October 15, 2004

Happy With the Results of Your Rhetoric Senator Kerry?

Are you shocked that some soldiers are acting upon what they've heard from the man who wants to lead them?

The Army is investigating reports that several members of a reservist supply unit in Iraq refused to go on a convoy mission, the military said Friday. Relatives of the soldiers said the troops considered the mission too dangerous.

The reservists are from the 343rd Quartermaster Company, which is based in Rock Hill, S.C. The unit delivers food and water in combat zones.

According to The Clarion-Ledger newspaper in Jackson, Miss., a platoon of 17 soldiers refused to go on a fuel supply mission Wednesday because their vehicles were in poor shape and they did not have a capable armed escort.

The paper cited interviews with family members of some of the soldiers, who said the soldiers had been confined after their refusals.

Another source says:

"I got a call from an officer in another unit early (Thursday) morning who told me that my husband and his platoon had been arrested on a bogus charge because they refused to go on a suicide mission," said Jackie Butler of Jackson, wife of Sgt. Michael Butler, a 24-year reservist. "When my husband refuses to follow an order, it has to be something major."

..."They knew there was a 99 percent chance they were going to get ambushed or fired at," Hill said her daughter told her. "They would have had no way to fight back."

But as it happens:

The mission was carried out by other soldiers from the 343rd, which has at least 120 soldiers, the military said.

If I've learned anything after blogging for a while it is to treat items like this as data points and to wait a few days for the full story to come out. I don't know beyond what I've read here what motivated these men to disobey an order and make the lives of other soldiers more difficult and dangerous. I won't call them cowards and I certainly won't applaud them. I trust the authorities will investigate and do what is right in this instance whatever that is.

Maybe it's a cheap shot to lay this at the feet of Senator Kerry's rhetoric. Then again, maybe it isn't if you read the previous post.

Posted by Charles Austin at October 15, 2004 03:52 PM

The surest sign of when Armies break down is when the ranks no longer trust their officers to do right by them (for example, look at the end of ARVN in Laos). I find it really hard to imagine these soldiers were watching Kerry one day and were brainwashed into this action. I find it easy to imagine this happens alot in small peices. if not for a few phone calls, we would not have know this happened at all..

Posted by: drlloyd11 at 09:34 PM

Try to keep up Drlloyd. Back when Jason over at IraqNow was still in Iraq, he posted at length over the exact same situation and why he took a wave-off on just such a mission. This is old news and barring some major new developments, not even unusual. Why in this case arrests were allegedly made is something that will have to be explored, as to whether there was actual insubordination and dereliction in the face of the enemy or whether some field grade or NCO blew his stack and made it a "face" issue. In the meantime, it will be fertile ground for political opportunists who will cash in on the press' ignorance and disinterest in the military to take another shot at President Bush, who after all, is directly responsible for orders given to every 17-man platoon in Iraq....

Posted by: richard mcenroe at 12:28 AM


And it turns out Jason has in fact addressed this very incident, with detail and insight I would give far more credence than any stateside troll...

Posted by: richard mcenroe at 12:31 AM