November 5, 2007: This website is an archive of the former website, traprockpeace.org, which was created 10 years ago by Charles Jenks. It became one of the most populace sites in the US, and an important resource on the antiwar movement, student activism, 'depleted' uranium and other topics. Jenks authored virtually all of its web pages and multimedia content (photographs, audio, video, and pdf files. As the author and registered owner of that site, his purpose here is to preserve an important slice of the history of the grassroots peace movement in the US over the past decade. He is maintaining this historical archive as a service to the greater peace movement, and to the many friends of Traprock Peace Center. Blogs have been consolidated and the calendar has been archived for security reasons; all other links remain the same, and virtually all blog content remains intact.THIS SITE NO LONGER REFLECTS THE CURRENT AND ONGOING WORK OF TRAPROCK PEACE CENTER, which has reorganized its board and moved to Greenfield, Mass. To contact Traprock Peace Center, call 413-773-7427 or visit its site. Charles Jenks is posting new material to PeaceJournal.org, a multimedia blog and resource center.
Hear also Frances Crowe interview
September 23, 2004
Ben Sherman on Conscientious Objection
Hear his interview with Sunny Miller - 39:12 minutes; mp3 audio for radio play, 13.5 mb; RealAudio version for slower connections.
Ben Sherman, conscientious objector, was interviewed by Sunny Miller for Traprock Peace Center on Sept 21, 2004. Sherman is the author of MEDIC, published by Random House. Ben Sherman lives in Washington state and visited about 18 history and social studies classes last spring to talk about the realities he faced as a medic, drafted against his will, on the ground in Vietnam. He is a member of Veterans for Peace.
His first week "in country" was spent preparing bodies for shipment in body bags. On his first outing in Vietnam, a platoon boarded a boat headed up the Mekong River. As each green-clad man boarded, Sherman noted the rifles they carried. He carried gauze; could he be the only soldier in the world not wearing a gun?
Sheman notes that 17-year-olds want to make up their own minds -- one visit from him isn't likely to change lives. But his line of questioning might. He urges students to consider why the military requires a 4-6-year commitment, with no option of resigning if the recruiters promises are not fulfilled. As he put it, would you sign up to work at Burger King, if quitting would land you in jail?
For people discovering their own objections to war while in the fields of battle, Sherman urges they accept responsibility for the killing they have done. The dreams and memories don't stop, whether you were in a war zone happy to be shooting, or in a war zone to patch up the wounded. The choices one has already made don't go away, but we can also take responsibility for the turning points in our lives.
He recommends you know the position that your commander takes regarding people who refuse to participate in something that becomes unconscionable.
To catch Ben Sherman on one of his book-signing tours, see his schedule at http://shermantraining.com
Sunny Miller, Executive Director
[Photo above: Ben Sherman unfurling roll of US soldiers killed in Iraq. He addressed the assembled members of Veterans for Peace and guests at Fanuil Hall, Boston, July 23, 2004. See photo-album of evening's events. Photos © 2004 Charlie Jenks and Sunny Miller]
As part of his educational program on conscientious objection, Sheman distributes photos with capsule biographies, e.g, local newspaper stories, of soldiers who have been killed in Iraq. These are very effective, he says, in teaching young people about the realities of war.
For more resources on why you object to war, see and hear about the unfolding tragedy of uranium weapons, at http://www.grassrootspeace.org You can find many links to other groups, check the calendar, or post your meetings on conscientious objection on the calendar.
For other resources on conscientious objection, see http://www.objector.org
For campus organizing see http://www.campusantiwar.net
For a wealth of links on conscientious objection, see Norbert's Bookmarks for a Better World
For information on soldiers resisting war, see "US War Heroes of the Iraq War" For soldiers and veterans organizing, see Iraq Veterans Against the War and Veterans for Peace
In Western Mass, a Counter-Recruitment community group meets the first Tuesday of the month at First Churches (basement) on Main Street, Northampton, MA beginning at 6:30pm. Call Western Mass AFSC for more information: 584-8975.
September 23, 2004 - page created by Charlie Jenks; photos © 2004 Charlie Jenks and Sunny Miller