Thursday, March 18, 2004


Listening to the Tavis Smiley Show on the way home and they're discussing conscientious objectors and how many of them go AWOL since they're not sure what else to do. They gave an example of one chaplain who fell down on the job: when a soldier came to him expressing his concerns, he told him to stick it out and he'd get used to it. With no better advice or known options, the soldier decided to go AWOL. That soldier was Stephen Funk who ended up spending six months in jail.

This article about Funk quotes Jason Crawford, 23, founder of the website Patriots for the Defense of America:
"I think it is a grave dishonor to back out when your country needs you. There aren't any proper objections to this war. It is a just war."
That's the sort of narrow-minded thinking you're up against if you're an objector. (The Bush administration must really appreciate these unquestioning jingoistic types. Fresh young assets for the enterprise. Human capital.)

There's no easy way: if you declare yourself a conscientious objector, they call you a coward because you didn't even see the battlefield. If you declare after going to war, you get trashed too. Also, it ain't easy to prove you're a conscientious objector, and applications can take up a year to be reviewed.

But here's something I didn't know that's kinda scary: in order to be a conscientious objector, you apparently have to declare that you're against fighting in all wars. So what happens if you go to war in Iraq, for example, and decide, "You know what, this isn't right. I could defend my homeland against foreign invaders. But I just don't think this pre-emptive stuff is right anymore. Plus I'm seeing a lot of innocents killed here. Nope, just can't do it anymore."

Guess what? You can't claim to be a conscientious objector. Guess the idea is your country wouldn't go to war without good reason. So you're either for serving in all or none. Guess you're fucked.

Learn more about conscientious objection to war at, website for the Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors.

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