We’re joined by journalist Dahr Jamail, author of Beyond the Green Zone, Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq. He’s been on tour with his latest book, The Will to Resist, Soldiers who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, and his February 8th article in TruthOut.org, “Army Imprisons Soldier for Singing Against Stop-Loss Policy,” is also about a soldier who has resisted further military service. Iraq War Veteran Marc Hall was stop-lossed after a 15 month tour. His original protest song about the stop loss policy landed him in prison in Liberty County Georgia, and the Army will send him back to Iraq for court martial proceedings.
At a White House concert February 10th President Barack Obama praised the singers and song writers who would risk being sent to jail during the civil rights era as they spoke out for what they believed.
Obama said, “Dr. King himself once acknowledged that he didn’t see “the real meaning of the movement” until he saw young people singing in the face of hostility. …You see, it’s easy to sing when you’re happy. It’s easy to sing when you’re among friends. It’s easy to sing when times are good. But it is hard to sing when times are rough. It’s hard to sing in the face of taunts, and fear, and the constant threat of violence. It’s hard to sing when folks are being beaten, when leaders are being jailed.”
Iraq War Veteran, Army Specialist Marc Hall was sent to prison in Louisiana for sharing his Stop Loss song with the Military and the general public. Hall’s song is angry, but “it it hyperbole” says Dahr Jamail, and Hall has denied having any ill intent toward anyone in the Military. Still, the Military is sending him back to Iraq for courts martial proceedings. That means his lawyer and others who may wish to speak out on his behalf will have great difficulty attending the trial.
The story was published in Truthout.org February 8, 2010, and in Inter Press Service, February 10, 2010: Army Imprisons Soldier for Singing Against Stop-Loss Policy.
We compare this case with the case of civil rights protesters and singers who were celebrated at the White House February 9th 2010 by President Barack Obama. See his statements below from a press release.