previewsDavid Cortelyou resists, gets out
Iraq veteran David Cortelyou suffered severe PTSD when he returned to his base in Germany from Iraq. Failing to get the help he needed, David went AWOL twice rather than return to Iraq.

Winter Soldier report back
We were proud to attend and support “Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan” held March 13-16 at the National Labor College. Video and audio testimony archives are now available.

Body of War opens nationally
Tomas Young, a 26-year-old veteran, was shot and paralyzed in Iraq. His story is now told in this critically acclaimed anti-war documentary by Phil Donahue and Ellen Spiro.

James Burmeister returns from Canada
PFC Burmeister recently returned from Canada where he sought refuge from Iraq redeployment. Although held since March 4 and threatened with a court martial, he may be discharged instead.


David Cortelyou resists Iraq redeployment, gets out

davidCourage to Resist. April 5, 2008

Listen to the 2-part Courage to Resist audio interview with David Cortelyou

Iraq veteran David James Cortelyou suffered severe symptoms of PTSD when he returned to his base in Germany from a tour in Iraq. Failing to get the help he needed, David went AWOL twice rather than return to Iraq. He turned himself in recently, expecting to go to military prison, but was given a discharge instead.

David joined the Army in October 2004 when he was 18 years old. He saw the military as a way to become independent and start his own life, and he chose the Army because it was the only branch of the military accepting people who had GED certificates.

After completing Basic Training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma in February 2005, he was stationed in Giessen, Germany with the Armored Division, 2/3 Field Artillery Battalion as a Fire Support Specialist.

In December 2005 he was deployed to Iraq. For his first five months in Iraq he was stationed in a Forward Operating Base in Bi'aj doing patrols searching for weapons caches and working as security. Bi'aj was "a relatively safe place in the sense that they didn't shoot at us with small arms, but they mortared us daily." For the following ten months David was stationed in Camp Ramadi, base for the Army, Marines, and Navy. Camp Ramadi was attacked daily by mortars, small arms, and rocket propelled grenades. At least two to three times a month he attended memorial services for soldiers killed in Iraq.



Winter Soldier report back

winter soldierCourage to Resist was proud to attend and support “Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan” held March 13-16 at the National Labor College near Washington DC. Iraq Veterans Against the War brought together over 200 recent veterans to speak out against the occupations.

Courage to Resist member Sara Rich, mother of active duty Iraq War veteran Suzanne Swift, explained, "Witnessing the testimonies of Winter Soldier was a profoundly intense honor. There were times I could not even emotionally deal with the pain that I sensed from our veterans and the Iraqi civilians. Being a military mother of a soldier who served in Iraq it just made it even more sad for me. I have every faith that the testimony of Winter Soldier is the first substantial and tangible step to ending the illegal and immoral occupation of Iraq."

Courage to Resist's Lori Hurlebaus took on the challenging role of stage manager for the hearings. "This was an amazing example of different sections of the justice and peace movement coming together. It couldn't of happened without the support of hundreds of allies who stepped up to support IVAW's effort and their growing leadership in working toward ending the occupations."

Commentary and news coverage of the hearings:ivaw group

Photos by Jeff Paterson for Courage to Resist


Body of War opens nationally

army of none

Thomas Young with Cindy Sheehan and IVAW members outside the Bush Ranch near Crawford, Texas 8/30/05. Photo: Jeff Paterson / Courage to Resist

Body of War is an intimate and transformational feature documentary about the true face of war today. Meet Tomas Young, 25 years old, paralyzed from a bullet to his spine - wounded after serving in Iraq for less than a week.

Paralyzed and unconscious, Tomas was first evacuated to Kuwait, then Germany and finally moved to Walter Reed Army Medical Center near Washington, D.C. for more long-term treatment.

As he slowly came back to consciousness and his new life paralyzed from the chest down, Tomas began to question the entire premise of the Iraq war. As he lay in his hospital bed watching the near constant reports of those killed and wounded, the war didn't make any sense to him. What did Iraq have to do with the attacks of 9-11 or Islamic terrorists? If there were no weapons of mass destruction, what was the U.S. still doing in Iraq? He knew that everyday young men just like himself were dying and being severely wounded, Iraqis and Americans. And to what purpose?

Body of War is Tomas' coming home story as he evolves into a new person, coming to terms with his disability and finding his own unique and passionate voice against the war. The film is produced and directed by Phil Donahue and Ellen Spiro, and features two original songs by Eddie Vedder. Body of War is a naked and honest portrayal of what it's like inside the body, heart and soul of this extraordinary and heroic young man.

National openings featuring Q&A with Phil Donahue, Ellen Spiro & Tomas Young's mom Cathy Smith begin this week in New York, Boston, San Francisco, Berkeley, Seattle, LA, San Diego, Philadelphia, Chicago, Minneapolis, and St. Louis. For opening events with Q&A:

For more information:



James Burmeister returns from Canada

burmIraq veteran James Burmeister recently returned from Canada where he sought refuge while resisting Iraq redeployment. In order to move on with his life, he returned to the US and surrendered to the military on March 4 at Fort Knox. Although held there and threatened with a court martial and jail since, we understand that James has recently been told that we will be discharged soon “in lieu of court martial.”

He lived in Canada for the last ten months with the help of the War Resisters Support Campaign.

At a March 16th Eugene, Oregon anti-war rally, James’ father Erich Burmeister described his son as "a Eugene homeboy, known in his unit as "the hippie from Oregon”” who has taken a “stand to kill no more after being brain injured by a roadside bomb."

jamesA gunner behind a 50 caliber machine gun, James was witness to and forced to participate in acts of cruelty, including providing perimeter security for the now infamous "Bait and Kill" teams.

After months of struggling with PTSD and homesickness in Canada, James returned to the United States and turned himself in to the Army. Erich believes that, "James yearns to heal. There are many, many thousands of other young men and women like my son, needing the support of their own communities, more than anything else. Their knowledge of the true cost of war, the destruction of the human spirit is what we must keep in our hearts. Words alone cannot stop this war. Passionate action by all of us will.”

Listen to a January radio interview with Erich and James Burmeister