“The delicacy and fragility of life hit me”: Kyle Toon’s Journey to Conscientious Objection

It was the police murder of George Floyd, in mid-2020, that got Toon to identify as a conscientious objector.  “The delicacy and fragility of life hit me” after that May 25, he told me. With the national uprising all around him, he realized “I have to create change in myself.”

Contagious Courage: Conscientious Objection Around the World

What might an international version of this book look like? Maybe, just maybe, it should focus on where this all began. When people ask me about my next book project, I say a lot of things — my MS memoir, a biography of the long-overlooked Lewis Douglass or Charles G. Bolte. But I also mentionContinue reading “Contagious Courage: Conscientious Objection Around the World”

How military veterans are answering the call to defend Black lives

From marching in the streets to forming human walls of protection around protesters, veterans are playing a quiet but important role in demanding racial justice.

John Lewis was a conscientious objector to war. Did you know that?

This blog, like my book, doesn’t tend to dwell on the brave folk who completely avoided military jurisdiction — the thousands in CPS camps during World War Two, the literal millions who spent the Vietnam era in alternative-service jobs. All of whom are important and honored, but to include their stories would swamp an already-capaciousContinue reading “John Lewis was a conscientious objector to war. Did you know that?”

Soldier-dissent in real time

!– wp:code –> I started this week staring at the #WallofVets. The video above bears re-watching: for its diversity of ages, for the military branches represented, for the solidarity among the protesters, the “walls” of mothers, dads and veterans converged to face federal agents sent to suppress their node of the George Floyd uprising. TheContinue reading “Soldier-dissent in real time”

“Including the corpses, pal.” Notes from this week in soldier-dissent

A flyer/ad directed at troops concerned they’ll be deployed against protests in the wake of George Floyd. Of the 3 orgs in the caption, two are my former employers (sorta). Last year, I joined the board of the Center on Conscience And War, feeling the need to help the last org standing after the death ofContinue reading ““Including the corpses, pal.” Notes from this week in soldier-dissent”

outtake: Capt. Rockwood, who took the Marine Corps Values too seriously.

I really tried to keep this one, perhaps because when I interviewed him in 1996, I didn’t realize I was beginning my life’s work. He’s also someone I’ve seen repeatedly over the years since, not just when I interviewed him again in San Diego but at Occupy in 2011, and the Manning trial in 2013.ButContinue reading “outtake: Capt. Rockwood, who took the Marine Corps Values too seriously.”

Outtake: Scott Olsen, who almost died for Occupy

Eight years ago this week, a NYPD riot at New York’s Zuccotti Park evicted the last remaining Occupy Wall Street activists. That year had seen an incredible amount of movement-building, with organizing from coast to coast–including by dissenting veterans.  Below, a vigil for Iraq vet Scott Olsen at Occupy Oakland. In 2011, Obama’s Afghanistan “surge”Continue reading “Outtake: Scott Olsen, who almost died for Occupy”