Host, Chair, and Testifiers
- Chaplain (Colonel) Herman Keizer, Jr., U. S. Army Chaplain, retired; Director of Chaplaincy Ministries for the Christian Reformed Church in North America; Former Chair, National Conference on Ministry to the Armed Forces.
Read Rev. Keizer’s bio
Watch Rev. Keizer’s testimony
- Rev. Dr. Kaia Stern, Director of the Pathways Home Project at the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law School.
Read Dr. Stern’s bio
Watch Dr. Stern’s welcoming comments
Testifiers and Expert Witnesses:
Click here to read full testifier bios >>
- Tyler Boudreau, former US Marine Captain, Iraq War veteran, and author of Packing Inferno: The Unmaking of a Marine. Read Tyler’s bio Watch Tyler’s testimony
- Joshua Casteel, Army veteran and Conscientious Objector, former Army Interrogator at Abu Ghraib; featured in the documentary, Soldiers of Conscience. Read Joshua’s bio Watch Joshua’s testimony
- Jake Diliberto, OEF and OIF US Marine Veteran, Founder of Veterans for Rethinking Afghanistan, Fuller Theological Seminary. Read Jake’s bio Watch Jake’s testimony
- Logan Mehl-Laituri, Army veteran with service in Iraq during OIF II, and co-founder of Centurion’s Guild. Read Logan’s bio Watch Logan’s testimony
- Camilo Mejia, Army veteran and conscientious objector, author of Road from Ar Ramadi, featured in the documentary, Soldiers of Conscience. Read Camilo’s bio Watch Camilo’s testimony
- Nurah-Rosalie P. Jeter Amat’ullah, Executive Director, Muslim Women’s Institute for Research and Development and Manuscript Librarian, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Graduate Certificate in Islamic Chaplaincy, Hartford Seminary. Read Sister Amat’ullah’s bio Watch Sister Amat’ullah’s testimony
- Dr. Camillo “Mac” Bica, Professor of Philosophy, School of Visual Arts (NYC), former Marine Corps Officer and Vietnam Veteran. Read Dr. Bica’s bio Watch Dr. Bica’s testimony
- Chris Hedges, former war correspondent for the New York Times and author of War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning. Read Hedges’s bio Watch Hedges’s testimony
- Rabbi Douglas E. Krantz, Congregation B’nai Yisrael; Member, Executive Board, Jewish Peace Fellowship. Read Rabbi Krantz’s bio Watch Rabbi Krantz’s testimony
- Rev. Dr. Pamela Lightsey, Associate Vice President, Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary, veteran, expert in just war theories in Christianity. Read Dr. Lightsey’s bio Watch Dr. Lightsey’s testimony
- J. E. McNeil, Executive Director, Center on Conscience & War, legal expert. Read McNeil’s bio Watch McNeil’s testimony
- Dr. Jonathan Shay, VA clinical psychiatrist, national PTSD expert, Macarthur Genius winner, and author of Achilles in Vietnam and Odysseus in America. Read Dr. Shay’s bio Watch Dr. Shay’s testimony
- Celeste Zappala, Member of Gold Star Families Speak Out; Mother of Sgt Sherwood Baker, Pennsylvania National Guardsman, killed in Baghdad, April 26, 2004, while searching for weapons of mass destruction. Read Zappala’s bio Watch Zappala’s testimony
Chaplain Herman Keizer, Jr., Colonel, United States Army (Retired)
Herman Keizer, Jr., a retired Army Chaplain Colonel, recently retired as the Director of Chaplaincy Ministries for the Christian Reformed Church in North America. He assumed that position in April 2002.
Chaplain Keizer has been a minister in the Christian Reformed Church in North America since his ordination in 1968. Commissioned as a Chaplain in 1968, his assignments include: service in Vietnam (He was wounded twice – once in a rocket attack on a fire-base in Cambodia and once in a helicopter accident on An Khe); as Officer in Charge of the Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Training Center; GE; as faculty member at the Chaplain School; as Division Chaplain, 25th Infantry Division, Executive Director, Armed Forces Chaplains Board, Department of Defense; and as Command Chaplain, United States European Command, Stuttgart, GE. Chaplain (Colonel) Herman Keizer, Jr. reached mandatory retirement with 30 years in 1998. He was retired and was recalled to serve as Military Assistant for Leadership and Human Relations to the Assistant Secretary of the Army (ASAM&RA) In July 2000 he became the Military Advisor to the Ambassador for International Religious Freedom, Department of State. He has served as the chair of the National Conference on Ministry to the Armed Forces (NCMAF).
Chaplain Keizer’s awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal (1OLC); Legion of Merit (4 OLC); Soldier’s Medal; Bronze Star Medal (5OLC) and V Device; Purple Heart; Meritorious Service Medal 3OLC); and the Air Medal (3). He also received the Superior Honor Award from the Department of State.
In May 2000, Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan named Chaplain Keizer a Distinguished Alumni and in May 2003, Calvin Theological Seminary named him a Distinguished Alumni. Chaplain Keizer is married Ardis. They have two adult sons, Bryan Jay and Randall Lee. Return to top »
Rev. Dr. Kaia Stern
Kaia Stern is Director of the Prison Studies Project/ Pathways Home at the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law School. Kaia’s work focuses on transformative justice and education in prison. She has taught students from Emory University, Candler School of Theology, New York Theological Seminary, University of California and Harvard University as well as Norfolk, Framingham and Sing Sing prisons. Her work with the Green Haven/Vassar Prison Program, Vera Institute of Justice, Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, Kings County District Attorney’s Office, Open Society Institute’s After Prison Initiative, and Interfaith Justice Project at The Riverside Church has facilitated work in numerous prisons in various states over the last decade and a half. She holds a Ph.D. in religion from Emory University and a Masters of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School. Kaia is also ordained as an interfaith minister. Return to top »
Nurah W. Amatullah (Rosalie P. Jeter), founder and executive director of the Muslim Women’s Institute for Research and Development (MWIRD), was born in Trinidad and Tobago and immigrated to the US in 1987. A graduate of Long Island University, Ms. Amat’ullah is a manuscript librarian in the Manuscript, Archives and Rare Books Division at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a New York Public Library Research Center. In 2003, she earned a Graduate Certificate in Islamic Chaplaincy at Hartford Seminary and was one of a dozen immigrant leaders to receive the 2003 Union Square Award. In 2005, she participated in an Interfaith Peace Delegation to Sudan, organized by the Muslim American Society’s Freedom Foundation. As Director of MWIRD, Ms Amat’ullah has developed a number of faith-based community development initiatives and participated in multi-faith and religious NGO efforts. She is also an executive committee member of the Consultation for Inter-faith Education. Return to top »
Camillo “Mac” Bica, Ph.D., is a professor of philosophy at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. His philosophical focus is in social and political philosophy and ethics, particularly as it applies to war. As a veteran recovering from his experiences as a Marine Corps Officer in Vietnam, he founded, and coordinated for five years, the Veterans Self-Help Initiative, AKA The HOOTCH Program, a therapeutic community of veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center Brooklyn. Dr. Bica is a long-time activist for peace and justice and the Coordinator of the Long Island Chapter of Veterans for Peace. In addition to being a regular contributor to Truthout.org, articles by Dr. Bica have appeared in numerous on-line alternative news sites and philosophical journals. There are no Flowers in a War Zone, his book of essays and poems, will be published later this year. Return to top »
Tyler Boudreau grew up in the Boston area and graduated high school in 1989. He served with the Marine Corps infantry from 1989 to 1993, got out to attend college, and then returned to the infantry in 1997. He deployed to Iraq in 2004. In 2005 he resigned after twelve years of active duty. In 2008 Boudreau published Packing Inferno: The Unmaking of a Marine, a memoir of his experiences in the Marine Corps and Iraq. He traveled to Jordan in the summer of 2008 to investigate the Iraq Refugee Crisis and in 2009 bicycled across the United States to meet with people and join discussions about the wars of our time. In addition to his book, he has written several articles for various publications including The New York Times, Boston Globe, Seattle Times, The Progressive, and others. He now lives in Western Massachusetts and continues to write and speak about the issues of war. Return to top »
Joshua Casteel first enlisted in the US Army Reserves at the age of 17, received an appointment to the US Military Academy at West Point at 18, but at 25 was honorably discharged from Active Duty as a conscientious objector. During his time in service, Joshua studied Philosophy and Literature at the University of Iowa and Keble College, Oxford. Less than 30 days after receiving his B.A., Joshua was called up from the Reserves to full Active Duty in the US Army. He trained first as an interrogator at Fort Huachuca, AZ and then spent one and a half years at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA studying Arabic. From June 2004 to January 2005, Joshua served at the Joint Interrogation and Debriefing Center at Abu Ghraib, Iraq as a member of the interrogation units sent to overhaul the prison after the abuse scandal had become public.
Shortly after discharge from service, Joshua began writing and speaking widely in the US about his wartime experiences, serving on the board of directors of Iraq Veterans Against the War and chairing IVAW’s Religious Dialogue committee. Joshua is currently a dual-MFA candidate at the University of Iowa Playwrights Workshop and the Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program, where he teaches Theatre History and Rhetoric. Joshua is also currently a student of Theology at the University of Notre Dame. In addition to two plays (Returns: A Meditation in Post-trauma and Ishmael and Isa) which chronicle his experiences in Iraq, Joshua is also writing a memoir entitled The Book of Joshua which narrates his eight years spent in the US Army and eventual conversion from nationalist Evangelical Christianity to Catholic pacifism. Return to top »
Jake Diliberto is a conservative Evangelical Christian. He was Marine Cpl. who served with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit during Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001 and served on security forces for II Marine Expeditionary Brigade in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. After serving in the Marines, Jake has finished his B.S. in Political Science from Illinois State University and a M.Div. (Ethics and Theology) from Fuller Theological Seminary. Jake is a frequent commentator of Aljazeera and CNN on 21st century conflict. He is a blogger for Huffington Post, and is the Founder of Veterans For Rethinking Afghanistan. Recent publications include “Just Peacemaking in Afghanistan” and “Globalization and Post-modern Conflict.” He resides in Pasadena, CA. Return to top »
Chris Hedges (born September 18, 1956 in St. Johnsbury, Vermont) is an American journalist, author, and war correspondent, specializing in American and Middle Eastern politics and societies. His most recent book which he discussed on CSPAN’s BookTV is Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle (2009).
Hedges is also known as the best-selling author of War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning (2002), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction. A quote from the book was used as the opening title quotation in the critically-acclaimed 2009 film, The Hurt Locker. The quote reads: “The rush of battle is often a potent and lethal addiction, for war is a drug.”
Chris Hedges is currently a senior fellow at The Nation Institute in New York City. He spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than fifty countries, and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News, and The New York Times, where he was a foreign correspondent for fifteen years.
In 2002, Hedges was part of the team of reporters at The New York Times awarded the Pulitzer Prize for the paper’s coverage of global terrorism. He also received in 2002 the Amnesty International Global Award for Human Rights Journalism. He has taught at Columbia University, New York University and Princeton University. He currently writes a column for Truthdig and is married to actress Eunice Wong. They have one son together and Hedges has two children from a previous marriage. Return to top »
Rabbi Douglas E. Krantz
In 1979 Rabbi Krantz moved to Armonk, New York to serve as rabbi of Congregation B’nai Yisrael. Rabbi Krantz is active in social causes and was arrested while protesting both on behalf of Blacks in South Africa and Jews in the Soviet Union. In 1988 he traveled to the Soviet Union to meet with Jewish families in need of support from abroad.
In 1987 Rabbi Krantz was appointed Vice Chair of the Centennial Endowment Fund of the Central Conference of American Rabbis. In 1988 Rabbi Krantz was appointed Chair of the Justice and Peace Committee of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, Vice Chair of the Social Action Commission of Reform Judaism.
In 1990 Rabbi Krantz came on to the Board of Directors of the American Friends of Israeli Civil Rights and Peace, now called Meretz USA. He served as Board Secretary in 1991 and in 1992 was elected President and Chair of the Board.
In 2001 Rabbi Krantz was elected to the Board of Directors of American Friends for Peace Now. Rabbi Krantz also serves on the Rabbinic Advisory Council of J Street.
Rabbi Krantz is married to Joan and they have three children and three grandddaughters. Return to top »
Rev. Dr. Pamela R. Lightsey is a native of West Palm Beach, Florida. Dr. Lightsey is an honorably discharged Army veteran and former civil service worker. Her experience with the military runs deep as her sister, late brother, her former husband and her son served in the US Army. While completing her course work in the PhD program at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary her son’s unit, then stationed in Kuwait, was redeployed to serve in Iraq. He was there during that first year. This experience is what ignited her passion in just war theory and her deeper study of both the Hebrew Bible and Holy Qu’ran. The title of her dissertation is “If Somebody Hits You: Towards a Pan African Perspective of Just War.”
Dr. Lightsey is an ordained elder in the Northern Illinois Conference of the United Methodist Church. Dr. Lightsey received her PhD in theology and ethics at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, and is now employed there as the Associate Vice-President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students.
Pamela is an author and scholar and enjoys teaching, lecturing and leading workshops. Her particular passions in addition to just war theory are Black liberation theology and Womanist queer theology. She is a recognized social justice activist and has been awarded the key to the city of Columbus, Georgia for her social justice work benefiting the citizens of that community. More information on Dr. Lightsey may be found at her website www.OneNabi.com. Return to top »
J.E. McNeil, the Executive Director of the Center on Conscience & War, has been a practicing attorney for more than thirty years. Before becoming Executive Director, she worked with CCW/NISBCO on its legal committee, where she contributed to amicus briefs and represented conscientious objectors in court. She received the Alan Barth Service award of the National Capital ACLU in 1982 and the Washington Peace Center Peacemaker Award in 1987. McNeil has also represented military tax resistors and demonstrators. At the Center on Conscience & War, McNeil oversees the implementation of CCW’s programs and is responsible for the fund raising. Return to top »
Logan Mehl-Laituri spent over six years in the US Army at Fort Bragg, NC and Schofield Barracks, HI as an artillery forward observer. After a 14 month combat deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004, he applied to return to Iraq as a noncombatant conscientious objector. His request was disregarded and he was honorably discharged in November 2006, being refused the opportunity to serve without a personal firearm in combat. In 2008, Logan worked with other service members and veterans to form Centurion’s Guild in order to “protect and defend prospective, current, and former service members while bearing true faith and allegiance to God.” In July, with the help of the Post 9-11 GI Bill, he will graduate from Hawaii Pacific University with a BA in Human Services and hopefully be on his way to Masters level work in theology, focusing particularly on selective objection and the ethics of warfare. Return to top »
After serving in the Army for nearly nine years, Staff Sergeant Mejía became the first known Iraq veteran to refuse to fight, citing moral concerns about the war and occupation, when he applied for a discharge from the Army as a conscientious objector in early 2004. 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.
Released after serving almost nine months, the celebrated soldier-turned-pacifist tells his own story in the book, Road from Ar Ramadi: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejía, 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. Return to top »
Staff Psychiatrist, Department of Veteran Affairs Outpatient Clinic, Boston, Massachusetts
Dr. Jonathan Shay is a clinical psychiatrist whose treatment of combat trauma suffered by Vietnam veterans combined with his critical and imaginative interpretations of the ancient accounts of battle described in Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey are deepening our understanding of the effects of warfare on the individual. His book, Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character (1994), draws parallels between the depiction of the epic warrior-hero Achilles and the experiences of individual veterans whom he treats at a Boston-area Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic. In Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming (2002), using Odysseus as metaphor, Shay focuses on the veteran’s experience upon returning from war and highlights the role of military policy in promoting the mental and physical safety of soldiers. A passionate advocate for veterans and committed to minimizing future psychological trauma, Shay strives for structural reform of the ways the U.S. armed forces are organized, trained, and counseled. Respected by humanists and military leaders alike, Shay brings into stark relief the emotional problems faced by military combatants and veterans, ancient and modern.
Shay received a B.A. (1963) from Harvard University and an M.D. (1971) and Ph.D. (1972) from the University of Pennsylvania. Since 1987, he has been a staff psychiatrist at the Department of Veteran Affairs Outpatient Clinic in Boston, Massachusetts. In 2001, Shay served as Visiting Scholar-at-Large at the U.S. Naval War College, and from 2004 to 2005, he was Chair of Ethics, Leadership, and Personnel Policy in the Office of the U.S. Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel. Return to top »
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA
Gold Star Families Speak Out, gsfso.org
Military Families Speak Out, MFSO.org
Celeste’s son, Sgt. Sherwood Baker was killed in an explosion in Baghdad as he searched for the weapons of mass destruction on April 26, 2004. Sherwood, a social worker, was the first PA National Guardsman killed in combat since World War II; he leaves a wife and young son. Celeste, a United Methodist, is an active member of Military Families Speak Out and a founding member of Gold Star Families Speak Out, representing families who have lost a loved one in Iraq. Since losing Sherwood, she and her family have worked relentlessly to promote a peaceful end to the occupation of Iraq. She has spoken out in many US cities, was a featured speaker at a 2007 International Peace conference in Istanbul and at the 2008 Japan Mother’s Conference. Return to top »