A federal judge has ordered the U.S. Army to grant conscientious objector status and an honorable discharge to Pfc. Michael Barnes, a Fort Richardson-based paratrooper who said he experienced a religious awakening in Iraq two years ago that left him opposed to war in any form.
The decision by U.S. District Judge John Sedwick supersedes the Army’s decision last year to deny Barnes’ request.
Military investigators failed to provide “a basis in fact” to support their contention that Barnes is insincere in professing religious objections to war, Sedwick said, and testimony by a chaplain, a psychiatrist, fellow soldiers and Barnes himself proved the contrary.
I think this is the right decision. But on the BBC’s program World Have Your Say a couple callers argued that volunteers to the military shouldn’t be allowed to change their mind. What do you think?
Another caller complained that non-religious persons should also be allowed to claim conscientious objector status. Any thoughts on that?