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May 24, 2004

Wonder when the book comes out?

(AP) A U.S. soldier who said he left his unit in Iraq to protest an "oil-driven" war was convicted of desertion Friday and sentenced to a year in jail and a bad conduct discharge.

A military jury met for about 20 minutes before giving the maximum sentence to Staff Sgt. Camilo Mejia, an infantry squad leader with the Florida National Guard.

Hey, dude. You wanted out, you got out. With three hots and a cot, with a/c. And you aren't going to owe any more time after you get out, either.

Meija may well feel exactly as he expressed himself at the courtsmartial proceeding. If so - good for him. He had a greater courage of his convictions than did John Kerry Waffles when he left combat early to go protest the war. Yes, there are parallels. Neither man seemingly left out of cowardice. But Kerry Waffles weaseled out. Meija, while he may not have approached this in the best fashion, met it head on. He's *always* going to have more 'street cred' than Kerry Waffles, now.

Defense lawyer Louis Font said in his closing argument that Mejia made "an honest mistake of fact."

"This case clearly is about what was in the accused's mind," Font said. "He had an honest and reasonable view that because he had become a conscientious objector, he would not be required to serve in Iraq anymore."

Well... no, it doesn't quite work that way. And even more so for officers he said, brining Kerry Waffles back into it... Soldiers in a Republic don't get to decide who and when they will fight. When they start doing that, you start having a banana republic, where the military decides what it wants to do, not the civilians. The only honorable approach when your disquiet reaches that level is to declare yourself openly, and face the music. Whether he realized it or not, however he got to that point, Meija took the only 'honorable' approach he had to his dilemma. Which, if I accept the arguments about Kerry's Waffles motivations put forth in comment streams elsewhere, cannot be said of Kerry Waffles.

The whole article is here.