Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

"I initially agreed with these methods and chose to volunteer to help defend my country. It was not until I was in Iraq and reading secret military reports on a daily basis that I started to question the morality of what we were doing. It was at this time I realized in our efforts to meet this risk posed to us by the enemy, we have forgotten our humanity."

One of my best friends spoke similarly when I met him after his tour as a Marine in the first Gulf War in 1991. Based on what he saw, after long introspection, he applied for conscientious objector status. He felt he was sent around the world not to protect his country's freedom or safety, but government and corporate interests. He felt his conscience could only oppose all wars he could possibly imagine his country fighting. He could only learn that by going, not from what his government told him before going.

The situation today seems more objectionable than then. I feel like the more we learn about the government's actions, the yet more objectionable they seem.

I shudder when I connect the data point then to today's and extrapolate a few years out.

But I still take inspiration from people who honor the Constitution over what seems opposing policy.

(Edit: since people are asking about what happened to my friend, instead of evaluating his conscientious objector intent, they gave him bureaucratic run-around for years until it was easier for him to get his Honorable Discharge on schedule.)

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

- Dwight Eisenhower


* 1961. We've had a half-century to get used to it then so I suggest take responsibility for that instead of pretending it's something that fell out of the sky and landed on us.

It is fundamentally different pre-1989, after the existential threat to the world went away (mostly), than now.

I honestly would have been happy with current NSA monitoring (if disclosed) if it were effective to reduce the odds of nuclear war with the USSR. As it is, it would have been ineffective then, is clearly ineffective now, and is worse for genuinely uninvolved people than the McCarthy period was for most people (who were never targeted).

I probably would have tried to work for NSA or CIA or SAC during the Cold War, as a way to reduce the odds of nuclear war by a tiny percent. Fighting shoeless jihadi fucks in caves who just want to make life hell for their own countrymen on the other side of the world isn't worth any amour of money, civil liberties, or US casualties beyond the minimum required to keep oil and lines of communication open. We don't need to sacrifice to help them, except voluntarily as private citizens.

Most of our problems are due to the Baby Boomers (IMO the most worthless generation to walk the earth) not recognizing that 1989 was a sufficiently large change to completely recast how the US should approach security. Until 2008 (and then 2010, and clearly 2012 and especially now), the Boomers (and older) were the only political force in the US.

After seeing the way you post in all these threads, you're the worst kind of apologist.

That was an unnecessary and uncivil remark about anigbrowl.

I'm saying this despite the fact that I probably agree with you about Manning. I was once much like the descriptions of him, possessed by a combination of high intelligence, arrogance, emotional confusion, and moral naivete, and frequently in denial about very obvious realities before me. In as much as I can forgive myself for being a bit of a messed up kid, I can forgive Manning.

Anigbrowl has been very actively trying to defend the NSA and USG - and I am 100% against that.

It is not uncivil to call him out. His position is the enemy of freedom.

Manning and Snowden are heroes.

There are nuances in arguing that what the NSA/Manning/Snowden did is wrong or right . It isn't a 100% black/white and/or issue. It seems HN thinks that it should be this way, but it isn't like that in the real world we live in.

I understand that position, and there are nuances to to the matter, but I am coming from the position of my personal principles - which are far less nuanced.

I am 100% unequivocally against the NSA, the USGs position on this and the entire world that supports this. It is not the reality I want for anyone to live in a reality with absolute surveillance and no freedom of thought. I refuse to accept this.

You will never get to the truth by shouting down those that oppose your views. As long as someone is willing to engage in an open and robust discussion ... The minute "opinion, belief or faith" enter the equation, an intelligent conversation is dead. Otherwise, you should get to the truth.

I would hope you have more respect than 100% belief in just about anything. Look up the Socratic method for some good example of flaws in anything being 100% wrong, or 100% right.

I'm not saying I'm 100% right. I am saying I am 100% against the NSA surveillance state.

Also, we can have soft debates all day long, but I stand for the belief that what the USG, the NSA are doing is against a free and sovereign state and I am taking a stand.

Did this belief just start last month because of Snowden?

Heh, no. While I am not going to point to my online history - I have held the same position for several decades. I have been aware of these programs since the early 90s.

You can see in my HN comment history where I talk about my first learning of USG backdoor requirements in Cisco gear in 1997.

The thing is, by refusing to accept a middle ground and holding an extremist position, all of your arguments carry much less weight. In particular, your arguments about the non-extremists like anigbrowl that you disagree with because they are leaning towards the other extreme are going to be ignored by just about everyone, save for other extremists.

So what I'm saying is, if you really care about the NSA and USG not abusing their powers - and most of us care about this - you're not actually helping yourself or anyone else by holding on to a black-and-white position.

So, I am uncivil for calling Anigrbrowl "an apologist" - then you label me "extremist" and use the language "non-extremist" to describe Anigrbrowl?

While at the same time, you're deriding me for my language, and completely ignoring the issue, or the points, I am arguing, and on top of that, condescendingly advising me how to debate.

I see.

I'm using the word "extremist" because you are unequivocally 100% against the NSA. Those are your words. That's an extreme position. You could not possibly be more against them, because you're at one extreme of the continuum of beliefs about the goodness of the NSA. Whereas anigbrowl is not an extremist, in that he is not unequivocally 100% in favor of the NSA.

I'm not even sure why it's offensive to you that I'm calling your position extremist, or you extremist in so far as you adopt that position, given your clearly stated understanding of your position. I'm an extremist when it comes to the badness of molesting infants, for example. I understand that this is hypocritical with respect to what I wrote above, I just feel that strongly about it.

But "the worst kind of [government] apologist" is needlessly pejorative and doesn't advance any useful argument, besides indicating that anigbrowl's position is somewhat pro-NSA, which is not a priori a bad thing.

He felt he was sent around the world not to protect his country's freedom or safety, but government and corporate interests.

There's nothing new about that.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_Is_a_Racket (by Gen. Smedley Butler)

http://www.amazon.com/Overthrow-Americas-Century-Regime-Chan... (by Stephen Kinzer)

Yes, there is.

Unlike tens of millions that served their tour silently and never questioned requests they were given, regardless if it meant to protect a hospital building, or machine-gun group of civilians from aboard hovering helicopter, this guy, knowingly he could pay the ultimate penalty of life in jail, decided to go against selfish interests of his superiors and altogether with his heart's gut.

And for taking this stand, he's go my lifetime's respect.

EDIT: since this is getting upvoted heavily, I want to add something:

Imagine that every single soldier is a copy of Bradley Manning. Than when a supervisor breaks the law, they blow the whistle. As a result, you can imagine two things happening: either army would stop existing (doubt that) OR supervisors, colonels and all those little monsters in power would STOPPED breaking the law once for all. Its as simple as that.

Okay, you can say: get down to Earth, this is War, War is always dirty. Sure. So my response is: the last War we been at was World War 2. We have no business WHATSOEVER to be (or ever been) in Iraq, Afganistan, or tens of other places where US soldiers are currently deployed. None! All those "wars" we fighting are NOT in the name of peace or freedom of Americans, living tens of thousands of miles away, here on US soil. The War we are in right now are in most part because there is easy tax-payers money to be grabbed and the Industrial Military Complex do not want to rest on not spending trillions of dollars. That's it!

EDIT 2: next time you say: "oh there is a chance Manning did endanger lives of US citizens". Maybe yes maybe no. Maybe if grandma would have mustache she would've been grandpa. But do yourself a favor: go and watch Youtube helicopter massacre that Manning uncovered. I assure you people you watch ARE beyond any shade of doubt DEAD.

I think you misinterpreted the text quoted by the parent as referring to Manning's actions. It is not; it refers to the government's impetus for war as realized by the GP's friend.

I like your comments and think they are of a serious nature, but oh man!

> Maybe yes maybe no. Maybe if grandma would have mustache she would've been grandpa.

Is the funniest comment I've seen all year!

Manning joined the military in late 2007 or early 2008...long after incidents like the prison abuse at Abu Ghraib, and even the admission by President Bush himself that the decision to go to war had been based on faulty intelligence.I cannot take Manning's claims that he had no clue that there was anything untoward going on until he arrived in Iraq and began reading secret military reports.

Now, I wouldn't have expected him to have an adult's awareness of all the political issues, but did this young man never see the front page of a newspaper or watch a television news broadcast during the previous four years? You would have to have been living under a rock to be unaware that the US invasion of Iraq had been the subject of controversy.


So, is it too hard to accept that direct exposure to the magnitude of what was actually happening made him conscious of his role in perpetuating institutional violence? That perhaps in his service as a low level functionary of the army intelligence service he became conscious of how he was acting as part of the machinery of oppression that held him down as well? One could almost say that he became conscious of himself as a member of a class of people who enable the oppression of others so that it falls slightly less harshly upon their own backs.

Yes, that is too hard for me to accept. I've talked to many people who were younger than Manning who were well aware of the immorality of the war in general and things like Abu Ghraib and torture in particular. My view is that you should think about issues of this sort before you join the military.

Just because some people younger than Manning have a better grasp of where they stand on the war and its morality doesn't mean that Manning actually had, or should have had, that same understanding at the time he signed up and joined the military.

People come from different situations. I care a lot more about politics and our general situation as a country now than I did at 18-21... honestly I just didn't give a shit until about 25. Then I became interested and decided I needed to be well informed. Are there people older than me who are still uninformed? Yes. Are there people younger than 25 who give a shit about these things. Yes.

Nothing requires that Manning have developed these interests before he joined the military.

Also, while it is "your view" that these things should be thought about before joining the military, I can guarantee you that every person I knew going into the military when I was in high school did not think about these things at all. It was mostly two reasons, economic, or their family expected them to enlist as that's just what people in their family did.

While the army and the world might be better off if people thoroughly examined these issues before enlisting, that's just not the current state of things.

Hell, Abu Ghraib was just bad apples, officially, and said apples were punished.

So it would have been entirely possible to go to war in its wake without expecting to participate in its like. After all, officially (from the outside), it was condemned.

So maybe he was living under a rock. Is that a crime?

What is the alternative hypothesis, that when he joined he had an understanding of the ongoing horrors? That seems harder to believe than "he was in fact living under a rock."

More likely, it's easy to convince a teenager. "yeah, there may be a few rogues out in the middle of a war zone. There are hundreds of thousands that serve with honor, and those that don't will be punished. Please sign here.

One view of the military recruiting teenagers is that the military exploits the fact that a large fraction of teenagers are really eager to belong to something.

If that's your argument, then we shouldn't trust them with the ability to vote, enter into contracts, or get married.

Only if we start from the premise that there is no middle ground between totally infallible and too stupid to take any responsibility.

I meant teenage boys. Okay, you have a really nice daughter, cute, sweet, pretty, darling, adorable, precious, a girl you have never been able to say "No" to, who has had you wrapped around her little finger since she was six months old, great student, cooks, sews, plays piano, great babysitter, loves kids, popular, etc. and at 16 falls in love with a boy 18 and wants to get married. You "trust" him with your daughter?

That little scenario aside, the claim in my statement is that the military doesn't just use the strong desire of teenage boys to be members of groups but exploits it. The exploitation is in basic training, etc.

It's a manipulation.

For voting, entering into contracts, and usually even marriage, the role of manipulation is usually much lower and the consequences less deadly.

Absolutely, though I'd consider such naive trusting to fall somewhere in the general neighborhood of "living under a rock".

Or being 18 years old ;)

He was between the ages of 19 & 20 when he joined the Army. I think it's quite reasonable to expect basic adult awareness of what organization he was signing up for and to be aware that the Iraq war was far from a clean-cut ethical situation. If he lacked such basic awareness, then that does not say very much for his judgment, does it? As it was, he had been described since high school days as 'very smart, very opinionated, very political' and had taken college classes in history before signing up for the army.

As it was he had a Top Secret clearance before he was ever deployed to Iraq. Now there is no way he got a Top Secret clearance without exhibiting the ability to understand the military context he was headed into. If he had ethical reservations about the conduct of the war then it just might have been a good idea to raise them prior to deployment, no?

I'm not unsympathetic to the guy, but taking his story at face value requires adopting a position of spectacular naivete.

Not everyone thinks like you, not everyone has the same experiences and viewpoints as you. There are people all over this country that continue to enlist in and support the military, and view it and the government as forces for good. Obviously he knew there was some controversy, but so what? That doesn't mean he's going to make the same conclusions as you.

You're arguing from a certain viewpoint, and being blind to the fact that people can come from different places that are entirely foreign to you. Maybe he was brainwashed, or willfully ignorant, or something else; whatever the case may be, it's possible for people to come to realizations that they were unable to see before.

A parallel is useful. My father joined the Junior ROTC in high school, and the ROTC in college. He rose eventually to the rank of second lieutenant in the US Army Reserve. He started taking some of his college time to do charity work in Mexico and eventually ended up helping build houses in a Native American community that had finished an uprising against the government. He returned to file for conscientious objector status only to discover he had been promoted to First Lieutenant. Given that Vietnam was escallating, they refused his request for a general discharge and he refiled. They called him up for active duty and he refused. They sent him to to the stockade and he set himself up as the go-to person for helping people apply for conscientious objector status. His request for a general discharge was rejected again, on the basis that he was too honorable for it. Six months later (more time in the stockade, I think totalling around a year), they reached a deal where he would teach a driving course and be honorably discharged. The course was done on film, but by the time they finished it, they discovered that Lt. Travers had made such a name for himself in the stockade in terms of helping people apply for discharges that they couldn't use it. At the end of the day he was honorably discharged and the court martial called off.

It's one thing to watch movies or think about things. It is another thing to see the results of war with one's own eyes.

There are two meanings of "expect" which are often in conflict. Consider:

"A mother walks into her living room to discover her teenage son playing video games the night before a big math test. Reasonably upset, she says, 'I expect you to do well on that test tomorrow.'"

Now, does she think that her son will do well on that test? No, she wouldn't be upset if she did. Does she nevertheless consider it his responsibility to do well? Of course. She does not expect him to do well on the test, but she does expect him to do well.

It is not reasonable to expect a 19/20 year old who is signing up for the military to have a full appreciation for the implications of his action and the actions of the military he is joining. Nevertheless, society expects exactly that of him.

He had a Top Secret clearance before he ever went to Iraq. I think it is reasonable to expect a minimal degree of introspection and self-awareness from anyone who's entrusted with a top secret clearance. We're not talking about some involuntary draftee here, as if he had top secret clearance foisted on him when he wasn't looking.

Expect? Sure. Expect? No. Regarding it as obligatory is fine. Regarding it as likely is just being foolish. Do you have any experience with people?

Seriously though, what is your thesis here? That he joined with the intention of leaking secrets? That he doesn't actually think anything objectionable was going on? What? You have made it plain that you think he should have known that shit was hitting the fan, but you haven't actually made a point.

I have made a point - that he knew, or should have known what he was getting into. If he failed to do that (which I don't believe) then he should not have trusted his own judgement about what was or wasn't constitutional and what should be leaked - because the vast majority of what he leaked didn't expose any wrongdoing whatsoever.

My thesis is not tha the joined with the intention of leaking secrets. My thesis is that he joined up thinking it would help him straighten out his sexual identity issues and when it ended up making them worse it's unfortunate (largely for himself) that he didn't seek a medical discharge on basis of his gender dysphoria and the severe stress it was causing him. I don't think he's an inherently bad person, but if you're going to carry a top secret clearance you have to be aware that that's some Serious Business.

Do you have any experience with people?

More than you seem to imagine. It's because I've spent so much time out at the fringes of society that I have so little patience with this infantilist bullshit. Like Manning, I left home and (broken) family at a young age to make my own way int he world, instead of going along with the crowd on the conveyor belt. I sympathize with him, but I also think that respecting his right to make his own choices also involves investing him with the responsibility for the outcomes of those choices.

I like what I see of Manning, but think he made some catastrophic mistakes that's he's going to be paying for for the next few years. Your view of events is predicated on him being a helpless automaton that joined the army and earned a top secret clearance without understanding what any of that meant, which is to deny him agency for his own actions.

I don't think it's necessary that he "know or should have known" what he was getting into. We have shitloads of people with top secret clearance in this country. In order to view certain documents for various jobs, it's just a clearance you have to have. There isn't a requirement to know the larger picture, and where you stand, with any specific accuracy.

Do you believe it's plausible to change your views? I think the most likely situation is that he thought he knew what he was getting into, and, through his access to lots of top secret documents, ended up learning more things, and thus changed his mind.

I mean seriously, have you never gotten into a situation where you learned information that changed your mind?

As I see it, you are the one that thinks him some sort of automaton who must always be making the most logical conclusion from the evidence available to him. The slightest fault there seems to cause you to to jump to the other absurd extreme.

He's not perfect, obviously. Joining the army when he did was stupid as hell just for staters, I don't think we disagree there. Does that lapse in judgement signal a broader permanent disability of some sort that will follow him for the rest of his life? People change, you should know that.

If he says that he decided that the war was objectionable after he joined, I believe him. I have no reason not to, nothing about somebody changing their mind conflicts with my mental model of normal people with agency of their own. Normal people with their own agency can change their mind, that isn't suspicious.

Automata don't draw conclusions, because they don't think. Of course he could have changed his* mind, but if you do after having joined the army, obtained a top secret clearance, and spent time n theater, then obviously it means your earlier decision was misplaced. Having just made a major wrong decision, you're not in a good position to start interpreting the Constitution on your own and dumping information out left and right.

As I keep pointing out (and nobody has refuted), nothing in the State Department cables revealed any unconstiutional or even awful activity. So our diplomats also spy on on other diplomats they meet - shocker! This is what diplomats do, and intelligence-gathering is a normal function of embassies. The trouble with Manning's argument from principle that it doesn't really explain the bulk of the leaks (I have acknowledged repeatedly that leaking materials which appear to show actual war crimes is justifiable).

* I'm using the male pronoun because that's the identity he was using at the time. As of today she is now living as a woman and has changed her name to Chelsea Manning. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bradley_manning#Gender_reassign...

Are you saying it is impossible for a person to change their stance based on time and increased exposure to something? Heck if you had asked me when I was 20 my stance on any number of things and then asked again today, you'd find they had changed. The basic facts about them haven't changed, but my perspective and exposure to their consequences sure has,and therefore so has my understanding and attitude towards them.

How is it so unbelievable that a kid wanting to serve his country was changed by the experience of doing so, having been placed to see what it means firsthand?

Finally, it is well understood that brain development continues into the mid 20s - so changes to thinking should be physiologically expected at least.

Have you known many, um...humans? We are all of us terribly, terribly eager to be on the right side. When we see evidence that our side is wrong, our first instinct is to doubt it, to discredit it, or to ignore it entirely. Changing our minds on issues of core identity does not come easily, if at all. Some of us realize all this; some fewer struggle against it; fewer still manage to actually escape it, sometimes, for a while, in some cases. God knows I try, but the definition of the beast is that we rationalize failure as success; you can never know whether you've actually succeeded or just found a new level of self-deception.

Young Manning's "spectacular naivete" is what the rest of us call "the human condition." But maybe you're the one actual rational human being in all of history. Congratulations.

That makes perfect sense to me, and I've also been aware since my early teens that there are plenty of people out there who will try to manipulate people on that basis. Count me out from this moral vacuity you describe.

A surprisingly large number of Americans live in a position of spectacular naivete--in their teens, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and so on. Until death.

Apparently it's not all that exclusive to get top-secret clearance to government intel (as evidenced by the Snowden incident).

Also, who is it that was calling him 'very smart, opinionated, and political'? It could be that he was smart, opinionated, and political in favor of the agenda that the army invaded Iraq & Afghanistan under. If I'm in a position of power in the Army and I see that someone is smart and opinionated in favor of my agenda, that's someone likely to gain a security clearance from me.

I don't completely disagree with you though. It seems pretty logical to me that war is a nasty business where morals are swept under the rug.

I think it would take more thorough research to postulate on Manning's political leanings prior to the war. My gut feeling is he was liberal-leaning prior, and his conscience was attacked by the reality of what he experienced.

"taking his story at face value requires adopting a position of spectacular naiveté."

It really doesn't. Just need ability to put yourself in the other person's shoes. Admittedly not easy. Hard enough to do when building an app for users, let alone analyzing someone else's life choices.

Every empire has a propaganda apparatus. I'm sure he thought he was doing the right thing, more or less, when he joined.

Don't give me that, even if you never looked past the front page of a newspaper you would have to have known that Iraq was a giant clusterfuck.

It's not hard to believe that some portion (if not the majority) of people joining the military genuinely think they are doing something good.

I had a friend who joined the National Guard long before the Iraq War. When the push to invade started she expressed grave reservations about the impact on the world. One thing she said was "if we go to war, do you have any idea how much history will be lost?"

She was called up to serve, and served in a war she honestly believed was unnecessary and wrong. She never was willing to talk about her experiences over there. A year after she got back, she hanged herself.

It is easy to look at the military and assume that these are people without a conscience. It is harder to recognize that people can join the military for a large number of reasons, many good, and when duty calls, the conflict between political opinion and duty is not always an easy one to resolve.

I believe that the majority of those who join the military do so out of the belief that they are doing something good. Those who eventually realize they are not pay a heavy price one way or another. Either like my father they go to jail (my father went to jail for refusing to go to Vietnam--- he was a First Lieutenant in the Army Reserves at the time), or like my friend end up taking their own lives.

read the starship troopers. it's a little entertaining little short story.

But it hit like a punch to face when you finally grasp how the mind of a kid gets turned around in the army. In the end, even you are being proud of his dumb and blind service to the war effort.

If you are looking for an intentionally anti-militaristic message, I recommend the movie over the book. If you enjoy unintentional messages, the book is fantastic too.

Clusterfuck for sure, but it doesn't seem to be relevant for many. People continue to voluntarily sign away their civilian rights and join the military. Somehow the fact that you are signing up to kill people (or support those who do) for corporate profits doesn't deter. What's worse, society continues to place a high honor upon those who agree to continue this process.

I recall noticing a shift in popular rhetoric recently. People went from fully supporting the war to perhaps no longer supporting the war, but still supporting the troops. I think another shift may be required before the obvious giant clusterfuck makes any damn difference to people signing up.

How many teenagers read newspapers?

I mean, I did, but I also didn't join the Army...

That would be expecting someone who is 19 in the late 2000s to actually read a newspaper.

You can also add in the fact the war was incredibly unpopular. Considering the mainstream media coverage at the time (I don't recall a positive article the entire war) it's hard to imagine he still had no idea about what we were doing there with all of the negative media coverage.

His naivety was his undoing in many ways.

anigbrowl wrote: "I cannot take Manning's claims that he had no clue that there was anything untoward going on until he arrived in Iraq and began reading secret military reports."

Do you all seriously belive that Manning could say anything else at this point? There are many other possible frames of mind he could've been in when joining the military and getting secret clearance, but he cannot express any of them (at least not if he wants that parole in 8 years).

Maybe he expected that post-admission operations would be cleaner.

"I shudder when I connect the data point then to today's and extrapolate a few years out." Well put.

How much of the military enrollment is based on taking advantage of the naivety and emotional charge of young adults that will then be (ab)used for hidden interests ? It does not seem very far from terrorist organizations processes ..

> Based on what he saw, after long introspection, he applied for conscientious objector status.

Successfully? I'd think it would be much harder to do so after initially agreeing to fight.

It should be possible to change ones mind about something.

Lots of conscientious objectors do so from a religious viewpoint, but having a conscience is not exclusively reserved for people of some religion, you are welcome to have one all by your lonesome. And that conscience can start to ask annoying questions about your actions and affiliations which can cause you to change your mind about something.

What is more worrisome to me is that it would be something that could be refused. If someone states they have no will to obey the government entity they have applied for then they should be allowed to leave. The alternative feels too much like ownership to me.

Oh, I agree with you completely. That doesn't necessarily mean it works that way, though. Conscientious objector status requires proof, and as I understand it the burden of proof is on the objector. I could easily imagine that that burden of proof would be higher if the objection occurred after initial acceptance, especially voluntary acceptance.

My father was eventually granted CO status after spending a year in the stockade for failure (well, refusal) to report for active duty. I don't know how things there have changed since Vietnam though.

I imagine it's quite a bit more difficult to argue int he absence of a draft.

Why do you "apply" for conscientious objector status? Surely that means they can decide whether or not to accept it.

> Based on what he saw, after long introspection, he applied for conscientious objector status. He felt he was sent around the world not to protect his country's freedom or safety, but government and corporate interests.

Isn't that the basis of ALL war?

> Isn't that the basis of ALL war?

Its the basis for at least one side in pretty much all war, but every side in every war (at least since treating war as a private rather than public affair and paying troops by overtly giving them either land grants in conquered territory or the right to loot conquered territory fell out of vogue) presents that as the other side, not their own side.

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact