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Woman GI Publicly Stands Against War as She Faces Immediate Deployment to Middle East
November 17, 11:30 AM, Front Gate of Ft. Benning, Georgia--Army National Guard Specialist Katherine Jashinski, on active duty with the 111th ASG since January of this year, made a public statement against the war as a conscientious objector in the face of orders to participate in weapons training and deploy to the Middle East. She was joined by several members of Iraq Veterans Against the War and Veterans for Peace. Jashinski applied for a discharge as a Conscientious Objector in 2004. The Army recently denied her claim and ordered her to weapons training and deployment this week.

Speakers at the press conference included Aidan Delgado, an Army Conscientious Objector and member of Iraq Veterans Against the War. Iraq Veterans Against the War supports the right of every soldier to follow his or her conscience. Today's revelation that chemical weapons were used against citizens in Falluja is evidence that the war is illegal and immoral.

Jashinski's counselor, Persian Gulf War Army Conscientious Objector Aimee Allison, stated, "As the first woman GI to publicly take a stand against this war and to declare herself a Conscientious Objector, Katherine's actions are very significant. She is showing remarkable courage."

Jashinski's lawyer, J.E. McNeil with the Center for Conscience and War, commented, "Denying Katherine CO status is yet another in a long line of actions by the military to defy its own rules in order to get the numbers of soldiers they need to continue this war."

Katherine is actively supported by Code Pink, a women-initiated grassroots peace group. Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Code Pink adds, "I applaud Katherine's courageous stand against the continued U.S. role in bringing violence to the Middle East."

KATHERINE JASHINSKI'S STATEMENT

My name is Katherine Jashinski. I am a SPC in the Texas Army National Guard. I was born in Milwaukee, WI and I am 22 years old. When I graduated high school I moved to Austin, TX to attend college. At age 19 I enlisted in the Guard as a cook because I wanted to experience military life. When I enlisted I believed that killing was immoral, but also that war was an inevitable part of
life and therefore, an exception to the rule.

After enlisting I began the slow transformation into adulthood. Like many teenagers who leave their home for the first time, I went through a period of growth and soul searching. I encountered many
new people and ideas that broadly expanded my narrow experiences. After reading essays by Bertrand Russel and traveling to the South Pacific and talking to people from all over the world, my beliefs about humanity and its relation to war changed. I began to see a bigger picture of the world and I started to reevaluate everything that I had been taught about war as a child. I developed the belief that taking human life was wrong and war was no exception. I was then able to clarify who I am and what it is that I stand for. The thing that I revere most in this world is life, and I will never
take another person's life.

Just as others have faith in God, I have faith in humanity. I have a deeply held belief that people must solve all conflicts through peaceful diplomacy and without the use of violence. Violence only begets more violence. Because I believe so strongly in non-violence, I cannot perform any role in the military. Any person doing any job in the Army, contributes in some way to the planning, preparation or implementation of war.

For eighteen months, while my CO status was pending, I have honored my commitment to the Army and done everything that they asked of me. However, I was ordered to Ft. Benning last Sunday to complete weapons training in preparation to deploy for war. Now I have come to the point where I am forced to choose between my legal obligation to the Army and my deepest moral values. I want to make it clear that I will not compromise my beliefs for any reason. I have a moral obligation not only to myself but to the world as a whole, and this is more important than any contract. I have come to my beliefs through personal, intense, reflection and study. They are everything that I am and all that I stand for. After much thought and contemplation about the effect my decision will have on my future, my family, the possibility of prison, and the inevitable scorn and ridicule that I will face, I am completely resolute. I will exercise my every legal right not pick up a weapon, and to participate in war effort. I am determined to be discharged as a CO, and while undergoing the appeals process; I will continue to follow orders that do not conflict with my conscience until my status has been resolved. I am prepared to accept the consequences of adhering to my beliefs.

What characterizes a conscientious objector is their willingness to face adversity and uphold their values at any cost. We do this not because it is easy or popular, but because we are unable to do
otherwise. Thank you.