Tuesday, July 14, 2009

How Not To Be a Conscientious Objector

A soldier in Georgia is refusing to deploy to Afghanistan because he says he doesn’t have to obey the orders of the Commander in Chief.

U.S. Army Maj. Stefan Frederick Cook, set to deploy to Afghanistan, says he shouldn’t have to go.

His reason?

Barack Obama was never eligible to be president because he wasn’t born in the United States.

Actually, Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961, two years after it became a state.

Cook’s lawyer, Orly Taitz, who has also challenged the legitimacy of Obama’s presidency in other courts, filed a request last week in federal court seeking a temporary restraining order and status as a conscientious objector for his client.

In the 20-page document — filed July 8 with the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia — the California-based Taitz asks the court to consider granting his client’s request based upon Cook’s belief that Obama is not a natural-born citizen of the United States and is therefore ineligible to serve as commander-in-chief of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Cook further states he “would be acting in violation of international law by engaging in military actions outside the United States under this President’s command. … simultaneously subjecting himself to possible prosecution as a war criminal by the faithful execution of these duties.”

Speaking as someone who was — and still is — a conscientious objector, this is not how it’s done. I can possibly understand having a change of heart about being in the military and going to war to kill people once you’re in, but when you’ve reached the rank of major, it’s a little late. Second, using the “war crimes” excuse calls into question your understanding of both the concept of war and the rules of engagement. (I may be a C.O., but I realize that there are rules about how to fight a war.) Finally, using the “birther” excuse as the justification for disobeying legitimate orders is not part of the “conscientious objector” scope of the matter, especially the “conscientious” part. I and all the other C.O.’s I knew never called into question the legitimacy of the government, the armed forces, or the command structure. It was based on pacifism, not nutsery.

Maj. Cook should perhaps try for a Section 8 instead. He probably has a shot at that.