Fort Benning, GA - Army National Guard Specialist Katherine Jashinski, on active duty with the 111th ASG since January of this year, will make a public statement Thursday against war as a conscientious objector in the face of orders to participate in weapons training and deploy to the Middle East. She will be 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 include Aiden 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 their conscience. Today's revelation that chemical weapons were used against citizens in Fallujah is evidence that the war is illegal and immoral."
Jashinski's counselor, Persian Gulf War Army conscientious objector Aimee Allison, will speak at tomorrow's press conference. Speaking today, 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, will also discuss her legal status and the case. She comments, "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."
Father Roy Bourgeois, a Vietnam War veteran and founder of School of the Americas Watch, will also speak. Jashinski's statement comes on the eve of a national demonstration at the gates of Fort Benning calling for the closure the U.S. Army School of the Americas. "U.S. foreign policy as it exists today is fundamentally out of alignment with Americans' values of peace and justice."