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"[I thought] I have to tell people when I come back home what’s going on...and I have to be actively against this." (Audio interview, 2:20:13)

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   Brock Robert McIntosh
Image of Brock Robert McIntosh
B&W print, McIntosh in field, Afghanistan
War: Afghanistan and Iraq Wars, 2001-present
Branch: Army
Unit: 333rd Military Police Company, Illinois Army National Guard; 275th Military Police Company, Washington, DC Army National Guard
Service Location: Firebase Waza Khwa, Afghanistan; Forward Operating Base Salerno, Khost City, Afghanistan; Freeport, Illinois; Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Washington, DC
Rank: Specialist, E-4
Place of Birth: IL
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Drawn to the recruiter’s table by the educational benefits available to enlistees, Brock McIntosh joined the Illinois Army National Guard in 2006. Deeply religious, he was also motivated by a strong sense of personal responsibility to confront injustice and bring about change in the world. Deploying to Afghanistan in October 2008, he served with a Military Police unit stationed primarily at Firebase Waza Khwa in the Southern Paktika Province of Eastern Afghanistan. While there, he felt increasingly disconnected from the Afghan civilians he was there to help. After his return to the States in 2009, he concluded that for him, serving with the National Guard was not the best way to achieve a stable and peaceful Afghanistan, and he applied for Conscientious Objector status.

Interview (Audio)
»Interview Highlights  (10 clips)
»Complete Interview  (195 min.)
Download: audio
  Photos
»Photo Album (6 photos)
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»Current Conflicts: Afghanistan and Iraq
 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (10 items)
Attracted to National Guard because of signing bonus and tuition money; thoughts on the Iraq War; wanting to train Iraqi police to make the country self-sufficient. (02:07) Knowing his National Guard unit might deploy; idea of deployment was attractive; wanting to participate in the fight for peace. (01:53) Getting the phone call from his platoon sergeant that his unit was deploying; initial excitement; wanting validation as soldier. (01:36)
Talking with his mom before he deployed about his preferences for his funeral service; surreal experience to be discussing his own death. (01:13) Main tasks of his unit in Waza Khwa; boredom; seeing combat during the second month. (07:22) Experience being shot at; interaction with enemy; being hit by an IED on the way home. (03:45)
Slowly becoming critical of American presence in Afghanistan; trying to figure out how to make mission work. (01:57) Thinking through the best way to achieve peace and stability in Afghanistan; embracing community organizing; arriving at his position against the war. (04:40) Incident in which he interacted with an Afghan prisoner of war. (02:31)
Pursuing nonviolence trainings around the country; thinking about different ways to deal with conflict; deciding to become a conscientious objector. (08:00)  
  
 
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  The Library of Congress  >> American Folklife Center
  October 26, 2011
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