IRAQ VETERAN TURNED CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR CURRENTLY MAKING JOURNEY ACROSS U.S. TO SEEK ALTERNATIVES TO WAR
Josh Stieber, who will begin his on-foot and bicycle, cross-country journey just after Memorial Day on May 27th in Washington, D.C., is now available for phone interviews or in-person interviews if you are able to meet him somewhere along his route. Please see website for listing of cities and expected dates and email to schedule either type of interview. He plans to be in the following states: Washington, DC; Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Ohio, Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas, Montana, Washington and California.
With the military announcing successes in Iraq and seeking to repeat it’s surge strategy in Afghanistan, the nature of these policies begs further examination. Are these tactics as successful as the military proclaims? What were the costs and human factors of these accomplishments? What are the effects?
A first-hand testimony can be heard from Iraq veteran Josh Stieber. Stieber was deployed to Baghdad as part of the Surge from Feb 07 to Apr 09. He spent the majority of his deployment living outside of larger military installations, working with his infantry company in converted warehouses and police stations. Spending time as a humvee driver, machine gunner, detainee guard, radio transmission operator, and a little bit of everything in between, Stieber has a broad range of firsthand experiences within the Army and of daily Iraqi life.
Upon return from his deployment, Stieber’s experiences lead him to apply as a conscientious objector. Nearly a year of investigation into the sincerity of his claim was conducted until he was unanimously approved by the Department of the Army Conscientious Objection Review Board. He spent the meantime studying and preparing his cross-country trip where he hopes to share his experiences while learning about alternatives to military involvement.
Josh Stieber’s background as a staunch supporter of war for nationalistic and religious reasons, helps him explain his former point of view towards peace organizations and draw upon the common good will of people of differing inclinations and beliefs.
His journey highlights twelve various organizations that actively and peacefully involve themselves in bettering the world around them. After removing himself from violent means of solving problems, he seeks to learn about and promote nonviolent means. These organizations are diverse, including everything from micro-loans to adoption to school building in the Middle East. Along the way, Stieber welcomes opportunities to share his experiences and learn from others who are proactive as he conducts his “Contagious Love Experiment,” as his project has been named.
The web page for his project includes Stieber’s brief biography, a map of the route he will travel, and explanations of the organizations he’ll be visiting and why he chose them. It also includes a sample letter for a letter-writing campaign he will be encouraging along the way, asking people to express their appreciation of soldier’s dedications while respectfully presenting other points of view. The page, http://www.contagiousloveexperiment.wordpress.org will also serve as the blog he will be updating throughout his travels.