Pregnant Mom Of 4 Sentenced To Prison For Refusing To Serve In Iraq

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Private First Class Kimberly Rivera, mother of four children and pregnant with a fifth, was sentenced on April 29 to 14 months imprisonment, which was lowered to 10 months based on a plea agreement.  

Her crime?

After serving a tour of duty in Iraq in 2006, she found herself unable to return.

She tells Amy Goodman in the Guardian why:

“I had a huge awakening seeing the war as it truly is: people losing their lives for greed of a nation, and the effects on the soldiers who come back with new problems such as nightmares, anxieties, depression, anger, alcohol abuse, missing limbs and scars from burns. Some don’t come back at all.”

Her attorney, James Branum, who defends soldiers who resist deployment, told me:

“She felt that she morally could not do what she was asked to do; at the same time, she realized that she would put other soldiers in danger if she didn’t pull the trigger when the time came. She talked to a chaplain about it. The chaplain largely pushed her aside, did not give her the counsel that she really needed.”

Never Advised Of Her Rights As A Conscientious Objector

This so-called Christian chaplain could have advised her that there was a regulation, AR 600-43, that gave her the right to petition to be classified a conscientious objector. He chose not to do the Christian thing.

Since she was never advised of her rights as a conscientious objector, she believed that she had no options but to return to Iraq or to emigrate to Canada. Rivera and her husband and two children fled to Canada in February, 2007, settling in Toronto.

Amnesty International identifies Rivera as a prisoner of conscience, the first American female conscientious objector to flee to Canada; she has the support of many Canadian members of Parliament, as well as that of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize winner. Yet the Canadian government denied her refugee application, and she turned herself in to US authorities at the border on September 20, 2012.

Now the United States Army has sentenced Rivera to 10 months behind bars, where she will give birth to her fifth child.

Kimberly Rivera had the courage to refuse to shoot at children in Iraq; she had the courage to dissent, to resist. As a reward for this act of bravery, she will now sit in prison, away from her husband Mario, and their four young children: Christian, 11; Rebeca, eight; Katie, five, and Gabriel, two.

Who Is The Real Hero: George W. Bush Or Kimberly Rivera?

Just two days after Rivera was sentenced to sit behind bars for 10 months for courageously giving voice to her conscience, George W. Bush was proudly holding forth at the dedication of his Presidential Library in Texas.

“Ultimately, the success of the nation depends on the character of its citizens,” declared the former president.

Rivera stopped believing she was doing the right thing in Iraq, and she stopped believing the United States was doing the right thing in Iraq. Americans were getting wounded and killed, but she saw more of Iraqi suffering.

As reported in 2012:

Rivera was troubled by a two-year-old Iraqi girl who came to the base with her family to claim compensation after a bombing by US forces.

“She was just petrified,” Rivera explained. “She was crying, but there was no sound, just tears flowing out of her eyes. She was shaking. I have no idea what had happened in her little life. All I know is I wasn’t seeing her: I was seeing my own little girl. I could imagine my daughter being one of those kids throwing rocks at soldiers, because maybe someone she loved had been killed. That Iraqi girl haunts my soul.”

George W. Bush, by contrast, refused to admit that he might have made a mistake, refused to listen to the thousands of protestors who demanded an end to the war in Iraq, a war which killed over 114, 000 people,including over 4,500 US soldiers. He never apologized, never admitted that he had any regrets at all about this mass slaughter.

He gets a Presidential Library, while Kimberly Rivera, who dared to speak her mind, gets to sit in prison.

And do you remember hearing too that Bush also went AWOL? But of course he was not punished. Unlike Ms. Rivera.

If you believe this sentence is outrageous, and that Kimberly Rivera is being punished for acting honorably and courageously, please sign the petition, demanding that she be released from prison and reunited with her husband and children.


3 thoughts on “Pregnant Mom Of 4 Sentenced To Prison For Refusing To Serve In Iraq

  1. And another home goal for the US government, do they not learn from anything and that by literally martyrising this woman they in turn defeat themselves?

    Fair play to her, she can speak from a terrible experience of a horrible nightmare and she chose to not deploy because of pregnancy as much as anything as would you want your unborn baby to be sucking in all the depleted uranium that Iraq is inundated with? And that is before the stress risks and physical risks that a deployment would have caused.

    But the US government dare not allow the idea of conscientious objection to get into the mainstream forces but it is a inherent right to do this as it is an inherent right if not an explicit duty to refuse to deploy to illegal orders, the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts have never been legitimised.

    National Military Establishment changed to Department of Defense by act Aug. 10, 1949.

    The Department of War was designated the Department of the Army and the title of the Secretary of War was changed to Secretary of the Army by section 205(a) of act July 26, 1947, ch. 343, title II, 61 Stat. 501. Section 205(a) of act July 26, 1947, was repealed by section 53 of act Aug. 10, 1956, ch. 1041, 70A Stat. 641. Section 1 of act Aug. 10, 1956, enacted “Title 10, Armed Forces” which in sections 3011 to 3013 continued the military Department of the Army under the administrative supervision of a Secretary of the Army.

    President Bush never ordered the Military to Iraq or Afghanistan. (he couldn’t)
    President Bush’s E.O 13235 emergency construction
    National Emergency Construction Authority Executive Order 13235, 66 F.R. 58343, 10 U.S.C. 2808 note
    By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code, I declared a national emergency that requires the use of the Armed Forces of the United States, by Proclamation 7463 of September 14, 2001, because of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and because of the continuing and immediate threat to the national security of the United States of further terrorist attacks. To provide additional authority to the Department of Defense to respond to that threat, and in accordance with section 301 of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1631), I hereby order that the emergency construction authority at 10 U.S.C. 2808 is invoked and made available in accordance with its terms to the Secretary of Defense and, at the discretion of the Secretary of Defense, to the Secretaries of the military departments
    Pub. L. 97-99, title IX, Sec. 903, Dec. 23, 1981, 95 Stat. 1382, which authorized the Secretary of Defense, in the event of a declaration of war or the declaration of a national emergency by the President, to undertake military construction without regard to any other provisions of law, was repealed and restated as section 2808 of this title by Pub. L. 97-214, Secs. 2(a), 7(18), July 12, 1982, 96 Stat. 157, 174, effective Oct. 1, 1982.

  3. She should have dragged all the rug-rats into service with her and they would have sent ’em all back home in a heartbeat.

    “Can you change that dirty diaper Sarge? I’m feeding this one. Johnny, get away from that machine gun and put those grenades back where you found ’em”.

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