U.S. War Heroes of the Iraq War
War Resisters from within the Military
Every War has its heroes, those who take risks to protect the values we cherish; this war is no different.
We honor those soldiers who risked loss of liberty, economic deprivation, and social ostracism. Each of these men and women of the military have at some point refused orders in this immoral, illegal, unjustified war the United States is currently waging in Iraq, or the occupation in Afghanistan. They obeyed their conscience over illegal orders.
Above is the list of resisters in order listed. Go here to see the resisters in alphabetical order.
Names with * indicate they are presently in legal jeopardy, or currently incarcerated, see these stories to see how you can help. Multiple resisters listed on each page.
March 15, 2004--First conscientious objector imprisoned for refusing to fight Iraq War, anti-war hero Stephen Funk returned home from six months in North Carolina military prison to a community celebration in Oakland, California March 14, 2004. The event was announced on the front page of the local news section of the San Francisco Chronicle and was covered by most Bay Area television stations, Democracy Now!, and many others. A dozen progressive organizations presented Stephen with an �Anti-War Hero� plaque in recognition for his courageous stand against an unjust war.
In a significant victory, a military jury acquitted Marine Stephen Funk, Iraq War resister, of "desertion" on September 6, 2003. However, they then convicted him of the lesser charge of "unauthorized absence" (aka AWOL). The jury later sentenced him to six months imprisonment. During his court martial supporters rallied to his defense nationwide.
Read this by Stephan's advisor Aimee Allison.
On Friday, 21 May 2004, US Army National Guard staff sergeant Camilo Mejia was sentenced to one year in prison, reduction in rank to E-1, forfeiture of 2/3 pay for one year, and a bad conduct discharge, by a special court martial at Fort Steward. Camilo Mejia had been charged with desertion, although he applied for conscientious objector status.
Camilo Mejia went into hiding after returning from duty in Iraq for rest and recreation (see this), to prepare his conscientious objection application. This application has since been denied.
Ironically, just days after the sentencing of Camilo Mejia to one year for refusing to return to Iraq to kill and torture other humans, Jeremy Sivits received a similar sentence for his part in the mistreatment of Iraqis at Abu Ghraib prison.
Camilo was held at Fort Sill military prison, in Oklahoma, imprisoned for his conscientious objection to participating in war. He appealed his sentence, (see story here). He was released from prison on February 15th, 2005.
I am only a regular person that got tired of being afraid to follow his own conscience. For far too long I allowed others to direct my actions even when I knew that they were wrong....To those who have called me a coward I say that they are wrong, and that without knowing it, they are also right. They are wrong when they think that I left the war for fear of being killed. I admit that fear was there, but there was also the fear of killing innocent people, the fear of putting myself in a position where to survive means to kill, there was the fear of losing my soul in the process of saving my body, the fear of losing myself to my daughter, to the people who love me, to the man I used to be, the man I wanted to be. I was afraid of waking up one morning to realize my humanity had abandoned me.
Camilo Mejia, from his statement upon receiving the "Courageous Resister Award", August 2004
Camilo Mejia's homepage
Camilo was interviewed on CBS "60 Minutes"- transcript here.
Camilo was released on February 15th, 2005.
He has since written a book. Road from ar Ramadi, The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Camilo Mej�a. Get it at an independent bookstore near you.
A self-described "good old boy" born in Texas, Massey was honorably discharged from the Corps in December 2003 after 12 years of active duty. Trained as infantry, he was stationed in Parris Island as an infantry instructor for three years, then moved on to recruiting duty, then was deployed to serve as Staff Sergeant in Iraq in command of more than 35 men. During his tour of duty in Iraq he and his troop killed approximately 30 unarmed civilians, including children. Staff Sergeant Massey was unable to reconcile his training, US rhetoric regarding the "liberation of Iraq", and traditional American values with the orders he was given in Iraq. He refused to continue killing and asked to be seen by a psychologist who sent him back stateside immediately for treatment. Jimmy was ultimately granted an honorable discharge and a diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
He describes the U.S. invading force invading Iraq like "a bunch of pit bulls loose on a cage full of rabbits" right from the very beginning, and that is what turned the Iraqi people against the U.S. occupiers, the killing of innocent civilians. For example he tells of receiving orders from higher command to open fire on a non-violent demonstration of Iraqis with M-16s and 50-cal. machine guns.
When he went to his superiors about his changing feelings regarding the war, he was offered a desk job away from combat, he responded to this offer by saying �Thank you sergeant major, I don�t want your money anymore. I don�t want your benefits. You killed some civilians, and you�re gonna have to live with it partner, and I�m gonna tell the truth.� Massey hired a good lawyer which meant that he was discharged rather than court-martialed. Since his discharge, he has been telling the truth.
His conviction is this: "I�m not going to kill innocent civilians for no government. ... I was taught and raised by parents and relatives that there are certain things you don�t do, and killing innocent civilians is one of them."
Update: Jimmy Massey testifies at a Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board hearing to defend Jeremy Hinzman's (see next entry below) decision to go to Canada. See this
Update 2: Responding to Pentagon misinformation campaign. See interview on "Democracy Now"
Embedded Journalism At Its Worst: The Ron Harris Smear Campaign Against Marine Sgt. Jimmy Massey
When A Marine Speaks Truth to Power: Why I Stand By My Interview With Sgt. Jimmy Massey
Jeremy Hinzman was a United States soldier in the elite infantry division, the 82nd Airborne.
He served in Afghanistan and, after returning to America, heard they were being sent to Iraq.
Hinzman thought the war would only benefit the likes of the Vice President�s old company Halliburton, which gained the lions share of post-war rebuilding contracts.
He also didn�t believe the stated reasons for the Iraq war.
So, one night he drove north to Canada to seek asylum. He is currently living in Vancouver with his wife Nga Nguyen and daughter Liam. His case is in Canadian courts to achieve refugee status.
Jeremy Hinzman's homepage
Update: Jeremy's case for refugee status in Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board and that hearing has now been completed. Jimmy Massey (see above) testified at that hearing in regards to the deliberate killing of civilians in Iraq.
Call or write Canadian authorities. See here (the War Resisters Support Campaign in Canada) for more details. A decision has been announced, and the struggle continues, as Hinzman appeals to Canadian courts. "Let them stay!"
Brandon Hughey has also fled the United States and is in Canada seeking refugee status.
Hughey, a San Angelo, Texas native and 2003 Central High School graduate, fled his Army unit before it shipped out to Iraq in March. It was, he says, his obligation to leave.
"I feel that if a soldier is given an order that he knows to not only be illegal, but immoral as well, then it his responsibility to refuse that order," he wrote in response to e-mailed questions from the San Angelo Standard-Times. "It is also my belief that if a soldier is refusing an order he knows to be wrong, it is not right for him to face persecution for it."
"If you were given an order to participate in an unlawful occupation that is resulting in the deaths of thousands of innocent people with no justifiable cause, would you be able to live with yourself if you carried out that order?" he wrote in his e-mail to the Standard-Times.
David Sanders, age 20, is from Arizona. He is now in Canada seeking asylum. Story on those who fled to Canada here.
Dan Felushko is a 23 year old resister who is also seeking asylum in Canada. Felushko has duel citizenship in the U.S. and Canada, so will be able to stay in Canada without problem, but faces arrest if he ever returns to the United States. Story on those who fled to Canada here.