Making the decision to be a conscientious objector is hardly an easy one. There are a number of different factors that may influence you, but let's start with the most important:
Do you feel that war is wrong? Do you feel uncomfortable carrying a weapon or training for combat? Was there one particular experience that changed the way you look at war? Do these beliefs come from religious conviction or a more personal, philosophical position?
Here are the important things to remember about your beliefs in regards to CO application:
- The military does not allow for a nuanced position on war and violence. To be granted CO status, you must be opposed to all wars. If your application to be a CO is based on the wrongness of a particular war, your packet will be rejected. Additionally, you must be personally committed to peace over violence in almost every situation.
- Your beliefs on war cannot be political in nature to be considered a CO.
- Assuming that you volunteered to join the military, you must have come to the conclusion that war is wrong after your enlistment. You may have been asked if you were a CO when you joined, and you probably answered "no." To be considered a CO following enlistment, you must prove that your beliefs against war crystallized after enlisting. This is far from uncommon, as many soldiers simply do not realize how they feel about war until they are actually deployed or start to understand the implications of a deployment.
Top websites for Conscientious Objection info
The website was created by IVAW member, Perry O’Brien, and provides CO info and links, connects you to others who have been discharged as COs and step by step guidance through the CO application process.
The Center on Conscience & War
The Center on Conscience & War (CCW), formerly the National Interreligious Service Board for Conscientious Objectors (NISBCO) works to defend and extend the rights of conscientious objectors. The Center is committed to supporting all those who question participation in war, whether they are U.S. citizens, permanent residents, documented or undocumented immigrants--or citizens in other countries.
Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors
CCCO supports and promotes individual and collective resistance to war and preparations for war.
If you get in touch with Veterans For Peace or IVAW, we can put you in direct contact with successful COs.
Regulations regarding Conscientious Objection