Objection Sustained

Interest in conscientious objection is on the rise among members of the U.S. military, according to several indicators. The Center on Conscience and War in Washington, D.C., for instance, reported 3,500 calls for conscientious objector information in January, twice the normal rate. The same month, the U.S. Army reported granting five conscientious objector discharges and began consideration of six more new applications—compared with 17 discharges granted in the whole of 2002 and nine in 2001. The Air Force reported receiving six applications (and approving four) from October 2002 to April 2003, while the Marine Corps has discharged two as of April, compared with two throughout 2002. The Navy granted about 10 conscientious objector discharges in the past two years, but has already processed three in 2003, with three more pending.

In World War I there were 3,500 official conscientious objectors in the United States; in World War II there were 37,000; in Korea, 4,300; in Vietnam, 171,000; and in the 1991 Gulf war there were 111.

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