DER SOLDAT. AlterNet reports that the German magazine Der Spiegel recently published a profile of several U.S. soldiers who struggle with their role in the war. One soldier went AWOL because of his objections:

From inside, the Army struck "John" as brutal, controlling, "like a slavery contract." Iraq, his first war zone, did nothing to quiet his doubts. The communications specialist was sent to a base near Baghdad to repair a phone and Internet hookup that allowed communication between US facilities. John found himself holding a faulty fiberoptic cable labeled "Abu Ghraib." "I really felt like part of something bad at that point," he says. "I didn't directly have blood on my hands, but I was part of it."

One soldier was finally granted conscientious objector status and currently works as a schoolteacher in Nevada, but the process was long and difficult. As Tara McKelvey reported in our April print issue, a few litigators have had success in fighting "stop-loss policies" by suing the Army. But it's clear that when a soldier has ethical objections serving in a war, or is ordered to serve beyond his or her commitment, he or she has very few options.

--Kay Steiger

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