Skip Navigation
Books for changing the world
The Road from Ar Ramadi
The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejía: An Iraq War Memoir

Staff Sergeant Camilo Mejía became the new face of the antiwar movement when he applied for discharge from the army as a conscientious objector.

After serving in the army for nearly nine years, he was the first known Iraq veteran to refuse to fight, citing moral concerns about the war and the US occupation. His principled stand helped rally the growing opposition and embolden other soldiers.

Mejía was eventually convicted of desertion by a military court and sentenced to a year in prison, prompting Amnesty International to declare him a prisoner of conscience. Here Mejía tells his own story, from his upbringing in Central America to his service in Iraq—where he witnessed prisoner abuse—to his struggle today to end the occupation there.

In this stirring book, he argues passionately for the end to an unjust war. As New York Times columnist Bob Herbert writes, “The issues [Mejía] has raised deserve a close reading by the nation as a whole. . . . He has made a contribution to the truth about Iraq.”

Includes a new afterword by the author.

Camilo Mejía grew up in Nicaragua and Costa Rica before moving to the United States in 1994. He joined the military at age nineteen, serving as an infantryman in the active-duty army for three years before transferring to the Florida National Guard. He fought in Iraq for five months. He lives in Miami.

  • "Mejía, a veteran of the Iraq conflict, became an antiwar hero when he refused to return to his unit and was court-martialed in 2004 for desertion. . . . Most powerful are his firsthand experiences of prisoner abuse, senseless patrols that invite insurgent attacks, discord among his demoralized comrades and their careerist officers, and the constant brutalization of Iraqis by paranoid, trigger-happy GIs."-Publisher's Weekly