resists, gets out
Iraq veteran David Cortelyou suffered severe
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
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
Body of War opens
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
James Burmeister returns from
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.
resists Iraq redeployment, gets out
Courage 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.
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
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
Courage 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
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
with the pain that I sensed from our veterans and the Iraqi civilians.
military mother of a soldier who served in Iraq it just made it even more
for me. I have every faith that the testimony of Winter Soldier is the
substantial and tangible step to ending the illegal and immoral occupation
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:
Photos by Jeff Paterson for Courage to Resist
Body of War opens nationally
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,
from a bullet to his spine - wounded after serving in Iraq for less than a
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
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
weapons of mass destruction, what was the U.S. still doing in Iraq? He
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
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:
returns from Canada
Iraq veteran James Burmeister recently returned from Canada
where he sought refuge while resisting Iraq redeployment. In order to move
with his life, he returned to the US and surrendered to the military on
at Fort Knox. Although held there and threatened with a court martial and
since, we understand that James has recently been told that we will be
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
as "the hippie from Oregon”” who has taken a “stand
to kill no more after
being brain injured by a roadside bomb."
A 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
Erich believes that, "James yearns to heal. There are many, many
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
the destruction of the human spirit is what we must keep in our hearts.
alone cannot stop this war. Passionate action by all of us
to a January radio interview with Erich and James Burmeister