By J.E. McNeil on Conscientious Objectors and Wrongness

“When you join the military,” says J.E. McNeil, executive director of the Center on Conscience on War, “one of the hundreds of forms you sign says, ‘I didn’t apply to be a conscientious objector for the draft, I’ve never been a conscientious objector, and I’m not a conscientious objector now.’ ” That requirement makes sense, McNeil says: “You don’t want a military made up of conscientious objectors. They’re not very useful in combat.” Fair enough, but what happens when members of the Armed Services realize that they no longer believe in the war they are fighting, or in fighting at all? In another installment in this series, 22-year-old Iraq War veteran Josh Stieber tells the story of changing his mind about military service. In the interview, we get a bird’s-eye view of the situation facing conscientious objectors from McNeil, whose faith-based nonprofit organization has been defending the rights of conscientious objectors since WWII.

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