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Buff Whitman-Bradley

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Buff Whitman-Bradley, a long-time peace and social justice activist, has been working with Courage to Resist since 2003. He has been a member of the Courage to Resist organizing collective, and was the originator and producer of the Courage to Resist Audio Project. He is also a member ¡Presente!, a non-violent direct action affinity group actively opposing war and empire. He has worked for many years as a professional writer and editor, authored and edited educational books and materials, magazine articles, non-fiction books for children, and books of poetry. He has co-produced/directed two documentary films, Por Que Venimos with the MIRC Film Collective, and with his partner Cynthia, an award-winning documentary about visitors to death row, Outside In.

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About Face: Military Resisters Turn Against the War
Editors: Buff Whitman-Bradley, Sarah Lazare, and Cynthia Whitman-Bradley
Publisher: PM Press
ISBN: 978-1-60486-440-3
Published: September 2011
Format: Paperback
Size: 8 by 5
Page count: 272 Pages
Subjects: Politics, War, Activism

How does a young person who volunteers to serve in the U.S. military become a war-resister who risks ostracism, humiliation, and prison rather than fight? Although it is not well publicized, the long tradition of refusing to fight in unjust wars continues today within the American military.

In this book, resisters describe in their own words the process they went through, from raw recruits to brave refusers.

They speak about the brutality and appalling violence of war; the constant dehumanizing of the enemy—and of our own soldiers—that begins in Basic Training; the demands that they ignore their own consciences and simply follow orders. They describe how their ideas about the justification for the current wars changed and how they came to oppose the policies and practices of the U.S. empire, and even war itself. Some of the refusers in this book served one or more tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, and returned with serious problems resulting from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Others heard such disturbing stories of violence from returning vets that they vowed not to go themselves. Still others were mistreated in one way or another and decided they’d had enough. Every one of them had the courage to say a resounding “NO!”

The stories in this book provide an intimate, honest look at the personal transformation of each of these young people and at the same time constitute a powerful argument against militarization and endless war.

Also featured are exclusive interviews with Noam Chomsky and Daniel Ellsberg. Chomsky looks at the U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the potential of GI resistance to play a role in bringing the troops home. Ellsberg relates his own act of resistance in leaking the Pentagon Papers in 1971 to the current WikiLeaks revelations of U.S. military secrets.


“About Face gives us important insights into the consciences of women and men who volunteer for the military but find they cannot obey orders to fight in illegal wars. These are brave and loyal Americans who are willing to challenge the U.S. government and perhaps go to jail rather than betray their inner voices that say NO to these wars!”  —Ann Wright, retired U.S. Army colonel and diplomat who resigned in protest of the invasion of Iraq, author of DISSENT: Voices of Conscience

“About Face pulls down the veil of what honorable service in today's U.S. military really means. When new soldiers swear to support and defend the U.S. Constitution by following lawful orders, what are they to do when they are given unlawful orders? About Face provides raw examples of precisely what soldiers are doing who take their oath seriously.”  —Dahr Jamail, author of The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan

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For a calendar of speaking events, please click here


  • Enlistees Felt They Had No Other Options
    During interviews that became the basis for About Face: Military Resisters Turn Against War, I spoke with many young people who enlisted not to fight but because they felt they had virtually no other options.
  • Courage to Resist Supports Prisoner Hunger Strike
    Courage to Resist has issued a statement supporting the prisoners in California state prisons, in particular the supermax at Pelican Bay in Crescent City, who are engaged in a hunger strike to protest degrading and inhumane treatment. 
  • Property Damage
    As the producer of the Courage to Resist Audio Project from 2007-2009, I was the person who interviewed the GI resisters whose stories, originally posted on the CtR website, are the basis of the new Courage to Resist book About Face: Military Resisters Turn Against War.  I finished each interview with enormous respect for the young soldier with whom I had just spoken.  These were brave, smart folks willing to look beyond and behind the official rationalizations for war; willing to take great risks when they determined that in all good conscience they could no longer participate in wars they came to regard as both illegal and immoral.            

What others are saying...

aboutAbout Face: A Review
by Gerry Condon and Helen Jaccard
Z Mag
September 2012

We highly recommend this book. It is must reading for young people who are being targeted by military recruiters and for all who wish to better understand what led these young men and women to enlist and then to resist.

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aboutAbout Face: A Review
by James Russell
New Clear Vision
January 4th, 2012

About Face: Military Resisters Turn Against War (PM Press, 2011), the oral history collection from the GI (Government Issue) resister organization Courage to Resist’s Audio Project, does just that. This distinctive entry into the literature and media about GI resistance is a collection of interviews, articles, and photos that share the stories of the soldiers, including many women and people of color, who refuse to fight or return to their service. By sharing their stories, the book humanizes this group of largely chance activists and their supporters who are driven by a desire to change their broken system.

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