Courage to Resist. April 11, 2008 update

PFC James Burmeister recently returned from Canada and turned himself in to the Army at Fort Knox, Kentucky on March 4. In May 2007, James refused redeployment to Iraq. He lived in Canada for ten months with the help of the War Resisters Support Campaign. In order to move on with his life, he returned to the US and surrendered to the military. He has been threatened with a court martial and jail, however he is still waiting for the military to figure out what they are going to do with him. Supporters hope that James is discharged soon “in lieu of court martial” like hundreds of other returning AWOL soldiers are every year.

15 min. excerpt from a January 2008 radio interview with Erich and James Burmeister aired on KLCC of Eugene, Oregon:{mp3}j_burmeister{/mp3}

At a March 16th Eugene, Oregon anti-war rally, James’ father Erich Burmeister described his son as “a Eugene homeboy, known in his unit as “the hippie from Oregon”” who has taken a “stand to kill no more after being brain injured by a roadside bomb.”


A gunner behind a 50 caliber machine gun, James was witness to and forced to participate in acts of cruelty, including providing perimeter security for the now infamous “Bait and Kill” teams.

After months of struggling with PTSD and homesickness in Canada, James returned to the United States and turned himself in to the Army. Erich believes that, “James yearns to heal. There are many, many thousands of other young men and women like my son, needing the support of their own communities, more than anything else. Their knowledge of the true cost of war, the destruction of the human spirit is what we must keep in our hearts. Words alone cannot stop this war. Passionate action by all of us will.”

Note: An Internet search of “James Burmeister” will turn up references to a unrelated racist skinhead soldier jailed in 1995 for murder. Our war resister James is a 23-year-old soldier of color.