Matthis Chiroux is the kind of young American US military recruiters love.
"I was from a poor, white family from the south, and I did badly in school," the now 24-year-old told AFP.
"I was 'filet mignon' for recruiters. They started phoning me when I was in 10th grade," or around 16 years old, he added.
Chiroux joined the US army straight out of high school nearly six years ago, and worked his way up from private to sergeant.
He served in Afghanistan, Germany, Japan, and the Philippines and was due to be deployed next month in Iraq.
On Thursday, he refused to go, saying he considers Iraq an illegal war.
"I stand before you today with the strength and clarity and resolve to declare to the military, my government and the world that this soldier will not be deploying to Iraq," Chiroux said in the sun-filled rotunda of a congressional building in Washington.
"My decision is based on my desire to no longer continue violating my core values to support an illegal and unconstitutional occupation... I refuse to participate in the Iraq occupation," he said, as a dozen veterans of the five-year-old Iraq war looked on.
Forgive me if I'm not sympathetic. But unlike a dumb ass reporter, I like to do things like think about facts.
Am I right or wrong. My understanding of the military is that you enlist for a three year hitch. So somewhere along the line, this guy reenlisted while the Iraq War was going on. He knew full and well he would probably get an assignment to "participate in the occupation".
If he didn't want to spend a hitch in Iraq, why in the hell did he re-up?
He admits himself that he was a poor student so he probably did not enlist for education benefits. So why did he enlist and, subsequently, re-enlist.
For the record, I was also recruited heavily by the military in the late 70's, early 80's. Since I was a young, ding dong, liberal, I had interpreted military service as the last bastion for society's losers. Trust me, I had fewer options than this punk did as a young person (anyone remember 12% unemployment). It wasn't until I actually started meeting people with military experience that I learned that I was the one who missed something; not the military.
Hopefully, he'll get his ass thrown in the brig soon.