Randy Caudill/Deserters (multiple responses)

SIXTIES-L (SIXTIES-L@jefferson.village.virginia.edu)
Wed, 24 Sep 1997 18:42:29 -0400


From: kslinkar@concentric.net
Subject: Re: The Marine Corps and the Deserter

Mr. Ed Palm:

I find myself in general agreement regarding your recent communication
regarding the gentleman accused of being a deserter from the corps.
While it might be possible for a thoroughgoing pacifist to argue that
the military should be abolished as an institution, as long as it
remains, logic would seem to dictate that it must treat desertion as a
crime. Otherwise, it is difficult to imagine it maintaining discipline
and unit cohesiveness. And as you say, it appears that they just want
to clear their books on this matter.

Karl Slinkard



From: GS320041@wvnvaxa.wvnet.edu
Subject: Randy Caudil (sic.?) Update

Sixties folk,
I just heard on NPR that Caudil has been charged with desertion.
Still, as I said yesterday, the fact that he is not confined suggests
that the Marine Corps is looking for a way to clear this case as
painlessly and gracefully as possible. I am still betting that he
will get a discharge in lieu of court-martial or that he will be
offered a plea bargain that precludes jail time.
And again, he is only under "restriction." That is a holdover
from the really bad old days when enlisted people were treated like
children in almost every respect. It is an assault on human dignity.
(No argument there.] But he only has to sign in periodically with a
duty NCO; he is not under guard or somehow locked in. He could walk
away if he so desires. Instead, I rather suspect that, now that he is
back in the Corps' clutches, he is ready to put this behind him once
and for all so that he can shuttle back and forth between the U.S. and
Canada without fear.
In any event, were I the court-martial convening authority (vain
supposition, since I only got to major), I would offer him a discharge
in lieu of trial.
Ed Palm

P.S.: If you have never met me and am wondering what I'm like, just
think of the "Old Major" on Fawlty Towers. That's close enough. Here
at GSC I even answer to that appellation.

From: "Ron Jacobs" <rjacobs@thyme.uvm.edu>
Subject: Re:Randy Caudill

> Your characterization of desertion as a "crime" would seem to
> indicate that you believe it should not be a crime to desert in
> wortime if you do not agree with the war that is being fought. I am
> afraid that no counntry's legal system would agree with that
> premise, which I heard often during the sixties. The minority of
> protestors cannot nullify the laws of the majority in any democratic
> country. The suspect will have his day in court, like any other
> citizen. Landed immigratn status in Canada does not nullify his US
> citizenship.
> Jim Cummins
> jimc1@earthlink.net

I don't think there should be an imperial military, if any military
at all. Sure, in the laws of every land, desertion is a crime.
However, my reason for placing quotation marks around the word was
simply that in the context of the crime of war, deciding not to fight
in a war (whether that decision is made before or after one ends up
in the military) is in my mind not a crime. Laws us humans make
usually serve those in power and are subject to the designs of those
in power-hence desertion is always a crime in the eyes of the state
since without such laws many soldiers wouldn't fight in a war no matter
what. (Heck, slavery was legal as was Auschwitz).

-Ron Jacobs


From: epm2@lehigh.edu (TED MORGAN)
Subject: Re: The Marine Corps and the Deserter

Ed Palm's enlightening post reminded me of Jan Barry's quote, "To kill on
military orders and be a criminal, or to refuse to kill and be a criminal is
the moral agony of America's Vietnam war generation."

Department of Political Science
Maginnes Hall #9
Lehigh University
Bethlehem, PA 18015

phone: (610) 758-3345
fax: (610) 758-6554