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Joshua Casteel Memorial

This image is from Celebrate People’s History/Iraq Veterans Against the War: Ten Years of Fighting for Peace and Justice, a portfolio that celebrated IVAW’s first ten years and was produced by Justseeds, IVAW, Booklyn, Repetitive Press, and the Civilian Soldier Alliance.

(IVAW is now known as About Face: Veterans Against the War)


A duotone photograph in brown of a young white man with glasses, a small beard and mustache, wearing an IVAW pin. A tall red flower is painted to his side. Above, the text states, “Joshua Casteel. Scholar, Writer, Conscientious Objector, and Iraq Veteran Against the War. 1979-2012.” A quotation to his side states, “What we believe on the inside can never be removed from what we do on the outside…” Below, in small text, it says, “Joshua was trained as an Arabic translator and worked as an interrogator at Abu Ghraib prison from June 2004 to January 2005. During an interrogation in Abu Ghraib, a 22-year old self proclaimed jihadist suggested that Casteel was not following his own Christian faith. ‘He said I wasn’t fulfilling the call to turn the other cheek, to love one’s enemies. When posed with that kind of challenge, I had nothing I could say to him. I absolutely agreed with him. My position as a U.S. Army interrogator contradicted my calling, simply as a Christian.’ Upon his return home, Joshua applied for conscientious objector status and was honorably discharged in May 2005. Joshua was diagnosed in early November 2011 with stage IV lung cancer that had spread to his liver, spine, and adrenals. He believed the cancer was a result of his service in Iraq where he was exposed to the toxic fumes from burn pits.”

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