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Road from Ar Ramadi: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia

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Overview

The inspiring story of the nationally known soldier who fought in Iraq and was brave enough to face jail rather than return to fight again.

As the American occupation of Iraq continues with no end in sight, Camilo Mejía has become a nationally recognized voice in the ever-growing peace movement. After serving in the Army for nearly nine years, he was the first-known Iraq veteran to refuse to fight, citing moral concerns about the war and ...
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Overview

The inspiring story of the nationally known soldier who fought in Iraq and was brave enough to face jail rather than return to fight again.

As the American occupation of Iraq continues with no end in sight, Camilo Mejía has become a nationally recognized voice in the ever-growing peace movement. After serving in the Army for nearly nine years, he was the first-known Iraq veteran to refuse to fight, citing moral concerns about the war and occupation. His principled stand helped to rally the growing opposition and embolden his fellow soldiers. Despite widespread public support and an all-star legal team, Mejía was eventually convicted of desertion by a military court and sentenced to a year in prison, prompting Amnesty International to declare him a prisoner of conscience.

Since his release, the celebrated soldier-turned-pacifist has traveled around the country and the world to speak against the war. Now he tells his own story, from his upbringing in Central America and his experience as a working-class immigrant in the United States to his service in Iraq—where he witnessed prisoner abuse and was deployed in the Sunni triangle—and time in prison. Far from being an accidental activist, Mejía was raised by prominent Sandinista revolutionaries and draws inspiration from Jesuit teachings. In this stirring book, he argues passionately for human rights and the end to an unjust war.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Mejía, a veteran of the Iraq conflict, became an antiwar hero when he refused to return to his unit and was court-martialed in 2004 for desertion. His memoir is a blend of compelling war narrative and dubious soapboxing. Mejía's claim to conscientious objector status, after eight years in the U.S. military, months of combat and a long campaign for a discharge, rings rather hollow. The son of prominent Nicaraguan Sandinistas, he takes a view of the insurgents' "fight for self-determination" that seems naïve ("[t]here seemed to be a unity that spread through the differences among Iraqis") and his prose is laced with clunky rhetoric about "the imperial dragon that devours its own soldiers and Iraqi civilians alike for the sake of profit." Most powerful are his firsthand experiences of prisoner abuse, senseless patrols that invite insurgent attacks, discord among his demoralized comrades and their careerist officers, and the constant brutalization of Iraqis by paranoid, trigger-happy GIs. (In one incident, an irate soldier arrests an eight-year-old rock thrower, who is then beaten by a local man desperate to appease the vengeful Americans.) Those stories add up to an indelible portrait of the dirty war in the Sunni triangle and Mejía's painful confrontation with his immoral complicity in it. (June)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595580528
  • Publisher: New Press, The
  • Publication date: 6/1/2007
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Camilo Mejía grew up in Nicaragua and Costa Rica before moving to the United States in 1994. He joined the military at age nineteen, serving as an infantryman in the active-duty Army for three years before transferring to the Florida National Guard. He fought in Iraq for five months. He currently lives in Miami.
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Table of Contents


1     1
2     19
3     37
4     61
5     83
6     104
7     127
8     156
9     178
10     202
11     221
12     245
The Trial     265
Editor's Note     301
Acknowledgments     304
Afterword   Chris Hedges     307
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