Most media stories on military conscientious objection revolve around those who are in trouble for missing movement or suing over their denial. (Approved CO applications hover around 50%.) On Slate, Kathryn Schulz interviews a young man named Josh Stieber who was recently discharged as a CO.
His logic is sometimes strained and much is based on personal perception rather than fact, but that is often the case in situations like this. Ultimately, too, it is difficult to tell Read more
In light of recent articles on the increasing moral conflict of war — troops told to fight and kill without being provided the moral foundation for those actions — it seems appropriate to note the increasing attention “moral conflict” has recently gotten in the press. The articles even refer to “moral injury” and make a statement similar to that made here before: Read more
According to a local news station, PFC Naser Abdo has been recommended for honorable discharge five months after seeking status as a conscientious objector.
Abdo had previously been called a “traitor” by the American Islamic Forum for Democracy for seeking CO status while opposing only US military operations, not war in general.
As noted earlier, a Christian Ensign has sued the Navy with the help of the ACLU for not getting CO status, despite declaring himself a pacifist.
The ACLU has sued the US Navy on behalf of Ensign Michael Izbicki, a 2008 US Naval Academy graduate, who has been denied status as a conscientious objector.
Izbicki has reportedly been developing beliefs in line with the Quakers, a pacifist theology. The Navy has reportedly denied his claim because it questioned the sincerity of his beliefs.
According to the lawsuit, the Navy’s investigations of the legitimacy of Izbicki’s beliefs were deeply flawed and, in one case, “showed extreme religious bias” against his Christian beliefs, especially when it came to his increasing interest in Quakerism… Read more
According to the Associated Press, US Army PFC Naser Abdo joined the Army last year but has since decided that his faith will not allow him to fight.
Abdo said when he joined the Army more than a year ago, he initially felt he could be a soldier and a Muslim at the same time. But he said he now believes Islamic standards would prohibit his service in the U.S. Army in any war.
According to documents provided to The Associated Press, Abdo cited Islamic scholars and verses from the Quran as reasons for his decision to ask for separation from the Army.
“I realized through further reflection that God did not give legitimacy to the war in Afghanistan, Iraq or any war the U.S. Army would conceivably participate in,” he wrote.
Abdo, for whom a “free Naser Abdo” website has been created, faces a similar problem as others who have thought about claiming CO status. In order to be a CO Read more
A few months ago Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen told reporters
if there is either policy direction that someone in uniform disagrees with…and you feel so strongly about it — you know, the answer is not advocacy; it is in fact to vote with your feet.
The New York Times is reporting that those who oppose service by open homosexuals are beginning to wonder just how they can do that. Unlike General Mixon, the impetus of Mullen’s commentary, most servicemembers cannot simply resign. Many, even Read more
In the first substantive act in 25 years related to the draft, the Selective Service has signed an Alternative Service Employer Network agreement with the Mennonite Voluntary Service. The agreement entitles the MVS to be an officially recognized employer for persons making a claim for conscientious objector status; those applicants would be offered “alternative service” in a civilian support role, as opposed to a non-combat military role other COs receive.
The Army article has an interesting history of the CO status in the Read more
Sgt David Travis Bishop was court-martialed in August 2009 for being AWOL and disobeying orders when he missed his unit’s deployment to Afghanistan. Bishop had said he began to read his Bible in Iraq and came to believe that war was wrong, but did not realize he could apply for conscientious objector status.
According to news reports, Bishop has now been released from custody, in part due to clemency.