Sunday, 5 February 2012

Veterans For Peace ~ Camilo Mejía

    • Saturday, 3 March 2012
    • Time
      14:00 until 17:00
  • Where
    Bradley University Neumiller Hall
  • Description
    Veterans For Peace ~ Camilo Mejía will be speaking at Bradley University, March 3rd, 2pm in the Neumiller Hall

    Mejía spent six months in Iraq (his first combat tour after enlisting), then returned for a 2-week furlough to the US after which he did not return for duty. He... was charged with desertion and sentenced to one year in prison for refusing to return to fight in Iraq. In March 2004 he turned himself in to the US military and filed an application for conscientious objector status.

    Mejía was court-martialed, and claimed that he left his post in order to avoid duties that could be considered war crimes: more specifically, the abuse and torture of prisoners.

    During his time in custody he was recognized by Amnesty International as a prisoner of conscience and was awarded by Refuse and Resist with its Courageous Resister Award. He was also the recipient of the Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience Award which was presented by his attorney Louis Font.

    "I say without any pride that I did my job as a soldier. I commanded an infantry squad in combat and we never failed to accomplish our mission. But those who called me a coward, without knowing it, are also right. I was a coward not for leaving the war, but for having been a part of it in the first place. Refusing and resisting this war was my moral duty, a moral duty that called me to take a principled action. I failed to fulfill my moral duty as a human being and instead I chose to fulfill my duty as a soldier. All because I was afraid. I was terrified, I did not want to stand up to the government and the army, I was afraid of punishment and humiliation. I went to war because at the moment I was a coward, and for that I apologize to my soldiers for not being the type of leader I should have been."