I know I said I’d blog from California, but the trip proved unexpectedly tiring: physical challenges to my vertigo presented by hills and wobbly public transit, the usual business-trip logistics, and intermittent Internet access in the various homestays. But most of all, my brain was full to bursting with stories -- from experts like Judy Ehrlich (link to TGW) and the directors of the Military Law Task Force of the National Lawyers’ Guild, but more important, from veterans of America’s three most recent wars.
I talked to Vietnam veterans like Paul Cox, who “turned off the war,” he says, when his unit slaughtered mamas and babies in their huts; Mike Wong, who left after advanced training rather than go to Vietnam; and Steve Morse, a born Quaker who went back in after his court martial for insubordination, and followed the invasion of Cambodia. I talked to Gulf War veteran Daniel Fahey, who went on to become a leading voice for those exposed to depleted uranium. I talked to Stephen Funk, the first public conscientious objector of the Iraq war, whose unusual and lefty background and sweet, fey presence make him an unusual military voice – but who still says “it’s easier to talk to people who’ve been through the training.”