[sixties-l] Re: conscientious objectors (fwd)

From: Bob Norris (norris@gol.com)
Date: Thu May 25 2000 - 23:06:27 CUT

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    I was a conscientious objector in the Air Force (1969-71). I now live
    in Japan and teach at a university here. I refused my orders to go to
    Southeast Asia (shortly after the killings at Kent State and Jackson
    State) and was court-martialed. I was found not guilty of the original
    charge of "willful disobedience to a direct, lawful order" because I
    did not say a direct "no" to the order. The maximum punishment for my
    "crime" could have been five years at hard labor and a dishonorable
    discharge. When given my order, I kept repeating "I don't feel I'm
    physically or mentally capable of going and killing another human
    being." At the court martial I was found guilty of the lesser crime of
    "negligent disobedience to a direct, lawful order." I was put in the
    slammer for six months and given an "undesireable" discharge.

    As I did not serve in Nam, I do not fit the criteria listed in Sally
    Watt's posting. However, I have become acquainted with another
    expatriate CO who might be of some help. His name in Paul Kohl. He
    served as a non-combatant medic in Nam from '67 through Tet in '68.
    Check out his home page at http://www2.gol.com/users/pkohl/
    You can find his e-mail address there. While you're at it, read some
    of his poetry. It'll knock your socks off.

    Robert W. Norris

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