Josh Stieber, an Iraq war veteran turned conscientious objector, explained to Al Jazeera English why he questioned whether the 8-year war in Iraq was worth it.
He said that when he was deployed to Iraq, the local population held a large peaceful rally against the U.S. presence in their city.
“That was one of the first real clashes for me,” Stieber explained. “Here is this rhetoric that I have, that was used to justify the war: that we are giving a voice to an oppressed people and letting them determine their own fate. And here are the people gathering and telling us that they don’t want us in their neighborhoods.”
“At first I didn’t even know what conscientious objection was. I just knew that I wasn’t going to keep contributing to the things that were going on. So, I got out in April and a few weeks later in May, I started walking and then bicycling across the United States to share my experiences.”
The U.S. mission in Iraq came to a formal end on December 15, 2011, nearly nine years after the George W. Bush administration wrongly declared that former dictator Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction that posed a threat to the region.
In a 2010 interview with Slate, Stieber said he grew up as a devout Christian and a staunch political conservative.
Watch video, courtesy of Al Jazeera English, below: