Conscientious Objection, After You’re In

Here’s a web­site of “Jere­my Hinz­man, a U.S. Army sol­dier who became a a con­sci­en­tious objector”:http://www.jeremyhinzman.net/faq.html in the course of his ser­vice. His appli­ca­tions denied, he moved to Cana­da and is seek­ing polit­i­cal asy­lum there.
I find I can under­stand the issues all too well. In only a slightly-parallel uni­verse, I’d be in iraq myself instead of pub­lish­ing Non​vi​o​lence​.org. My father, a vet­er­an who fought in the South Pacif­ic in World War II, real­ly want­ed me to join the U.S. Navy and attend the Naval Acad­e­my at Annapo­lis. For quite some time, I seri­ous­ly con­sid­ered it. I am attract­ed to the idea of ser­vice and duty and putting in hard work for some­thing I believe in.
Hinzman’s sto­ry is get­ting a lot of main­stream cov­er­age, I sus­pect because the “escape to Cana­da” angle has so many Vietnam-era echoes that res­onate with that gen­er­a­tion. I wish Hinz­man would flesh out his web­site sto­ry though. His Fre­quent­ly Asked Ques­tions leaves out some impor­tant details that could real­ly make the sto­ry – why did he join the Army in the first place, what were some of the expe­ri­ences that led him to rethink his duty, etc. I’d rec­om­mend Jeff Paterson’s “Gulf War Refusenik”:http://jeff.paterson.net/ site, which includes lots of sto­ries includ­ing his own:
bq. “What am I going to do with my life?” has always been huge ques­tion of youth, and today in the wake of the hor­ror and tragedy of New York Sep­tem­ber 11th this ques­tion has increased impor­tance for mil­lions of young peo­ple. No one who has seen the images will ever for­get… If I hadn’t spent those four years in the Marine Corps, I might be inclined to fall into line now. Most of the time my unit trained to fight a war against peas­ants who dared to strug­gle against “Amer­i­can inter­ests” in their homelands-specifically Nicaragua, El Sal­vador, and Guatemala… Faced with this real­i­ty, I began the process of becom­ing un-American-meaning that the inter­ests of the peo­ple of the world began to weigh heav­ier than my self-interest. I real­ized that the world did not need or want anoth­er U.S. troop…
There are bound to be more sto­ries all the time of service-people who find a dif­fer­ent real­i­ty when they land on for­eign shores. How many will rethink their rela­tion­ship to the U.S. mil­i­tary. How many will fol­low Paterson’s exam­ple of becom­ing “un-American”?

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