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Letter: Huge Impact in Soldier's Case - 2005

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Letter to the Editor

appearing in the Bergen Record, Hackensack, NJ

November 11, 2005

Huge Impact in Soldier's Case

Ten years ago, a young American soldier named Michael New refused to obey what he believed to be an illegal order issued by the commander of his military unit: don United Nations battle dress for the purpose of serving under a foreign commander.

He based his refusal on constitutional grounds, declaring to his superiors that he was ready and willing to fight and, if necessary, to die for his country, but only in a regulation U.S. Army uniform, and under the leadership of a U.S. Army commander. For his refusal to obey orders, he was given a bad conduct discharge.

He decided to fight what he believed to be an injustice perpetrated by the U.S. government. He took his case to overturn his discharge to the civil courts, but was required to first avail himself of alll remedies that military regulations prescribed. Thus began a long ordeal that has gone through the military and civil judicial systems but remains unsettled. The U.S. Court of Appeals is expected to hear arguments later this year, or early next year.

What I find curious is the fact that absolutely no coverage has been given this subject by the media for nine years. The outcome of New's case will have ramifications that will affect all American servicemen currently serving overseas and who may be forced to wrestle with the problem of complying with what they believe to be illegal orders.

C.K. Garabed

Teaneck, NJ