A couple of days ago, I heard this interview on NPR, with Steve Inskeep. Inskeep was interviewing Spc. Mark Wilkerson, just before he turned himself in for having gone AWOL.
Wilkerson served one tour of duty in Iraq, but refused to go back. He sought CO status, but was told it would take a long time before his status would be reviewed. Apparently, he was told to go ahead with his redeployment, and they would let him know later whether it was granted.
He never went. Now, he has turned himself in. The military has revealed that no charges have been filed, and the case is under review.
Peter Laufer points out that this is bad publicity for the military.
The whole thing got me to thinking, would I qualify for Conscientious Objector status?
The military guidelines are paraphrased here:
you must object to participation in war in any form;
you must base your objection on "religious training and belief" (which can include moral or ethical training and belief) that "crystallized" after you entered the military; and
you must demonstrate that your position is "sincere and deeply held."
The actual military guidelines are here (PDF document).
The Directive (DODD 1300.6) is written with the degree of clarity that we have come to expect from the military. It starts out saying one thing, they says that it is not saying that but it in fact saying something else. And so forth.
At first, it says that CO status must be based upon religious belief. Then it backtracks, saying that the beliefs do not have to be religious. At that point, it appears that secular humanism would be a valid basis for CO status. But then, it states that it does not include a belief that rests solely upon considerations of policy, pragmatism, expediency, or political views.
that would seem to imply that there is something fundamentally different about pragmatic philosophy, something that disqualifies it as the basis for morality. Are they not aware that Pragmatism is a serious branch of philosophy?
I'm curious about that, because that is what my case would rest upon. I guess I am assuming that they lump together pragmatism with pragmaticism; perhaps they actually have a degree of discernment that is not immediately apparent.