At Least OUR Combatants Can Still Use The Courts- To Sue US

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The Army Reserves--an institution where, according to their advertisements on tv, you can wear a cool beret while flying in a helicopter and learning about computers. Signing up, however, means your "part-time" service commitment to our armed forces can get full-time in a hurry. Enter Sgt. Erik Botta, who is about to get his fifth all-expense-paid vacation in the Middle East.

Sgt. Botta, a reservist who enlisted in 2000, asked to go into active duty after the 9/11 attack (which, in hindsight, maybe he should have slept on), and went back into the reserves in 2004, does not want to go back to Iraq (but sergeant, haven't you heard that a day in Iraq is now like a day shopping outside in lovely Indiana?). He's served four combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq while on active duty between '02 and '04, and says that his fifth deployment "is arbitrary, and that soldiers in similar cases have been granted exemptions or an honorable discharge." Since he left active duty he has married and is seeking the exemption so that he may finish his degree in electrical engineering. To avoid deployment he is now on his third appeal through military channels and has actually filed a federal suit in U.S. District Court in West Palm Beach. He contends that the Army's refusal to grant him an exemption constitutes "unlawful custody." (Botta probably should've read the fine print on his enlistment papers just a little harder.)

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