I recently came across a blog entry describing a presentation an old friend from high school gave. Josh Casteel served in Iraq as an interrogator sent in to clean up things in Abu Ghraib after the scandal. After experiencing the mindless cycle of vengeance that is our current conflict, he found that he could no longer continue to serve and still be true to his faith as an evangelical Christian. He applied for status as a conscientious objector and upon reviewing his 26 page essay he was granted an honorable discharge.
Josh was not just looking for a way out of Iraq. Josh chose to go there, and he is a true patriot. Even more so by his recent actions. He isn’t just out of the military, he is actively attending and serving as a keynote speaker at anti-war rallies. He is urging our country to stop the madness that we are perpetuating overseas.
Josh Casteel was always a brilliant and nice guy back in high school and I respected him very much despite our disagreements when it came to politics and religion. I occasionally was able to get together with Josh in college and my respect and affection for him was undiminished. When Josh began his active duty in Iraq I was a little concerned I wouldn’t get to see him again, and I have to say that I was delighted and a little awed when I finally heard of him again.