An Important Gathering in New York This Weekend …

This weekend, a group of combat veterans, scholars, and clergy will testify at the “Truth Commission On Conscience In War.” If not for a previous commitment, I would be there. I will be following what happens, because I think this could be a truly historic moment.
On the 7th anniversary of the Iraq War, a Truth Commission will investigate moral conscience in war at The Riverside Church, where The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his historic “Beyond Vietnam” speech.
Five veterans – including two who just returned from visiting the countries where they fought – will reveal what they felt, witnessed, and came to understand about fighting in war. They will be joined by a group of experts, including nationally recognized scholars and clergy. Press release is below and at Website.
Testifiers Include:
Tyler Boudreau, former US Marine Captain, Iraq War veteran, and author of Packing Inferno: The Unmaking of a Marine.
Joshua Casteel, former US Army Interrogator at Abu Ghraib, attended West Point, featured in the documentary, Soldiers of Conscience.
Jacob C. Diliberto, OEF and OIF US Marine veteran, Founder of Veterans for Rethinking Afghanistan, M.Div. Fuller Theological Seminary. Recently returned from trip to Afghanistan as a civilian.
Logan Mehl-Laituri, US Army veteran with service in Iraq during OIF II, and co-founder of Centurion’s Guild. Recently returned from trip to Iraq as a civilian.
Camilo Mejia, US Army veteran and first service member to publicly refuse to return to Iraq, author of Road from Ar Ramadi, featured in the documentary, Soldiers of Conscience.
Plus eight experts, including:
Dr. Jonathan Shay, VA clinical psychiatrist, national PTSD expert, Macarthur “Genius” winner, and author of Achilles in Vietnam and Odysseus in America.
Chris Hedges, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, former foreign correspondent for the New York Times, and author of War Is a Force that Gives Us Meaning.
Chaplain Herman Keizer, Jr., Colonel, U. S. Army (retired), Vietnam veteran with 34 years of military service, and former chair of the National Conference on Ministry to the Armed Forces America.
WHAT: Truth Commission on Conscience in War brings together veterans and over 80 national religious, academic, and advocacy leaders to honor and protect freedom of conscience in the military. It features testimony from recent veterans and national experts on moral, psychological, and legal dimensions of conscience and war.
The event is free and open to the public.
WHEN: Sunday, March 21, 2010, 4:00-8:00 p.m.
WHERE: The Riverside Church, 490 Riverside Dr., New York, NY
The Truth Commission on Conscience in War is co-sponsored by a diverse coalition of over 50 religious, academic, advocacy and veterans groups.
The March 21st public hearing will launch the Commission’s eight-month campaign to bring national attention to decisions of moral and religious conscience facing American service members, culminating with the Veterans Day release of the Commission’s Final Report.
For details, including a complete list of testifiers and commissioners (including bios), and co-sponsors, visit
The Commission is organized by Faith Voices for the Common Good, Luna Productions, The Mission and Social Justice Commission of The Riverside Church, Starr King School for the Ministry, and Union Theological Seminary.
Here’s a two-minute video introducing the event. If you’re a media professional, please be sure this event gets the attention it deserves …