US Soldier Files Conscientious Objector Application

US Army Private Chris Munoz has reportedly filed an application to be a conscientious objector — just days before his unit ships out to Afghanistan.  His lawyer, James Branum, said he’s actually been trying to do it since about halfway through basic training last year:

At weapons training, he really began to think about what he was being asked to do. He was told there could come a situation where he might be forced to fire on a child. He realized then he could not fire upon a child, even if that child was a risk to him…That’s when things really clicked for him. That’s when he didn’t believe anymore that he could kill.

According to his lawyer, Munoz revealed his changing attitude to his superiors at Fort Benning — and several subsequent times before he reached Fort Hood in April — but on each occasion, a higher-ranking solider suggested to Munoz that his case would be expedited if he simply waited to formally file it when he reached Fort Hood…

It’s entirely possible that story is true; those who gave him that advice may even have thought he’d “grow out of it” once the shock wore off.

The article notes Munoz has been raked across the coals by fellow troops.  A petition has even been signed by fellow enlisted troops calling for him to be “imprisoned.”

Neither his website, Facebook page, nor other scant public information detail the change of heart he says he’s had.  That, combined with the emphasis on it being a philosophical, rather than religious, awakening, may be contributing to some of the skepticism.

CO applications can have a variety of outcomes.