Michael Prysner and James Circello


Michael Prysner and James Circello, staff members of March Forward!, an antiwar organization for active duty soldiers and veterans, discuss the bigotry ingrained in military culture that dehumanizes the enemy du jour, the class struggle between enlisted soldiers and officers, the intentional “draw fire” missions that boost an officer’s career while endangering troops, double-dipping retired generals who get paid to propagandize for more war, the continued deployment of soldiers with PTSD and the Pentagon’s fear of a mass GI desertion.

MP3 here. (30:09)

Michael Prysner joined the U.S. Army when he was 17 years old, between his junior and senior year of high school. He left for basic training in June 2001, and spent six months training at the U.S. Army Military Intelligence Academy, where he was taught to operate a radar system used to call air strikes and artillery barrages on vehicle convoys. He was assigned to the 10th Mountain Division in Fort Drum, N.Y., and in March 2003 his company was attached to the 173rd Airborne Brigade to take part in the initial invasion of Iraq.

Of this experience, Michael wrote: “Once in Iraq, there was no computer screen separating me from the suffering civilian population. Because of the Bush administration’s failure to anticipate the resistance of the Iraqi people, there was an inadequate number of soldiers in my unit, and I ending up having to do a myriad of different jobs. I spent 12 months in Iraq, doing everything from prisoner interrogations, to ground surveillance missions, to home raids. It was my firsthad experiences in Iraq that radicalized me. I believed I was going to Iraq to help liberate and better the lives of an oppressed people, but I soon realized that my purpose in Iraq was to be the oppressor, and to clear the way for U.S. corporations with no regard for human life.

“I separated from the Army in 2005, by which time I had begun to make sense of my experiences in Iraq, and understood that the occupation I was a part of was a crime against humanity. I understood that illegal conquering of Iraq was for profit, carried out by a system that serves a tiny class of superrich whose endless drive for wealth is at the expense of working people in the United States and abroad.

“I left this Army with a new understanding of the system under which we all live, and the nature of U.S. foreign policy. But, I still had the same drive to fight for freedom, justice and equality as I did when I joined, and I understood that fighting for those things meant fighting against the U.S. government, not on behalf of it.”

James Circello enlisted in the United States Army as an Airborne Infantryman in September 2001.

He served with various units throughout Europe and deployed with the 173rd Airborne Brigade during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Of this experience, James writes: “During the occupation of Iraq, the truth about what the United States government has done to the country of Iraq became more apparent. Open waste water flowed through neighborhood streets where children played soccer. Families were thrown out of their homes with simple accusations from others. Vehicles were taken on sight by the military if individuals couldn’t provide proper documents claiming they own the vehicle. These events and others helped in strengthening my opposition to the so-called ‘War on Terror.’”

In April 2007, while his unit was preparing to deploy to Afghanistan, James Circello deserted the military. Months later, he issued an open letter to the U.S. government declaring he had officially resigned from the military. While AWOL he delivered speeches along the devastated Gulf Coast, making the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan personal to many of Hurricane Katrina’s survivors.

In November 2007, James Circello turned himself in to the military at Fort Knox and was discharged administratively within three days.

27 thoughts on “Michael Prysner and James Circello”

  1. I am sickened by the conduct of the entire officer corp, of which I was a part (pre-war). They swore to defend the Constitution and these wars are clearly not Constitutional. Everyone with any honor should have refused to obey and resigned their commission.

  2. What an incredible interview! I had given up on ANSWER, but this is exciting. I would like to get these guys together with the Oath Keepers, the libertarian military/vet organization. There would be a lot of disagreement, and they'll have to learn each others' languages. But perhaps it is possible to organize the military. This interview is a major right/left alliance step.

    Thanks, Scott.

  3. I think there's nothing wrong with having higher-ups around to order their underlings to do work that's very dirty or that's sometimes hazardous to their health. But to me, having higher-ups around to order their underlings to do work that is very likely to kill them is downright wrong, no matter how you look at it!

    1. Cynthia,
      Your stupid comment:
      "I think there's nothing wrong with having higher-ups around to order their underlings to do work that's very dirty or that's sometimes hazardous to their health.' tells me that you are or have been an officer. You and the attitude that the 'underlings' can do work that's …very dirty… is crap. You suck and I bet your troops hate your guts. I am a former enlisted soldier and I will tell you that the stress of the Iraq "war" on a daily basis doesn't get easier, it gets harder. I was a crew-chief with the 54th MEDEVAC (AA) and the missions were horrible, bloody messes. And when we would return to base and most of the pilots would just walk way to leave the 'enlisted' to post-check the 60, alone with now help really sucked. F*ck you ma'am.

      1. Oh yeah, Your probably a PAC officer too, so the poor Joes and Janes depending on you to help them get promoted by turning in their packets on time probably don't get very good service. Or your a stupid DFAC WO that ensures that your "troop" can't have two starches. i hate you and your kind.

  4. May I quote Gen. William T. Sherman? "War is all cruelty, there is no sense trying to reform it, the crueler it is, the sooner it will be over!" The problem inherent in our military, and I speak with over 30 years of experience in uniform, is that young people, for the most part, enlist with no comprehension that a soldier's job is primarily to kill opposing soldiers and seize and hold terrain.

  5. After serving 23 years 6 months and 30 days in the miltary. Did I say military? As A Marine Forever!!!
    I raised my right hand and promised to protect and defend the Constitution of America against all enemies….. I was not drafted nor did I care about what the media nor political views to determine my faith. As a Warrior 99.9% dont give a crap and those who whine get all the attention. The Hell with CNN, MSMBC,FOX and all other media. You have voted for Obama and now you will see the Change that you believe in!!!! If you honestly believe that GW was screwed up wait one more year and count how many veterans will die under his NWO!!! God Bless America and God Bless Our Troops!!!

  6. wow notice how most of the reviews left here are all positive toward the article. “Congrats for resigning” what the hell is that you swore an oath and you should abide by it who cares if u dont like what you are doing you signed a contract, nobody forced you to and its no one elses blame that some of our youth has no clue what they are getting themselves into, they all have the right to educate themselves before they make a final decision. Deserted the military and only got a slap on the wrist you army guys really are fags. ( i tried thinking of a nicer word but there isnt one).

  7. News Flash. they do not hate us for our Freedom or Liberties or what we stand for. they hate us for what we are doing to them. if my Brother and his Family were handcuffed, dragged into the street and shot like Dogs i would hate you too. if i was a 18 Year old Nigerian that has a Family member rotting away in a USA MlIlitary Prison without ever being accused of a Crime i would react too.
    this is how Terrorists are made. they hate us for what we are doing over there.

  8. great interview .And i must say i agree with all most all the above views.And what a honest and well read people u are can see by just reading some off the views writen above and politician offten think we public are just stupid

  9. Please join us on Project Avalon forum. We are working to resolve dualities and polarities so that equanimity rules, thank you for retaining your personal code of honor.

  10. You know, I am so torn with all of this, you see, I lost my son Jeremiah Santos to this war in Iraq on June 15, 2006. He was 21 when he was taken from me. I have such a hard time with people disgracing our nation and making us look like war mongers, my son was not a war monger, he was a christian defender of the United States People, and the people of Iraq that were being persecuted and killed by insurgents. He was a hero, He is my son. I now have a 19 year old daughter serving in the Army in Afghanistan. They show me that the lessons they learned in their childhood stayed with them. They are grateful servants of the United States. War sucks, killing people is wrong any way you want to look at it. But I know that my son also helped to rebuild Iraqi people's lives. He stood to protect the persecuted, the weak, and his battle buddies. He came home on leave and all he could say was how much he loved and respected the Iraqi people. So I don't agree that we are over there just pushing ourselves on these people. I believe what my son told me. If I believe you then my son's life was given in vain…and my daughter is giving of herself in vain. No, no, no….they serve for peace and the love of their country and the people of another country. God Bless America and God Bless the American Servicemen and American Servicewomen who dedicate their lives to protect their homeland and those that are persecuted.

    1. Laurie…. I am a combat vet. I volunteered. I do not think your son died in vain, or that your daughter is there in vain. You told us on these pages that you brought them up w/ good values. I get that they joined w/ that in mind. That is what I did, also. But the result was the opposite of the good values and intention that I brought to war. Our government went against my good values by overthrowing a duly elected president ( Juan Bosch ) and installing the former dictators Minister of the Interior ( Juan Baluegar ). The U.S. supported that very dictator for 34 years.

      Your son and your daughter are not the problem. The fine values they were taught are the solution. It is the ongoing foreign and domestic policy that is based on the rich and powerful sending us off to fight their wars that we must revoke. My loyalty is to you, your son and daughters fine values, not the rulers. Bless You for your courage and your kids.

      ruling classes lack of them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.