How the Military Hides Dissent in the Ranks

From Alternet:

The military’s murky system keeps no accurate count of conscientious objectors, and likely hides the true extent of disgruntled service-members.

Ever since Major Nidal Hasan killed 13 soldiers at Fort Hood last month, the hunt has been on for a motive, preferably one the Army could have detected and thwarted and still be held  harmless.

It’s a long list, ranging from compassion fatigue to religious militancy, ineptitude to insanity, but it is clear that Hasan was desperate to avoid becoming one of the swarm of soldiers about to be sent to Afghanistan. This includes the possibility that he explored applying for conscientious objector, or CO, status, but Army officials counter that they have no record of any such attempt.

Of course they don’t.

No reliable count exists of how many soldiers consider themselves conscientious objectors. The Army recorded 39 applications in 2007, the last year for which records are complete (and represents a five-year low). About half were approved. Nobody, however, believes Army statistics on the issue, probably not even the Army itself.

Chuck Fager, director of Quaker House in Fayetteville, North Carolina, a GI rights organization, has developed a maxim: “There are Lies, Damn Lies, Statistics, And Pentagon Numbers.” Even the U.S. Government Accountability Office threw up its hands when it tried to complete an independent assessment in 2007, before resorting to quoting the Defense Department’s numbers back to it.

[Read more at Alternet]

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  • Synapse

    It's clear that Hasan was a Muslim psycho, not a conscientious objector (unless you are connecting CO status and an inclination for gunning people down?), and due to political correctness, instead of investigating his clearly terrorist activities, they decided to promote him and give him the golden touch instead of shutting him down and 13 people paid with their lives.

    As for Conscientious objectors, it helps if you don't believe in Army service to not join in the first place. If you only joined for the benefits, that's called selling out.

    • GoodDoktorBad

      Thank you Rush Limbaugh…..

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/PDDVWRQVUPMKRGHURIEQVNYWHQ Sean

    CO status is a joke, If there were conscription it would be another matter , but we don't
    joining the military, taking the money then deciding you don't want to do the job should get you prosecuted
    like any deserter.

    • GoodDoktorBad

      You're a sheep. A loud, stupid voice in an angry mob shouting “coward”. Among other sheep, I suppose thats the safe place to be. Do what you're told, everything will be OK…
      Get along little doggie….

      • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/PDDVWRQVUPMKRGHURIEQVNYWHQ Sean

        would you be so quick to support them if they were breaking any other contract?
        It's sad to see honor going out of style, I don't support the war, but that has nothing to do with the discussion.
        all that is relevant is people making a deal and not honoring their end, If there was a draft CO would have a place but when everyone is the the armed forces by their own decision and of their own free will there is no grounds for backing out

        • GoodDoktorBad

          My only problem with your opinion is that you seem so eager to condemn people for “cowardice”. For the sake of argument, lets say deserters, CO's, etc are all guilty of cowardice and breach of contract. OK, so what do you think should be done with them? What are you willing to condemn these people to? Please tell me what your superior sense of honour would dictate. Perhaps you'd like to be on the firing squad?

      • Synapse

        Speaking of the “Deny all the real reasons and look for deep conspiracies” sheep…

        Occam's Razor, try it some time.

        • GoodDoktorBad

          You may want to shave a few layers of bullcrap yourself. Assuming my ignorance only proves your arrogance.
          Devil's advocate, try it some time…

  • 5by5

    Actually, an honest religious conversion mid-term of service IS a valid reason to seek conscientious objector status, but there is no grounds or justification for taking your angst out in a violent way on innocents like the douchebag did at Ft Hood. They are two different things, and it's a profound mistake to confuse or conflate any of what real conscientious objectors do, with what Hasan did. Someone who applies for CO status does so because they DON'T want to kill innocent people or violate the law. Hasan did what he did because the man went batcrap crazy.

    Many young men and women join the military very early in their lives prior to any real understanding of what serving (especially in a time of war) means to any full extent, and once they do find out, feel trapped.

    You can't get a sense of the smells of rotting and burning human flesh by watching 'The Big Red One” or “The Green Berets”, and you certainly can't grasp what repeated rattling to your brain inside your brain bucket will feel like once you've stood by several hundred explosions or so. Nor can you fully grasp what it will mean the first time you accidentally kill someone in battle that you didn't intend to – like a child. Or what it will really mean to your thinking and your feelings when you watch your best friend get cut in half by an IED. Or how you will approach it if you are given what amounts to an illegal order, as Lt. Watada was. Your honor is then as much at stake in RESISTING such orders, because if you don't, then you really WILL have “sold out”. If not outright sold your soul.

    I think simplistic characterizations that just boil all that down to “Well you signed a contract,” are piss poor summaries of the real ethical challenges involved.

    Life's a bit more complex than that, and at a minimum, we should be focused on offering compassion and help to those faced with such difficult choices, rather than knee-jerk judgment.

    Moreover, admonitions about your “contractual obligations” relegates national service to just some mid-point between formerly honorable public duty to defend the nation, to some icky semi-commercial mid-step between that, and becoming a full-on slimy Blackwater-type merc who kills people solely for fun and profit.

    Coincidentally enough, this very morning I came across a quote from John F. Kennedy who said, “War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today.”

    I'm also reminded of something that Adam Kokesh, USMC, said, “When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.”

    • GoodDoktorBad

      Thankyou! Well said…

  • GoodDoktorBad

    My only problem with your opinion is that you seem so eager to condemn people for “cowardice”. For the sake of argument, lets say deserters, CO's, etc are all guilty of cowardice and breach of contract. OK, so what do you think should be done with them? What are you willing to condemn these people to? Please tell me what your superior sense of honour would dictate. Perhaps you'd like to be on the firing squad?

  • Anonymous

    I would imagine they would just kill anyone that doesn’t agree with them, just like in real life.

  • tonyviner

    I would imagine they would just kill anyone that doesn't agree with them, just like in real life.

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