REAL Justice for Danny Chen, Please

(Originally posted on the Narrative [h/t Angry Asian Man]).
An Army sergeant convicted of hounding Pvt. Danny Chen into committing suicide was busted down in rank at his sentencing Wednesday.

Andrew Van Bockel also got 60 days of hard labor — though he won’t actually be working on a chain gang, as he was credited for the 45 days in the brig he had already served.

The 27-year-old soldier was convicted Tuesday of dereliction of duty and maltreatment in the hazing of Chen, a lower East Side resident, who was so sadistically treated by Van Bockel and fellow soldiers that he took his own life in Afghanistan in October, 2011.

Van Bockel is the seventh soldier found guilty by a military jury for his role in Chen’s demise.

In this case, the jury found that Van Bockel taunted the 19-year-old soldier with racist nicknames, ordered him to belly crawl over rocks, and made him bark out orders in Chinese to give the platoon a laugh.

Others testified that Van Bockel allowed other soldiers to torture Chen by beating him up, throwing rocks at him, and forcing him to do pushups with a mouth full of water.

Van Bockel argued in court that Chen was a lousy soldier and what he was doing was “corrective training.”

Liz OuYang, who has served as a spokeswoman for Chen’s immigrant parents, called Van Bockel “a disgrace to the U.S. Army,” and denounced his “light sentence.” (Source)
Let's try this again, shall we?  Private Danny Chen went to Afghanistan to serve what he thought was his know, that place where he could fulfill his dreams and where his life was considered valuable?

Guess he - and we - were wrong (again).

This is precisely the reason I adamantly discourage POC from serving in the American military.  Here we are in the 21st Century and POC are still fighting - and dying - for a country and all the rights it holds dear, which it conveniently denies POC.

These soldiers drove Chen to suicide.  They were found guilty of it in a court of law, and yet...nothing.  Chen's tormentors will go on with their lives, but he won't get to.  That is not "justice".

That is some Trayvon Martin-type shit and the outcry needs to magnify.  Thirty years ago Vincent Chin's murderers got off with a slap on the wrist.  And thirty years later, ain't a damn thing changed.

So let's not be quiet on this.  The outrage on this hasn't nearly been loud enough.  Chen was 19 when he died, a child himself and just 2 years older than Trayvon Martin.  That is unacceptable.

Yes, we can start with the usual rounds of petitions and blog posts denouncing the utterly incompetent handling of this matter, but I also maintain that POC need to stop encouraging our kids to go into the American military.  Let all the straight white boys go to war and defend the hypocrisy of this democracy.  It's quite fitting when you think about it.  In the meantime, our days of service need to end now.  America has been thoroughly ungrateful towards POC who - whether voluntarily or involuntarily - have contributed their very lives to make this country worth anything.  And America has been profoundly irresponsible with the benefits provided by the contributions of POC.

As 2012 ends, so does this.

Chén Yǔhuī (May 26, 1992 – October 3, 2011)


  1. Perla Buttons11/25/12, 4:23 PM

    I just do not know what to say. I'm just so profoundly sad. And angry as hell.

    I have a cousin who serves in the US Army (he is of Filipino and Chinese heritage). I'm furious that his service - and the service of other POC - is not respected and that sadistic, racist abuse goes practically unpunished.

  2. I am so glad you offered up a real and tangible solution/type of protest to this ongoing issue. Right now I am so exhausted at all of this - how POC are treated by our supposed own country. Getting justice as a civilian is damn near impossible and pretty much non-existent when in the military.

    Like you said - 30 years and not a damn thing has changed. That's where I'm at now to the tune of electing to go live in another country entirely. Meanwhile I like to do what I can - and starting a campaign and helping with encouraging POCs to NOT enter the US military - thank you - will be adding that to the list.

    Imagine. The panic. That would ensue. Should POCs just stop. Enlisting.
    Pretty skinny military force I'd imagine.
    Be a nice wakeup call for USA.

  3. Absolutely sickening. It's just revolting how the military will stick up for its golden (white and straight) boys, no matter what awful shit they pull.

  4. So they get a free pass for torturing a human being and fellow soldier? Yes I agree POC need to stop joining the military especially since most of the time they are being sent to kill other POC in imperialist wars. Women need to stay away too, I'm always reading about how common rape is in the military.

    1. Leo Princess11/26/12, 7:12 PM

      "I'm always reading about how common rape is in the military."

      Yup. Saw a trailer for a documentary on that very topic, where a survivor quoted her superior officers as saying, "You're the third woman to report a rape this week. What is this, a joke? Do you guys think this is funny? Are you in kahoots?".

      So....yea, tell me why (if I was a U.S. citizen) my Black, female behind should sign up for that shyt. If I'm going to serve my country, I need to watch my back around my 'brothers' as well as the enemy? Sounds fun, but I'll pass.

  5. You know what the worst part is? Most whites blame Private Danny Chen. They claim he was too weak. They claim that if he could not handle "simple bullying," he was not fit to be a soldier.

    There is a difference between dealing with an enemy in the field and an enemy in your own barracks. And if this is such an effective "filtering" technique, why don't they use it on the white soldiers?

    Oh, and let's not forget the blatant lack of attention from the mainstream media.


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