Thursday, March 5, 2009

US Military: Hundreds Registered as Conscientious Objectors

By Jane O'Brien BBC News, Washington
Hundreds of US armed forces personnel have applied for conscientious objector status since the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001 - and military rights campaigners say the number is growing.
A report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) showed that 425 servicemen and women made applications for CO (conscientious objector) status between 2002 and 2006.
Of these, 224 were approved but Bill Galvin of Washington's Center on Conscience and War says the real number of applications is far higher because many are not recorded.
"Nobody knows exactly how many applications there have been because people apply at the local level and statistics are only kept on the cases that actually make it to the national level. The real number is a lot higher.
"We also know that many people are conscientious objectors and find some other way to get out. They never apply for CO status because it's not the easiest way.
"Some of them go AWOL, some can prove medical reasons or some may challenge their enlistment agreements. So when people come to us we help them explore all their options."
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