because they dared to think for themselves and opted out of a situation that compromised every value they had learned as citizens of this country, and as human beings.

Written by: Shana Scudder, November 27th 2006

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