Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Conscientious Objection

On the ninth day of opt out a recruiter said to me....

If you believe that all wars are wrong, you may be a Conscientious Objector (CO). It is possible to get out of the military as a CO; and in the past COs have been exempted from the draft. However, this depends on convincing the authorities that your beliefs are deeply held and sincere.

The Selective Service System website provides this definition of a CO:
A conscientious objector is one who is opposed to serving in the armed forces and/or bearing arms on the grounds of moral or religious principles.

You can look at the
The Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors (CCCO) How to compile a CO Claim page for help in documenting your beliefs.

You will find information and links below to learn about some COs, about what it means to be a CO, how you can document your beliefs and some organizations that can help.

•Kevin Benderman is in military prison for taking a position as a CO and refusing to fight in Iraq. He says,
"I believe we are long overdue for placing as much effort into developing more positive solutions to disagreements as we do on maintaining a force for destruction. As mature, intelligent people, we all have a choice, and I have made mine based on my personal experiences. Isn't that a fundamental right that we all have?"
To find out more about his case see Kevin Benderman Defense Committee

•Pablo Paredes is another CO from the Iraq War. Here is part of what he said when he was sentenced for refusing to go back to Iraq, "What I submit to you and the court is that I am convinced that the current war is exactly that (illegal). So, if there's anything I could be guilty of, it is my beliefs. I am guilty of believing this war is illegal. I'm guilty of believing war in all forms is immoral and useless, and I am guilty of believing that as a service member I have a duty to refuse to participate in this war because it is illegal." From Pablo Paredes statement during sentencing.

For more information see Citizens for Pablo

These organzations have more information.


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