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KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) Katharine O'Moore Klopf

Monday, January 17, 2005

How to Prove Conscientious Objector Status

With U.S. troops’ tours of duties in Iraq being extended again and again and Bush’s de facto No Reservist Left Behind policy, you know there’s a draft coming, despite Bush administration protestations to the contrary. If you or your children are conscientious objectors (COs) to all wars, not just the one in Iraq, you must be prepared to prove it.

Helen James, in "Help Your Peace-Loving Child Avoid the Draft" in
Mothering magazine (ISSN 0733-3013; January–February 2005 issue), gives plenty of good tips on items to keep in a CO file:

  • You’ve participated in war protests and peace marches, so document that. Get the people with you to photograph you and your signs at these events. If you have children and you’re raising them to be COs, take them along and make sure they’re photographed taking part, too.

  • Save copies of flyers from all protests, marches, and peace rallies.

  • Whenever you or your children write to protest military actions or to advocate for peace—letters to the president, to other elected officials, blog entries, classroom essays, poems, songs, letters to other relatives—save a copy for the CO file.

  • If someone should write you or your children and express knowledge of your or your children’s strong commitment to peace, save that e-mail or letter. These missives are especially helpful if they explain how you or your children show that commitment.

  • As a parent, keep a diary that records your children's life patterns and attitudes toward peace and war. Keep a similar diary about yourself, too.

  • Save documents about your religious beliefs and practices, if any: certificates or records of membership in a religious organization, records of religious activities and awards, materials that outline your religion’s views about war.

Don't wait till a draft is officially here. As James writes, conscripts may get only 10 days to gather evidence for a CO claim. If you've kept a CO file all along, you'll be prepared.


Deb said...

great advice; thanks

Steve Caldwell said...

Katherine ... the Unitarian Universalist Association Washington Office has brochure you can download that provides info on how to become a CO ... here's the link:


Note: this requires Adobe Acrobat to read.

Anonymous said...

I was just wondering... what if your son(s) decided they wanted to enlist at some point in their lives. What would you say/do?

I am seriously interested in your response. No ill intent at all. We never know for sure, what our children will want/believe... once they have been out in the world for a while.

Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

Thanks for your question, Pam. It's a good one. If my either of my sons does decide to enlist, that will be their choice. I would reiterate my feelings on the issue, but I would tell them that the decision is theirs and that I love them whatever they do. I wouldn't be happy about their enlistment, but I wouldn't berate them for their choice either.

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