"I didn't go back [to serve in Iraq] because we were committing crimes, because we were torturing people and killing civilians," Mejia said in the last interview featured in "Doing Time For Peace."
"Mejia was the first of the Iraq soldiers who refused to redeploy to Iraq." Riegle said. "He just couldn't take anymore. He said, 'I knew it was wrong all along, but I was afraid of what would happen and afraid of what people would think of me.'"
Mejia said, "We are trained to be obedient. Other people who I spoke with would talk about their fear and how that first act of getting arrested unmitigated the fear. They weren't afraid anymore."
Riegle also interviewed Kathy Kelly and Ed Kinane, who were in Baghdad during the 'shock and awe' bombing in March 2003. "They described what it was like to be in a city when our own Marines were bombing it.
"Both of my new books are heavily illustrated. I think the pictures show these people are like all of us. They are unusual only in their courage and their commitments. They are not unusual in other ways."
While writing "Doing Time for Peace," Riegle spoke to children of war resisters.
"'What is it like when your dad goes to jail and misses your college graduation because he was in prison?' I asked them.
"I met the wife of a college professor who goes to prison quite regularly, spending maybe a month in jail each time. His children were small and his wife said, 'Next time I'll go to jail. And you get the kids.'"
Riegle interviewed the three activist children of former priest Phil Berrigan, a strong opponent of the Vietnam War who spent more than 11 years in prison himself.
Riegle criticizes today's press.
"Why don't we have the press that we had during the Vietnam War? That is something people wonder about. The media has changed so much, in part because of the Internet.
"Today, we talk to the choir. We talk to people who agree with us," Riegle said.
"Why don't we have thousands of protesters now? There were huge protests during the Vietnam War and huge protests before the Iraq war.
"But they still bombed Iraq. I think a lot of people got discouraged. But the people I spoke to aren't discouraged."
Taylor Books is located in downtown Charleston at 226 Capitol St.Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjny...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.