Pablo Paredes Responds

Scott “Smash” Koenig gets a response from deserter Pablo Paredes.

FILED UNDER: Iraq War, Law and the Courts, 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. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Dave Schuler says:

    Your link to smash appears to be incorrect. S.b.

  2. Joe rally says:

    Saturday, December 18th 1pm
    Rally in Support of Pablo Paredes!
    GI Resister in San Diego
    In front of Naval Headquarters
    (corner of Broadway and Harbor blvd. Downtown SD)

    On December 6th, 3rd class Petty Officer Pablo Paredes stood resolutely on the pier of the 32nd street naval base in San Diego, as his ship the USS Bonhomme Richard, left for Iraq without him. Sporting a simple black t-shirt with bold white letters stating: “Like a cabinet member, I resign.” anti-war sailor Paredes sent shockwaves through the military chain of command by taking a solitary stand against the war in Iraq by refusing to board his ship. “I don’t want to be a part of a ship that’s taking 3,000 Marines over there (to Iraq), knowing a hundred or more of them won’t come back. I can’t sleep at night knowing that’s what I do for a living”, he told the San Diego Union Tribune. Since refusing to participate in this unjust and devastating war, Pablo will now have to face the uncertainty of military punishment for being a GI with a conscience that refuses to be silent. Show support for him by joining us in a rally on his behalf this Saturday.

    To contribute to Pablo’s support please go to

    For more info about Pablo Paredes check out:

    Support Committee for Pablo Paredes

  3. April says:

    Pablo Paredes is a piece of garbage. Why on earth did he join the service? Thank God for the men and women who follow thru with their orders and protect our country.

    Thankfully…cowards like Pablo Paredes are few and far between.

  4. A Proud Sailor says:

    Have a great christmas!

    No More Heroes?
    Commentary by Col. Oliver North
    Col. Oliver North
    “It’s stuff you hear about in boot camp, about World War II and Tarawa Marines who won the Medal of Honor,” Lance Corporal Rob Rogers of the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment told the Army Times. Corporal Rogers was describing the actions of his fellow Marine, Sgt. Rafael Peralta, a Mexican immigrant who enlisted in the Marine Corps the day he received his green card.
    Most readers of this column probably haven’t heard about Rafael Peralta. With the exception of the Los Angeles Times, most of our mainstream media haven’t bothered to write about him. The next time you log onto the Internet, do a Google search on Rafael Peralta. As of this writing, the Internet’s most used search engine will provide you with only 26 citations from news sources that have bothered to write about this heroic young man. Then, just for giggles, do a Google search on Pablo Paredes. Hundreds of media outlets have written about him. The wire services have blasted his story to thousands of newspapers. Television and radio debate programs gladly provide the public with talking heads that can speak eloquently on the actions of Pablo Paredes.
    You see, Pablo Paredes, a Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class, did something the liberal elites consider “heroic” and the media consider “newsworthy” — he defied an order. Last week, Paredes refused to board his ship bound for Iraq along with 5,000 other sailors and Marines. He showed up on the pier wearing a black tee shirt that read, “Like a Cabinet member, I resign.”
    We know this because Petty Officer Pablo Paredes had the courtesy and forethought to notify the local media that he would commit an act of cowardice the following day. Perhaps he hoped to follow the lead of another famous war protestor who went on to become a U.S. Senator and his party’s presidential nominee by throwing away his military medals. Petty Officer Paredes stopped short of trashing his military I.D. in front of the cameras because he said he didn’t want to be charged with the destruction of government property. The media, we are promised, will continue to follow this story intently.
    It is a shame that the media focus on such acts when they could tell stories about real heroes like Rafael Peralta who “saved the life of my son and every Marine in that room,” according to Garry Morrison, the father of a Marine in Peralta’s unit — Lance Cpl. Adam Morrison.
    On the morning of November 15, 2004, the men of 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines awoke before sunrise and continued what they had been doing for seven days previously — cleansing the city of Fallujah of terrorists house by house.
    At the fourth house they encountered that morning the Marines kicked in the door and “cleared” the front rooms, but then noticed a locked door off to the side that required inspection. Sgt. Rafael Peralta threw open the closed door, but behind it were three terrorists with AK-47s. Peralta was hit in the head and chest with multiple shots at close range.
    Peralta’s fellow Marines had to step over his body to continue the shootout with the terrorists. As the firefight raged on, a “yellow, foreign-made, oval-shaped grenade,” as Lance Corporal Travis Kaemmerer described it, rolled into the room where they were all standing and came to a stop near Peralta’s body.
    But Sgt. Rafael Peralta wasn’t dead — yet. This young immigrant of 25 years, who enlisted in the Marines when he received his green card, who volunteered for the frontline duty in Fallujah, had one last act of heroism in him.
    Sgt. Rafael Peralta was the polar opposite of Pablo Paredes, the Petty Officer who turned his back on his shipmates and mocked his commander in chief. Peralta was proud to serve his adopted country. In his parent’s home, on his bedroom walls hung only three items — a copy of the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights and his boot camp graduation certificate. Before he set out for Fallujah, he wrote to his 14-year-old brother, “be proud of me, bro…and be proud of being an American.”
    Not only can Rafael’s family be proud of him, but his fellow Marines are alive because of him. As Sgt. Rafael Peralta lay near death on the floor of a Fallujah terrorist hideout, he spotted the yellow grenade that had rolled next to his near-lifeless body. Once detonated, it would take out the rest of Peralta’s squad. To save his fellow Marines, Peralta reached out, grabbed the grenade, and tucked it under his abdomen where it exploded.
    “Most of the Marines in the house were in the immediate area of the grenade,” Cpl. Kaemmerer said. “We will never forget the second chance at life that Sgt. Peralta gave us.”
    Unfortunately, unlike Pablo Paredes, Sgt. Rafael Peralta will get little media coverage. He is unlikely to have books written about him or movies made about his extraordinarily selfless sacrifice. But he is likely to receive the Medal of Honor. And that Medal of Honor is likely to be displayed next to the only items that hung on his bedroom wall — the Constitution, Bill of Rights and his Boot Camp graduation certificate.
    Yes, Virginia, there are still heroes in America, and Sgt. Rafael Peralta was one of them. It’s just too bad the media can’t recognize them.

  5. Gustavo Cantos says:

    Pablo eres un Maricon …….Why did u join you are a coward. Shame on you …you are an Ecuadorian like me but the diffrence between you and me is that I’m proudly serving with the United State Army as a Combat Engineer and will be deployed in Mid January. I’m so thankful to this country for giving me all the opportunities to succeed in life. My decision to join was totally on me..If God decide that is my “time” so be but I would never abandon on my Country, my friends and the United State Army.. you bastard, chicken shit, serrano maricon……

  6. Victor Hugo says:

    Response to Mr Oliver North’s recent editorial:

    Mr North criticizes Pablo Paredes and states that his acts are acts of cowardice and shame. He also complains that the media has chosen to cover this and many other related stories and do not cover the actual heroic feets of those in battle.

    Cowardice: Mr. North how brave is it to invade a third world country, kill hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, destroy full towns, commit the human rights violations (with the prisoners) that we claim to have removed Saddam from power for, etc.? Where is the bravery in putting our young men in a position where they need to kill innocent, unarmed, injured civilians? And surely we all see a great deal of bravery in our president’s service to the military. Why don’t the very brave senators and congressmen in support of the war send their own sons and daughters to fight for this their “righteous” cause?

    Deciding to stand up for life, for justice, for humanity is far from being cowardice Mr. North. It is probably one of the greatest acts of patriotism and citizenship.

    As a technician on defense system that is yet to actually be used in a combat situation, Pablo Paredes stood little to no danger himself. However, the thousands of Marines that were being transported would be going into harms way, forced to fight a cruel and unjust war. Perhaps hundreds of them will not return home alive and perhaps they will be forced to contribute to inflicting further inhumane and irreparable damage to the Iraqi people. This is something Pablo’s conscience could not accept.

    As a member of the military, you have not only the right, but the obligation to disobey illegal and immoral orders. The Iraq war is clearly both. Our leadership claimed before us and the world community that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction and was a threat to freedom. We are halfway done destroying the country and still not even a hint of the potential of being close to evidence that suggests it. In addition, there are still no identified ties between 911, Al Qaeda and Iraq. So why are we waging war there? Why are we sacrificing the lives of our young men? And more importantly, why are we doing it against the will of the American people? Virtually all polls show that half, or slightly more than half, of the population does NOT support the US decision to go to War. These same polls show constant decline in the approval ratings for the management of the war, or they directly disapprove of it. Kindly take a moment to see these figures at:

    There is absolutely no shame in standing up for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Our principles state that everyone has the right to these 3 things. We currently have taken it upon ourselves to deprive the Iraqi people of all three. Since the inception of the war, over 5,500 servicemen have deserted. Are we to assume that there are 5,500 crazy cowards who joined the military or perhaps should we begin to entertain the thought that this war is wrong, illegal, immoral and cruel? This year suicide rates among the Marines have reached record highs, again she we assume they too are crazy cowards, or should we question the righteousness of our actions in Iraq? Better yet, should we assume that half this country consists of crazy, shameful cowards or should we ask our leadership in what math text book did they get the algebraic formula that says to hard headed leaders = a COALITION of the willing? Or even yet, maybe we should ask what is it they were willing to?

    I must say for a conservative majority that supposedly voted Bush back into to office due to “moral” issues, you all sure have an interesting disregard for human life. Abortion not okay, but killing hundreds of thousands of civilians is your way of providing “enduring freedom”. Back when I was in school, the word used for such murder in masses was genocide. Invading a country solely for economic gains was called imperialism. I guess I must have been absent the day they taught that genocide + imperialism = enduring freedom. Then again, I was never very good at math.

    Your complaint about the media attention is also quit frankly foolish. The news is FILLED with recounts of heroic feats such as those of the New York gentleman who had a limb blown off by a grenade launcher and was replaced by another soldier who unfortunately was killed shortly after. The young brave newyorker said his biggest suffering was not that he had lost a limb but that he now had to live with the fact that someone died in his place. In fact if you did indeed take the time to actually do that google search for giggles, you would notice that the majority of your findings are blog stuff 100% against Pablo’s actions. Actual news coverage has not been so dramatic as you claim.

    Besides, with so much dissent for this war and its inhumanity, the media has an obligation to cover that dissent. When half the nation is against the war, the media must listen to that side of the story.

    Let me end by saying that the young men and women currently serving in the War are indeed brave in my eyes. Those young folks sacrifice their lives with the FAITH that their country is doing the right thing. God Bless them. I have nothing against them. But we are betraying their faith in us by having them commit cruel, inhumane acts of aggression. And it is also brave, unselfish and patriotic to take a stance (at great personal risk) to say this is wrong. Waging war is wrong. Cruelty and inhumanity is wrong. This great country went from having a secretary of war to a secretary of defense. Why do think that is Mr. North? I’d like to believe that it is because we are not to be in the business of waging war. As the nation with the strongest military we should use that strength to defend this great nation and aid others, not invade others. Maybe that’s what happened to W, given his challenges with English, maybe he mixed those two up. Who knows.


  7. Michelle and Gene--Ex Army and Ex-Marine says:

    We are two people who are no longer in the Service, although we do not 100% agree with the war in Iraq, we think what Pablo Paredes has done and is still doing is nothing but the act of a coward. When anyone joins the service they join knowing that there is a chance of going to war and a chance of putting your life on the line for our Country. Every military branch installs this in your head during Basic Training.

    You are trained to go to war and defend the Country that has given you the right to be here. And now in the time of need this man CHICKENS out and refuses to go. That says nothing for the USA, if our own soliders refuse to go into battle, whether they agree on it or not. They have signed a commitment to our Country, our People, and our way of life, not only when they do these acts of cowardice do they betray their fellow soldiers they also betray their country and the people in their country. This man should not be given any leeway whatsoever. He signed a commitment fully knowing the chance he was taking of his own accord. He defied his orders of his own accord and there is no excuse whatsoever that can be given for him. He is a flat out coward and that is all there is to it. And deserves the maximum punishment that the government is allowed to hand down.