Sunday, November 17: Jeff Paterson Speaks About Resisting War
While “following orders” is a longtime watchword in the military, information began to filter down during the Vietnam War about how the practice did not always lead to good outcomes. In a deadly “game” with few real rules, the circumstances can change everything, and in the case of Jeff Paterson, cofounder of the Oakland-based organization Courage to Resist, it helped to change his view of military procedures and orders – and not in a favorable way.
On Sunday, November 17, Jeff will speak about the organization, what it stands for, and what it is doing. His talk is titled, “Questioning war within the military; GI resistance from Vietnam to Iraq.” The event will begin at 7 PM at the Unitarian Universalists of San Mateo, 300 E. Santa Inez Avenue (at Ellsworth) in San Mateo. Admission is free, contributions are welcome. The UUSM is wheelchair accessible.
Courage to Resist is dedicated to supporting GI war resisters and conscientious objectors; Jeff has served as its Executive Director since 2007. His work includes promoting grassroots efforts to support high-profile truth tellers; one significant example was to help direct the successful international campaign from 2010-2017 to free military whistleblower and political prisoner Chelsea Manning. In August 1990, during the Persian Gulf War, Jeff was the first military servicemember to refuse to fight in Iraq. He is currently producing a yearlong podcast series about GI resistance to the U.S. war in Vietnam, in collaboration with the “Vietnam Full Disclosure” effort of Veterans For Peace.
From the Courage to Resist web site: “While there are those who would like to dismiss war resisters as ‘cowards,’ the reality is that it takes exceptional courage to resist unjust, illegal, and/or immoral orders. For many resisters, it was their first-hand experiences as occupation troops that compelled them to take a stand. For others, ‘doing the right thing’ and acting out of conscience began to outweigh their military training in obedience.”
Don’t miss this from-the-inside look at resistance to the military.