I fully understand how you feel and I too can't imagine rejoining the service under the circumstances that I have experienced and have been educated on in the last 6 years. You are blessed to have this decision even cross your mind as many of us never imagined it. I will FOREVER be dealing with the consequences good and bad of joining the service and my family and friends must deal with my decisions as well. Your service will have both positive and negative ripple effects on everyone you have a relationship with.
I want to first commend you for your courage to do the right thing. Only you know what that is.
I want to also thank you for standing up for what you believe in.
The CO process is a long one. I have assisted many friends through this process in active duty and am familiar with a network of folks that can help. You need to find a reliable network in your area that you can reach out to and mentor you through the process. Iraq Veterans Against the War or Veterans for Peace are both good starts. The GI Rights Hotline is also available to answer any legal questions you have about your contract. Be careful how you do your research, who you meet with, and making any further statements about your beliefs at this time. I highly recommend you heed this warning. Once you apply for CO all information out there will be scrutinized including your internet activity.
A few quick things about CO that you need to know:
CO means you have a moral abhorrence to WAR not to the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marines. It is commonly defined by an unwillingness to take a life under any circumstance. This is how your application will be judged and the only sure way that you are successful. Consistency in this process is paramount. Have a clear reason for being a CO or don't apply for it. Punishments that you are not even considering are the risk of a false report. I emphasize you know what a CO is first and foremost and bounce off people that have done it.
I had one friend that used the tenants of Christianity to back up his moral argument to separate and he had a hard time. Apparently it is not believed that being Christian and killing people is incompatible. Unless you are Muslim, religious arguments don't always work. He had to prove his case but this was admittedly a weak argument according to the CO processors.
Finally, and most importantly, you need to surround yourself with a support network. Most if not all of your buddies in the ROTC will be told to stay away from you and will subsequently ostracize you for your decision. In rare cases have I seen this actually go the other way but that soldier had always been vocal about his faith and morality and was excepted in the unit on those grounds. His platoon was finally relieved when he filed saying all along they couldn't understand why it took so long for someone of his moral character to make the decision. They saw it as inevitable.
You can PM me as well if you have any further questions. Good luck brother and I hope you get support at this crucial stage of your life. It takes a soldier to know a soldier and you have an honest heart. You will never regret doing what is right.
Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
www.yaliberty.org - Young Americans for Liberty
www.ivaw.org/operation-recovery - Stop Deploying Traumatized Troops
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