Joshua Casteel

1979 - 2012

Inspiration of Faith.  Dedicated Student. Advocate for Justice.
Defender of the Helpless. Peacemaker with All.
Loving Son. Soldier of Conscience.

Joshua's Story

from the documentary Soldiers of Conscience

Joshua was trained as an Arabic translator and deployed with the 202nd Military Intelligence Battalion to Abu Ghraib prison working as an interrogator from June 2004 to January 2005. Upon his return, Joshua applied for conscientious objector status and was honorably discharged in May 2005.

Joshua’s Book

Letters from Abu Ghraib, a collection of email messages sent by Joshua Casteel to his friends and family during his service as a US Army interrogator and Arabic linguist in the 202nd Military Intelligence Battalion, is the raw and intimate record of a soldier in moral conflict with his duties. Once a cadet at the US Military Academy at West Point and raised in an Evangelical Christian home, Casteel finds himself stationed at Abu Ghraib prison in the wake of the prisoner abuse scandal. He is troubled by what he is asked to do there, although it is, as he writes, miles within the bounds of what CNN and the BBC care about. Forced to confront the nature of fundamentalism, both religious and political, Casteel asks himself a fundamental question: How should I then live?

Click here to read what Jim Forest has to say about the book.

If I am bound to the belief that God is in control of the cosmos, and miracles can and do happen, then there is no 'hypothetical situation' wherein God's ability to perform miracles through the faithful actions of the merciful ceases to be a possibility.
- Joshua Casteel

Our goal is to carry on Joshua’s message and work where he left off. This means involving ourselves in and creating projects which attempt to promote peace, justice, and reconciliation between all people through various avenues in a spirit of love. We hope to achieve this goal by compassionately caring for those in need and encouraging thoughtful dialogue on the issues surrounding the topics of war and its consequences as well as non-violent and just ways of living together amidst our cultural and religious differences. Our means will be to use the written and spoken word as well as the arts and the provision of thought provoking resources, all of which provide opportunities for mutual understanding and growth. Our hope is that we can inspire others to live out the truths and principles that create the hope and desire necessary to work towards a less violent and more compassionate and harmonious world.