Thursday, September 25, 2008

Conscientious Objection

Listening to the World Have Your Say interview on the subject of the American soldier who has been granted honourable discharge on religious grounds has me thinking about this concept that we can change our actions in life because we have changed our beliefs. How strange a concept is that? From the discussion, it’s evident that some people think you should not be allowed to have a change of heart. Am I missing something here?

Now, personally it bugs me big time that the world spends so much of it’s time, energy and resources killing each other whether ostensibly for religious beliefs or for the far more sinister reason that there’s a lot of money to be made in it, or perhaps indeed for issues of various nations security.

One of my early career goals was to be a spy. I loved reading Alistair MacLean and Robert Ludlum novels and thought it’d be a great thing to be roaming around the world sneaking behind the bad guys backs, dancing with danger and setting the world to right. Really. This thought was real right up until my early 20s. I even applied to join the British Army, luckily the kind lady who interviewed me told me I had to be in the UK for 5 years before I’d be able to get a commission and she said my tests indicated I would be more suitable for officer material; she didn’t think I’d be happy in the ranks…Some wiser spirit was looking after me and steered me into other areas – I can’t imagine having been happy actually being involved in the unscrupulous, underhand, deadly world of behind the scenes war at all. I went on to work at “War on Want” –thats another chat.

So I guess you know I’m for conscientious objection. I don’t think many people can really understand what it is like to be there, faced with the unsanitized obscenity of any war zone. Not even volunteers or conscripts, their training can’t possibly prepare them, so how can we say they’re wrong to get there, experience it and find out that their conscience screams NO every waking and sleeping moment. I know, the guy got his discharge, but there are an awful lot of people who are decrying him, calling him nothing but a coward.

For my part, I hope we see less war in our lifetimes, and each person who does one little thing to help get us there, thank you.

Alphabet Attitude for today is: K is for Kindness