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R.I.P.: Joshua Casteel - Iraq War Veteran and War Resister – Presente!
anti-war / imperialism |
Thursday August 30, 2012 04:15 by Ciaron O'Reilly - Pitstop Ploughshares
After attending a workshop last Saturday by U.S. Iraq war veteran Logan Mehl-Laituri at the Greenbelt Festival/ England, I was informed that Joshua Casteel was in a very bad way with the cancer with which he has been struggling. On Sunday we learnt that Joshua had passed away.
OBITUARY: Joshua Casteel – Presente!
Posted on August 25, 2012 - Pax Christi USA http://tinyurl.com/93cgonz
I first met Joshua Casteel during our third Pitstop Ploughshares trial in Dublin/ Ireland in 2006. He was in town to confront Jeb Bush, then Governor of Florida / brother of George Jr., also coincidently visiting Dublin. Josh was great support to us during our trial and following our acquittal. He was intelligent, a good communicator, passionate, devout and like many veterans who have turned against the war had travelled so far in such a short ime in a deepening radical analysis of empire and war.
Josh had enlisted in
the U.S. Army Reserves at age 17 and received an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point at 18; after training as an interrogator and studying Arabic, he served at the Joint Interrogation and Debriefing Center at Abu Ghraib, Iraq, from June 2004 to January 2005, as a member of the interrogation units sent to overhaul the prison after the prisoner abuse scandal; during his time at Abu Ghraib, hecame to realize he was a conscientious objector and was honorably discharged from Active Duty as a conscientious objector. Josh wrote and spoke on his experiences during war, served on the board of Iraq Veterans Against the War, and published Letters From Abu Ghraib in 2008.
His conversion to Christian pacifism during an Abu Ghraib interrogation is well documented in this youtube clip.......excerpt from the movie, Soldiers of Conscience, in
which Josh featured prominently. The excerpt is from Josh’s story: http://tinyurl.com/8ujat27
Other youtube clips of Joshua's reflections.....
On returning to the U.S. he C.O.'d from the military and hooked up with folks from the Catholic Worker movement in South Bend, Indianna.
Along with two former interrogators & fellow members of Iraq Veterans for Peace,
Stephen Lewis and Tony Lagouranis, Joshua returned to Ireland and joined with Catholic Worker, Anti-War Ireland and others in a demonstration at Shannon following our acquittal in Oct 2006.
Photos & report
I last bumped into Joshua on the streets of Dublin in Dec. 2008 as he was in town for a reading of his play "Reruns" about his experience in Iraq at the Abbey Theatre. A good anti-war crew attended the reading of his fine play. I recall he was amused that both he and I had ended up togther in the same "bash em if you can" section on a an english Nazi hate website!
We celebrate Joshua's life and witness and remember those closest to him most deeply impacted by his passing.
FURTHER SPEECHES AND REFLECTIONS BY JOSH
(39 min) Joshua Casteel acceptance speech of Bishop Dingman Peace Award - March 31, 2012 http://vimeo.com/39739113 Joshua Casteel, is the 2012 Catholic Peace Ministry's Bishop Dingman Peace Award Recipient. Listen to Joshua's inspiring journey to "love of enemy."
You can read one of Josh’s Lenten reflections, published in the u.s. Pax Chrsti newsletter in 2009, by clicking here:
Josh also had a CaringBridge site to help share with family and friends his story as he went through treatment for cancer. You can read more by clicking here: http://tinyurl.com/8sk8z4j