by Rory Fanning and Spenser Rapone
To All Active Duty Soldiers:
Your Commander-in-chief is lying to you. You should refuse his orders to deploy to the southern U.S. border should you be called to do so. Despite what Trump and his administration are saying, the migrants moving North towards the U.S. are not a threat. These small numbers of people are escaping intense violence. In fact, much of the reason these men and women—with families just like yours and ours—are fleeing their homes is because of the US meddling in their country’s elections. Look no further than Honduras, where the Obama administration supported the overthrow of a democratically elected president who was then replaced by a repressive dictator.
These extremely poor and vulnerable people are desperate for peace. Who among us would walk a thousand miles with only the clothes on our back without great cause? The odds are good that your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. lived similar experiences to these migrants. Your family members came to the U.S. to seek a better life—some fled violence. Consider this as you are asked to confront these unarmed men, women and children from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. To do so would be the ultimate hypocrisy.
The U.S. is the richest country in the world, in part because it has exploited countries in Latin America for decades. If you treat people from these countries like criminals, as Trump hopes you will, you only contribute to the legacy of pillage and plunder beneath our southern border. We need to confront this history together, we need to confront the reality of America’s wealth and both share and give it back with these people. Above all else, we cannot turn them away at our door. They will die if we do.
By every moral or ethical standard it is your duty to refuse orders to “defend” the U.S. from these migrants. History will look kindly upon you if you do. There are tens of thousands of us who will support your decision to lay your weapons down. You are better than your Commander-in-chief. Our only advice is to resist in groups. Organize with your fellow soldiers. Do not go this alone. It is much harder to punish the many than the few.
Former U.S. Army Ranger, War-Resister
Former U.S. Army Ranger and Infantry Officer, War-Resister
Rory Fanning, following two deployments to Afghanistan with the 2nd Army Ranger Battalion, became one of the first U.S. Army Rangers to resist the Iraq war and the Global War on Terror. In 2008–2009 he walked across the United States for the Pat Tillman foundation. Rory is the author of Worth Fighting For: An Army Ranger’s Journey Out of the Military and Across America and co-author of Long Shot: The Triumphs and Struggles of an NBA Freedom Fighter. He has bylines at Common Dreams, The Guardian, The Nation, and TomDispatch. In 2015 he was awarded a grant from the Chicago Teachers Union to speak to CPS students about America’s endless wars and to fill in some of the blanks military recruiters often ignore about America’s endless wars. As a sponsored lifetime member of Veterans for Peace, Rory has traveled multiple times to Japan on speaking tours to express solidarity with those seeking to abolish nuclear weapons and close U.S. military bases around the world. Rory currently lives in Chicago and works for Haymarket Books.
Spenser Rapone is a former officer in the U.S. Army and the co-host of the EyesLeft podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @punkproletarian