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US soldier disputing legality of Iraq war facing court-martial for desertion

[JURIST] US Army Sgt. Ricky Clousing [advocacy site], an Iraq war veteran, will face a court-martial this week for charges of desertion after leaving his barracks on his return from Iraq last year. Clousing’s attorney said that he has agreed to a plea bargain and intends to plead guilty to a lesser charge of absent without leave. Clousing, who has said he refuses to participate in a war with "no legal basis to be fought," left his post at Fort Bragg in June 2005. He turned himself in [JURIST report] at Fort Lewis in August.

Clousing was deployed to Baghdad in December 2004 after training as an interrogator for the 82nd Airborne, and while there said he witnessed the unprovoked killing of an Iraqi man by US troops at a checkpoint. When he raised the issue with superiors he said he was told he "needed to shut up," according to AP. Clousing has declined to seek conscientious objector status [Selective Service backgrounder] as he says he is not inherently opposed to all wars. The Raleigh News and Observer has more.

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