Threats, Lies and Audiotape
It was like an action movie. A young man held at night in a hotel, threatened with prison. He is to be shipped off to war in the morning. His friends desperately trying to find him. The “down” button on the elevator had been disabled. He considered jumping from the window. When his friends arrive, they encounter military personnel patrolling the grounds. One sneaks in, gets his friend out, and they drive off into the night. This was real life for 17-year-old Eric Martinez, a student at
But then, as 17-year-olds are wont to do, Eric changed his mind. When the recruiter came to his house and threatened his mother, she went to the recruiting station to meet with the officer in charge: “She talked to Sgt. Marquette and told him that I didn’t want to go, and that’s it. And
Sgt. Marquette: “This is what will happen. You want to go to school? You will not get no loans, because all college loans are federal and government loans. So you’ll be black-marked from that. As soon as you get pulled over for a speeding ticket or anything with the law, they’re gonna see that you’re a deserter. Then they’re going to apprehend you, take you to jail ... you will do your time, as you deserve. All that lovey-dovey ‘I want to go to college’ and all this? Guess what. You just threw it out the window, because you just screwed your life.”
Irving and two others were the ones who sneaked Eric out of the hotel.
After the story broke,
I asked Douglas Smith, spokesman for the U.S. Army Recruiting Command in
But there’s a difference between the death penalty and a promotion. When I asked Smith what the penalty was, he replied, “I’m not allowed to tell you.”
Smith and the rest of the military may dodge reporters’ questions, but they can be subpoenaed before Congress to testify under oath.
Texas Congressman Ted Poe, a Republican, said: “Our country cannot deceive its citizens. Since the Army hasn’t taken the initiative, now Congress may have to get involved.” Another
Amy Goodman is the host of “Democracy Now!,” a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on more than 700 stations in