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2004-11-12

U.S. Army Veteran Sues Over "Back-Door Draft" Recall to Active Duty

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Former U.S. Army soldier David Miyasato filed a lawsuit seeking to restrain the Army from involuntarily recalling him to active duty. On the eve of Veterans Day, he received word that the Army has revoked its order. We speak with David Miyasato and his attorney, Eric Seitz. [includes rush transcript]

A former U.S. Army soldier has filed a lawsuit seeking to restrain the Army from involuntarily recalling him to active duty. David Miyasato enlisted in the Army in 1987 and served in the 1991 Gulf War. He was honorably discharged on August 15, 1991.

In September of this year, the Army issued orders directing David Miyasato to report to a military facility in South Carolina on November 9, 2004. He said no and filed suit.

On the eve of Veterans Day, David Miyasato received word that the Army has revoked its order directing him to report for active duty.

  • David Miyasato, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court seeking to restrain the Army from involuntarily recalling him to active duty. He enlisted in the Army in 1987 and served in the during the 1991 Gulf War. He was honorably discharged on August 15, 1991. He is married and has a 7-month old daughter.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: As we end today’s program, with former U.S. soldier, he is in Hawaii now, and he has fought the U.S. government against being sent back to Iraq. He is a former U.S. army soldier who filed a lawsuit seeking to restrain the Army from involuntarily recalling him to active duty. David Miyasato enlisted in the Army in ’87, served during the Gulf War, was honorably discharged August 15, 1991. In September of this year, the Army issued orders directing David Miyasato to report to a military facility in South Carolina. On November 9th he said no, filed suit. He and his lawyer join us now. David Miyasato, welcome to Democracy Now!

DAVID MIYASATO: Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, can you talk about this victory of yours that you won’t be sent back to Iraq, on what grounds?

DAVID MIYASATO: Well, I have served out my obligation, and the Army has recognized that. They gave me my discharge papers and it states when I was supposed to be discharged from the Army. And that was actually nine years ago.

JUAN GONZALEZ: We’re also joined by Eric Seitz, who is the lawyer for David Miyasato, welcome to Democracy Now!, Eric.

ERIC SEITZ: Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: Could you tell us briefly, what excuse did the Army use? This is almost — this is clearly a clear example of a backdoor draft. What was the argument of the Army on this?

ERIC SEITZ: Well we got no justifications for quite a while. David wrote a letter and his congressional representatives made inquiries in his behalf and no one was responding or giving any justifications. And if we hadn’t filed a lawsuit, one of two things might have happened. Either he would have gone, or else if he didn’t go, he would have been arrested as a deserter. So we filed a lawsuit at that point, obviously, we caught the Army’s attention, and yesterday on a radio show, one of the Army’s representatives for the first time admitted that a mistake had been made. They describe it as a computer glitch, and they say that they’re very sorry that that occurred. But the bottom line is that David and probably other people could very well have been activated, and have been activated who are not otherwise conditioned to question what the Army does and we’re very concerned about that.

AMY GOODMAN: We followed a similar case here in New York, Jay Ferriola, who was in the military. He had resigned, and he was called back. He also ultimately recently won his case. How many other people do you think are in this situation, Eric?

ERIC SEITZ: Well, actually, I collaborated to some extent with Captain Ferriola’s attorneys. They were very helpful to us. We have no way of knowing. They’ve told that some 4,000 individual reservists have been called up. When we had this conversation yesterday, we asked the Army to assure us that they would go through and rectify any mistakes that have been made, but my belief is that probably mistakes have been made out of necessity because they’re having difficulty filling certain positions. Obviously, this war is not popular in a number of circles, and I think that unpopularity is going to grow and it’s going to become even more difficult. We will find, and someone else called in yesterday on the show that David and I were on saying that he had a friend under similar circumstances. So, we don’t know the extent of the problem, but we do know the extent of the difficulty that the military is now facing in terms of having to call back people who have already been there, having to extend tours of duty and it and looks like they’re really under a lot of stress fulfilling what they believe are their minimal troop levels.

AMY GOODMAN: David Miyasato, we give you the last word on this day after Veterans Day to other soldiers who might be in your position?

DAVID MIYASATO: Well, I would say that go through the channels and contact your representatives, and at the same time if you’re facing a deadline, go ahead and just find some good representation that you can use to stop your orders.

AMY GOODMAN: David Miyasato, and Eric Seitz, I want to thank you very much for joining us.

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