Open Letter to Pablo Paredes

Scott “Smash” Koenig has a few choice words for Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Pablo Paredes, who has refused to obey his oath and orders to deploy with his shipmates on the USS Bonhomme Richard.

FILED UNDER: Military Affairs
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Dean Luckey says:

    Pablo Parades is a real man of courage and principal I don’t know if I would have the courage
    to do the same but I respect what he has done and
    wish him well. Our draft dodging president and his
    immoral war have to be opposed by all thinking

  2. geomike says:

    This asshole needs to quit wasting america’s time, quit appeling to the media to get attention, and be sent back to Mexico

  3. J. M. Branum says:

    Pablo Paredes did the right thing as did Camilo Mejia (currently in prison for refusing to go back to Iraq –

    To quote from Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience… “Under a government which imprisons unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison. The proper place today, the only place which Massachusetts has provided for her freer and less despondent spirits, is in her prisons, to be put out and locked out of the State by her own act, as they have already put themselves out by their principles. It is there that the fugitive slave, and the Mexican prisoner on parole, and the Indian come to plead the wrongs of his race should find them; on that separate but more free and honorable ground, where the State places those who are not with her, but against her–the only house in a slave State in which a free man can abide with honor. If any think that their influence would be lost there, and their voices no longer afflict the ear of the State, that they would not be as an enemy within its walls, they do not know by how much truth is stronger than error, nor how much more eloquently and effectively he can combat injustice who has experienced a little in his own person. Cast your whole vote, not a strip of paper merely, but your whole influence. A minority is powerless while it conforms to the majority; it is not even a minority then; but it is irresistible when it clogs by its whole weight. If the alternative is to keep all just men in prison, or give up war and slavery, the State will not hesitate which to choose. If a thousand men were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent blood. This is, in fact, the definition of a peaceable revolution, if any such is possible. If the tax-gatherer, or any other public officer, asks me, as one has done, “But what shall I do?” my answer is, “If you really wish to do anything, resign your office.” When the subject has refused allegiance, and the officer has resigned from office, then the revolution is accomplished. But even suppose blood shed when the conscience is wounded? Through this wound a man’s real manhood and immortality flow out, and he bleeds to an everlasting death. I see this blood flowing now.”

    I admire the courage of these men and countless more who will in the future refuse to fight. They are the true heroes of our day.

  4. Stefano says:

    I think it was a brave thing he did…and to correct Mr. Luckey; Pablo is not from Mexico. He’s Puerto Rican-American.(Origins from Puerto Rico).

    Your assumption explains your response. Mr. Paredes shouldn’t have been so naive when he enlisted in the Navy. War is ugly, no matter what branch. My father was in the Marines and Army. When I turned 18 he told me straight up. “Don’t join any branch of the military”. My father is a Vietnam vet, and understood how ugly it can get.

    I wish Mr. Paredes and Mr. Mejia luck. I believe that with Bush or if it would have been Kerry in the Whitehouse, it’s going to be hard to clean up the War. I wish I knew how to send Mr. Paredes an email to let him know I and others support him, and not to let any of the negative emails, discussions get him down.


  5. Corinne Winston says:

    Pablo Paredes is just the kind of person we need in this country and RIGHT NOW, to swim against a stream of hypnotizing lies from the Bush administration. I admire the guts he had to stand up for what he believes in, in a nation where we have been told it is unpatriotic to have an opposing opinion. He is intelligent, articulate, and from the heart. I guess I can see how these qualities might intimidate those who support the war. Pablo, I wish you could hear me-Keep On!

  6. Dorothy Wallstein says:

    Pablo Paredes is not only brave but noble. The easy thing would have been to continue in the Navy in a safe technical job and to collect his extra pay. Instead, he is prepared to take the consequences of thinking and teaching others, at great personal risk to himself, being ridiculed by others or even going to jail. I thank him for his example of free American citizenship. I hope to show as much courage and integrity in my own life.

  7. Mike says:

    Pablo Paredes is a hero of mine!

  8. Dianna Short says:

    Why did Mr. Parades join the Navy? Why are some calling him a hero if he did not follow his orders. For him to have freedom to speak up is one thing, he took an oath when he joined the Navy..Why would some call him a hero? Where is our Integrity as a nation. We may not agree with the war but above all we must be people of integrity.

  9. Responding to Ms. Short post of 12/17:
    Mr. Parades may have thought he was taking an oath to defend his country and its Constitution. He may consider the use of his service, his very self, in the unnecessary butchering and roasting of tens of thousands at the expense of hundreds of billions to be inconsistent with what he took an oath to do.