Courage to Resist Audio Interviews
Army journalist resists return to Iraq
By Courage to Resist. 28:45 min. June 12, 2009
Home on leave from Iraq in the summer of 2008, Army journalist Samantha Schutz decided to go AWOL rather than return to that country and be part of a war she opposed. With the help of a lawyer and a GI rights counselor, she arranged to turn herself in, and in June of 2009, Samantha was released from the Army with a general discharge under honorable conditions. This Courage to Resist interview with Samantha was recorded while she was still AWOL, waiting to turn herself in.
Army arrests objector who thought he was discharged
By Courage to Resist. 20:12 min. May 14, 2009
After five months in the Army, Dustin Che Stevens sat down during Airborne graduation in order to refuse graduation. He was told to go home and wait for his discharge. Seven years later, he was arrested for desertion. "I started reading [literature on conscientious objection] and started thinking for myself. I knew that in my heart and in my mind that I could not kill anyone... I went back and told them that." Today Dustin awaits a court martial, unless he "volunteers" to deploy to Afghanistan.
Help support Dustin! Donate to his defense fund at www.couragetoresist.org/dustin
Interview with Prof. Stephen Zunes: The Afghanistan mess
By Courage to Resist. 17:00 min. May 10, 2009
Middle East scholar Dr. Stephen Zunes talks about how U.S. imperial hubris helped create, and continues to deepen and intensify the deadly chaos in Afghanistan. "The war not only was raised some moral and legal questions, but it has not resolved the situation… it has made matters worse. The problem is that there has been a gross oversight on the military side of the equation. The really important issues… have been overlooked."
Command rape victim, GI resister finally discharged
Courage to Resist. 17:50 min. February 14, 2009
When military police officer Suzanne Swift was in Iraq, she was sexually coerced by a superior, then harassed by him after she ended the unwanted relationship. Back in the States, she went AWOL rather than return to Iraq when her unit was ordered back. Swift was recently discharged from the Army and tells the story about what she had to endure.
Iraq war vet Andre Shepherd seeks asylum in Germany
By Military Counseling Network, Connection e.V., and Courage to Resist. December 3, 2008
FRANKFURT, Germany - U.S. Army Specialist Andre' Shepherd applied for asylum in Germany Nov. 26, becoming the first Iraq War veteran to pursue refugee status in Europe.
After attending college and failing to find meaningful employment, Shepherd enlisted in the military early in 2004. The promises of financial security and international adventure easily trumped working at a fast food chain. He became an Apache airframe mechanic, hoping to someday qualify up to the role of helicopter pilot.
Audio interview by Courage to Resist. 23:30 min. December 8, 2008
Marine Benjamin Lewis pledges recall refusal
By Courage to Resist. October 27, 2008
Marine Benjamin "Benji" Lewis served two tours in Iraq and was honorably discharged in 2007. Recently, he received notification that he was a candidate to be recalled to active duty. Last week at a Winter Soldier event in Portland, Oregon, Lewis publicly announced his intention to refuse reactivation from the Inactive Ready Reserve (IRR). Ten days before that event, Lewis spoke with Courage to Resist.
Part one. 18:20 min. (above). Part two. 12:01 min. (below)
Iraq vet Brandon Neely successfully resists IRR recall
By Courage to Resist. October 8, 2008
When the Army recalled Iraq vet Brandon Neely from his Inactive Ready Reserve status to active duty, Bradon did not answer the call. Today he is president of the Houston chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War. Brandon declares, “I looked at my dad and told him right there I’m not going back.... I never thought in a million years that the government and the President would send troops into harms way for nothing.... I got on the Internet and came across the Courage to Resist website.”
Part one. 16:14 min. (above). Part two. 10:44 min. (below)
Hart Viges on becoming a conscientious objector after Iraq
By Courage to Resist. September 29, 2008
Benjamin “Hart” Viges joined to defend America in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Hart quickly found himself as a mortar man attached with the 82nd Airborne. Later he participated in the initial invasion of Iraq. “After we killed enough people (with artillery), we moved into the town… I saw dogs fighting, donkeys fighting, birds fighting in the sky. It seemed like the violence from humans fighting spread out to the rest of life that lived there....I came head on with the question of how can I be a Christian and live the teaching of Jesus, and be a soldier at the same time?”
Part one. 19:06 min. (above). Part two. 8:12 min. (below)
Skyler James resists war, anti-gay harassment
By Courage to Resist. 10:33 min. August 18, 2008
Skyler James, an out lesbian, joined the Army in 2006 at her parents strong urging. After a year of anti-homosexual harassment, and before she was to be deployed, Skylar went AWOL and lived since in Canada. She spoke to Courage to Resist from her home in Ontario.
“Someone ran up behind me, screamed ‘dyke!’ and punched me in the back of the head… I was the only female in the motor pool… They would claim me as one of the guys, but after they found out I was gay they completely turned their back on me…. I was receiving hate letters on my door, threatening to injure me and kill me.”
Tim Richard turns against Iraq War, settles in Canada
By Courage to Resist. 15:44 min. August 18, 2008
Tim Richard enlisted in the Iowa National Guard for six years in 1999. Just before his enlistment was up, he was notified that his new release date would be 2031! In November 2005, when he was training for deployment to Iraq, Richard went AWOL and made his way to Canada where he was able to become a citizen, since his father was a citizen of that country.
“It was the National Guard; I thought we would be doing disaster relief and that sort of thing…. After 9/11 I wanted to go get whoever did this to America…. But after the Iraq War dragged on for a bit I realized that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, just a lot of poor people and a lot of dead bodies.”
PFC Jose Crespo does not redeploy to Iraq
September 25, 2008 UPDATE. Army PCF Jose Crespo won a protracted battle for a hardship discharge from the Army this week, avoiding court martial for refusing to return to Iraq. We're looking forward to posting a follow up interview with Jose soon.
By Courage to Resist, 8:30 min. Update June 13, 2008
At 5:00 am this morning, Army PCF Jose Crespo at Fort Carson, Colorado did not return to Iraq as scheduled. Jose told his sergeant that he was not "refusing" to deploy, but that he "could not" do so due to the circumstances in his family. "Well if you won't get on [the bus], then you're refusing." Jose replied, "Whatever you say." He is was placed on restriction and prepared to face court martial.
Airman Michael Thurman wins CO discharge
By Courage to Resist. 14:21 min. July 29, 2008
During basic training, Air Force recruit Michael Thurman began to have misgivings about the war in Iraq -- and all war. By the time he was assigned to his first duty station, he realized that he could not continue working for the war machine. He applied for conscientious objector status, and after working with Courage to Resist, he was discharged from the Air Force eight months later.
William Shearer gets out of Army
By Courage to Resist. 19:40 min. June 18, 2008
While GI William Shearer was serving in Iraq, he began having serious problems in his personal life. Shearer felt he got no support from the Army for dealing with those problems and began to feel that he was only a body to the military. When he returned home, his marriage had fallen apart and he was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Again, he felt that he received no meaningful help from the Army, and decided to find away to get out. Shearer talked with Courage to Resist from his home in Florida.