Victor Agosto, a 24-year-old soldier with the III Corps, found himself in military court on Wednesday for disobeying orders that would have sent him to Afghanistan. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail and demoted to private. Rather than refusing to go overseas, Agosto just never went to the office that takes care of the deployment paperwork, which the Army only considers a minor offense. If he had directly refused an order to deploy the repercussions would have been much more severe.
So what made this Army man have a change of heart regarding the war? A 13-month stint in Iraq, sitting behind a computer. “I realized that the war in Iraq had nothing to do with making Americans safer,” Agosto told The Associated Press “After I got back, I started feeling guilty about my part in the occupation.”
When Agosto found out that he wasn’t being discharged in June as he had expected, but would be deployed to Afghanistan instead, he stopped obeying orders and became active in local antiwar protests. Agosto told the court that he believed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan violated international law. “He’s not opposed to all wars; he is opposed to this war, because it is not a war of self-defense,” his lawyer James M. Barnum told the NY Times. About 20 antiwar protesters that were present at the hearing cheered Agosto on as he was taken to jail.