Staff Sergeant Camilo Mejía became the new face of the antiwar movement when he applied for discharge from the army as a conscientious objector. After serving in the army for nearly nine years, he was the first known Iraq war to refuse to fight, citing
moral concerns about the war and the US occupation. His principled stand helped rally the growing opposition and embolden other soldiers.
Mejía was eventually convicted of desertion by a military court and sentenced to a year in prison, prompting Amnesty International to declare him a prisoner of conscience. Here Mejía tells his own story, from his upbringing in Central America to his service in Iraq — where he witnessed prisoner abuse — to his struggle today to end the occupation there.
In this stirring book, he argues passionately for the end to an unjust war. As New York Times columnist Bob Herbert writes, “The issues [Mejía] has raised deserve a close reading by the nation as a whole. . . He has made a contribution to the truth about Iraq.”
The first book to explore the idea and effects of moral injury and effects on veterans, their families, and their communities.
Although veterans make up only 7 percent of the U.S. population, they account for an alarming 20 percent of all suicides. And though treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder has undoubtedly alleviated suffering and allowed many service members returning from combat to transition to civilian life, the suicide rate for veterans under thirty has been increasing. Research by Veterans Administration health professionals and veterans’ own experiences now suggest an ancient but unaddressed wound of war may be a factor: moral injury. This deep-seated sense of transgression includes feelings of shame, grief, meaninglessness, and remorse from having violated core moral beliefs.
Rita Nakashima Brock and Gabriella Lettini, who both grew up in families deeply affected by war, have been working closely with vets on what moral injury looks like, how vets cope with it, and what can be done to heal the damage inflicted on soldiers’ consciences. In Soul Repair, the authors tell the stories of four veterans of wars from Vietnam to our current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan—Camillo “Mac” Bica, Herman Keizer Jr., Pamela Lightsey, and Camilo Mejía—who reveal their experiences of moral injury from war and how they have learned to live with it. Brock and Lettini also explore its effect on families and communities, and the community processes that have gradually helped soldiers with their moral injuries.
Soul Repair will help veterans, their families, members of their communities, and clergy understand the impact of war on the consciences of healthy people, support the recovery of moral conscience in society, and restore veterans to civilian life. When a society sends people off to war, it must accept responsibility for returning them home to peace.
Violence begets violence so believes the majority of people around the world who have stood up in protest against war. Stop the Next War Now is a reflective look and call to action to end violence, by acclaimed peace activists, experts, and visionaries, including Eve Ensler, Barbara Lee, Arianna Huffington, Janeane Garafalo, Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Hong Kingston, and many more. The book shares expert insight on the issues and powers-that-be that encourage war, including the media, politicians, global militarization, and the pending scarcity of natural resources. A powerful, smart, and passionate work, this book aims to educate and reflect on the effectiveness of peace movement activities and offer hope through shared ideas, action steps, and checklists to transform a culture of violence to a culture of peace. How can people humanize each other, ask the authors, and act as responsible global citizens? With vitality, joy, and a dash of CODEPINK-style humor, Stop the Next War Now insists that the time is ripe for the first-ever global movement to put an end to war and tells readers what they can do about it.