Victor Agosto : The Price of Conscience

GI Victor Agosto, being interviewed by Beth Freed of the Dallas Peace Times, after announcing that he was refusing deployment to Afghanistan. Photo from Under the Hood Cafe.

GI Victor Agosto

That is the price of conscience. When he said: ‘There is no way I will deploy to Afghanistan,’ the trajectory of his life shifted.

By Alice Embree / The Rag Blog / June 19, 2009

Today, June 19th, is the day that Victor Agosto was to be released from the Army. He would have left the service with one tour in Iraq, a good record, and full benefits.

But for Stop Loss.

His release date was moved when he received orders to deploy to Afghanistan. Because he is resisting those deployment orders, Victor now faces a very different future which may involve a special court martial, a maximum sentence of a year, and the potential of no service related benefits.

That is the price of conscience. When he said: “There is no way I will deploy to Afghanistan,” the trajectory of his life shifted.

Victor is 24. From my perspective, that is young. When I was his age, I did some things that demanded courage — sit-ins to integrate restaurants or protest the draft. Some of those acts of courage came with the price of a night in jail. But, I wasn’t in the military. I wasn’t up against a military system that dictates that a contract clause called Stop Loss trumps conscience.

Please think of Victor today and, if you can, contribute to his defense fund and sign the petition supporting him.

Also see GI Victor Agosto: ‘There is No Way I Will Deploy to Afghanistan’ by Alice Embree / The Rag Blog / May 7 / 2009

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12 Responses to Victor Agosto : The Price of Conscience

  1. Val Liveoak says:

    I hope we all sign the petition and, as able, make contributions to his defense fund. Thanks Alice, for keeping us posted on this important case.

  2. masterspork says:

    Stop loss happens, get over it. He will not be the first or the last that will face extending thier time in the millitary becuase of current needs. Also just a thought for the day, every time you try to prevent someone from joining, you are setting up someone else to be stop lossed.

    Also why should I feel bad about him getting a year in jail away from family and friends, when everyone in his unit will be away from loved ones in a combat zone?

  3. Anonymous says:

    First off, this is in no way intended to disrespect these two individuals. This isn’t an attack on their character (because I don’t personally know them), it’s more of a personal comment. I recently heard about this issue going public when a friend mentioned it to me while we were volunteering for Habitat for Humanity. I didn’t intend to comment on this issue at first, that is until I read what they have said.
    Allow me introduce myself a little, so you know where I am coming from and won’t think I’m someone talking about something I don’t know nothing about.
    I have serve under the same unit banner, and was also part of the last deployment with these two soldiers. I have been in COB Speicher, COB Sykes, COB Stryker, Camp Washington, COB Victory, BIAP, and etc. During my deployment, I have worked in 8 hour shifts to 12 hour shifts (majority of them 12 on – 12 off). I’ve had schedules where I would work 6 days a week to not having a day off for a month or two. I’ve done missions and duties ranging from guarding/escorting Third World Nations to E.C.P., Up Armoring Vehicles (form 1st CAV units to Special Forces units) to working in a COMMTEAM, providing communications to a whole Contingency Operating Base (COB). Though I am also “Stop-Loss” I am currently under going a Medical Evaluation Board due to injuries I have sustained during my deployment and services in the Army.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Now that I have established my credentials allow me to comment. “It’s a matter of what I’m willing to live with.” “I’m not willing to participate in this occupation, knowing it is completely wrong.” “What I did there, I know I contributed to death and human suffering. It’s hard to quantify how much I caused, but I know I contributed to it.” These are the words of Spc Victor Agosto. So what you’re telling us is that you are willing to not help out a country that is being terrorized daily, you’re not willing to help contribute in an effort to stop the mass killing of innocent people in the streets and in their homes. You are okay with knowing that you and I are fortunate enough to be born, raised, and live in a Country where you can say all this and not be executed where you stand. You’re okay with turning your back on your fellow man who wants the same Freedom? You’d rather choose jail time over protecting your battles six? What if, Lord forbid, you got news that a close friend died during this deployment in a fire fight where he was out numbered? Would you be okay not knowing that maybe if you were there, everybody would be convoying back to base?

  5. Anonymous says:

    We’re “commo,” we help provide various types of communications down range. We are the reason why soldiers get to say, ” I love you” to their love ones during their lunch time or day off. We are the reason why soldiers get to hear their 3 month old baby cry thousands of miles away. We’re the reason why a whole convey was able to reroute away from a road filled with I.E.D.’s. We’re the reason why family member’s are able to know that their son/daughter is safe for another day. This is weird to say, but we are also the reason why a mother knows the following day that her son/daughter was killed in combat during a raid, instead of worrying for a weeks about why their child hasn’t called to greet them a Happy Birthday. We are the reason why someone’s last words before they went in that missions was “I love you, I miss you, and I’m proud of you.” We are the reason why soldiers can call up their loves to tell them that they’re safe and weren’t pulling guard during the time that suicide bombing in the market happened that’s being shown in television right now. That is what we do when we serve during deployment.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I don’t under stand why people act the way they do after they signed the “dotted line.” There are many things we didn’t know we’d be doing while in the Army, but deploying was the one thing we did know! To all the AWOL’s and Anti-war soldiers in service, not only did you joined a military establishment, but most likely you joined after September 11, 2001 (a time of war). Do you know how stupid that makes you look, when you say and act like this. I hope you guys and gals know what you stand for now, because it’s no longer selfless service and honor.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Sgt Bishop, you said that “My father said, ‘Do only what you can live with, because every morning you have to look at your face in the mirror when you shave. Ten years from now, you’ll still be shaving the same face.’ If I had deployed to Afghanistan, I don’t think I would have been able to look into another mirror again.” Now that you can look at your face in the mirror everyday now, can you do me one favor. Can you shave your face every morning for a year and walk up to one random person a day who resides in Afghanistan or Iraq and let them know that you weren’t willing to help them out in any way? Or how about go up to a highly decorated vet and tell him that he didn’t need to do what he did during he’s time in service. Or how about something easy, write an email to I.P.S. and address it to all the families who have Medal of Honor members in their family, and let them know that if they had turned their backs, they would have lived to be at least 40. With that single email, you knocked out a flock of birds with one stone.

  8. Anonymous says:

    And for people who don’t know, everybody who joins the military signs an eight year contract. The only thing that varies form person to person is how many years in those eight years will you be serving in active status. So technically we have an eight year service obligation. So lets say you have a three years active/five years IRR (Individual Ready Reserve) contract and you get “stop-loss,” 99% of the time the Army is just asking you to add an additional year in your active service. So now, that makes it 4 years active service/4 years IRR. That’s what happens when soldiers get “stop-loss” so don’t be fooled people, an additional year is better than the whole eight years.

    P.S.
    I joined because when my father was young he wanted to joined, but wasn’t able to. So I served for him and though he worries everyday he’s extremely proud of what I do.

  9. clamor says:

    First off, this is in no way intended to disrespect these two individuals. This isn’t an attack on their character (because I don’t personally know them), it’s more of a personal comment. I recently heard about this issue going public when a friend mentioned it to me while we were volunteering for Habitat for Humanity. I didn’t intend to comment on this issue at first, that is until I read what they have said.
    Allow me introduce myself a little, so you know where I am coming from and won’t think I’m someone talking about something I don’t know nothing about.
    I have serve under the same unit banner, and was also part of the last deployment with these two soldiers. I have been in COB Speicher, COB Sykes, COB Stryker, Camp Washington, COB Victory, BIAP, and etc. During my deployment, I have worked in 8 hour shifts to 12 hour shifts (majority of them 12 on – 12 off). I’ve had schedules where I would work 6 days a week to not having a day off for a month or two. I’ve done missions and duties ranging from guarding/escorting Third World Nations to E.C.P., Up Armoring Vehicles (form 1st CAV units to Special Forces units) to working in a COMMTEAM, providing communications to a whole Contingency Operating Base (COB). Though I am also “Stop-Loss” I am currently under going a Medical Evaluation Board due to injuries I have sustained during my deployment and services in the Army.
    Now that I have established my credentials allow me to comment. “It’s a matter of what I’m willing to live with.” “I’m not willing to participate in this occupation, knowing it is completely wrong.” “What I did there, I know I contributed to death and human suffering. It’s hard to quantify how much I caused, but I know I contributed to it.” These are the words of Spc Victor Agosto. So what you’re telling us is that you are willing to not help out a country that is being terrorized daily, you’re not willing to help contribute in an effort to stop the mass killing of innocent people in the streets and in their homes. You are okay with knowing that you and I are fortunate enough to be born, raised, and live in a Country where you can say all this and not be executed where you stand. You’re okay with turning your back on your fellow man who wants the same Freedom? You’d rather choose jail time over protecting your battles six? What if, Lord forbid, you got news that a close friend died during this deployment in a fire fight where he was out numbered? Would you be okay not knowing that maybe if you were there, everybody would be convoying back to base?

  10. clamor says:

    We’re “commo,” we help provide various types of communications down range. We are the reason why soldiers get to say, ” I love you” to their love ones during their lunch time or day off. We are the reason why soldiers get to hear their 3 month old baby cry thousands of miles away. We’re the reason why a whole convey was able to reroute away from a road filled with I.E.D.’s. We’re the reason why family member’s are able to know that their son/daughter is safe for another day. This is weird to say, but we are also the reason why a mother knows the following day that her son/daughter was killed in combat during a raid, instead of worrying for a weeks about why their child hasn’t called to greet them a Happy Birthday. We are the reason why someone’s last words before they went in that missions was “I love you, I miss you, and I’m proud of you.” We are the reason why soldiers can call up their loves to tell them that they’re safe and weren’t pulling guard during the time that suicide bombing in the market happened that’s being shown in television right now. That is what we do when we serve during deployment.
    I don’t under stand why people act the way they do after they signed the “dotted line.” There are many things we didn’t know we’d be doing while in the Army, but deploying was the one thing we did know! To all the AWOL’s and Anti-war soldiers in service, not only did you joined a military establishment, but most likely you joined after September 11, 2001 (a time of war). Do you know how stupid that makes you look, when you say and act like this. I hope you guys and gals know what you stand for now, because it’s no longer selfless service and honor.
    Sgt Bishop, you said that “My father said, ‘Do only what you can live with, because every morning you have to look at your face in the mirror when you shave. Ten years from now, you’ll still be shaving the same face.’ If I had deployed to Afghanistan, I don’t think I would have been able to look into another mirror again.” Now that you can look at your face in the mirror everyday now, can you do me one favor. Can you shave your face every morning for a year and walk up to one random person a day who resides in Afghanistan or Iraq and let them know that you weren’t willing to help them out in any way? Or how about go up to a highly decorated vet and tell him that he didn’t need to do what he did during he’s time in service. Or how about something easy, write an email to I.P.S. and address it to all the families who have Medal of Honor members in their family, and let them know that if they had turned their backs, they would have lived to be at least 40. With that single email, you knocked out a flock of birds with one stone.

  11. clamor says:

    And for people who don’t know, everybody who joins the military signs an eight year contract. The only thing that varies form person to person is how many years in those eight years will you be serving in active status. So technically we have an eight year service obligation. So lets say you have a three years active/five years IRR (Individual Ready Reserve) contract and you get “stop-loss,” 99% of the time the Army is just asking you to add an additional year in your active service. So now, that makes it 4 years active service/4 years IRR. That’s what happens when soldiers get “stop-loss” so don’t be fooled people, an additional year is better than the whole eight years.

    P.S.
    I joined because when my father was young he wanted to joined, but wasn’t able to. So I served for him and though he worries everyday he’s extremely proud of what I do.

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