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Bernardo Vallejo
What I think of pacifists during WWII is that of respect. when someone goes to a phycical conflict unwilling to confront the enemy, is more likely that they may diminish the moral of the rest of the soldiers through negative behavour.

Idealism is of great conflict for those have the need to believe in certain straggle.when someone rejects the idea of dying for something which do not represent his beliefs is because this persone lives his own live and not others who are willing to die cluelessly but patriotic.

Politics most of the time is what drives countries to war so, why not to sent the politicians to fight against each other intead of the people.

Bob Berman
For years Oregon Public Broadcasting has aired many documentaries on World War II. Without exception, they all have shimmered with the glow of the good war. And, they have all aired at primetime. Now, with the only alternative voice I can remember about to be shown on OPB, it was determined that the 11:00 P.M. slot on a weeknight would be the best time for it!

I am concerned that a documentary with such vital questions to raise is not been shown on my local PBS station. Thses are important issues for us as US citizens to consider, I am shocked that we here in Chapel Hill will not be able to be a part of that larger dialog. Who is responsible for making that decesion for us?

(( UNC-TV Programming Dept responds: UNC-TV produces over 350 hours of programming that must be fit into their schedule each year. To place any of this programming in prime time, other programs must be preempted or moved to a later broadcast date. Usually this happens to programs like THE GOOD WAR that PBS has not designated for "common carriage."-- "Common carriage" programs are shows PBS has placed special emphasis on promoting and has asked stations to carry on the same evening they are released nationally.))

As George Orwell said, many pacifists mock the uniforms that guard them while they sleep.

An action must be judged, at least in part, by its consequences, not whether it was done in "good faith" [Hitler probably acted in "good faith", but his actions/consequences should be judged "evil".] If it were up to the pacifists, all European Jews and communists (and probably pacifists) would have been murdered in concentration camps and American blacks might still be slaves. Someone (Blake?) said that all that is necessarily for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. If an act leads to evil consequences, how can the act be "good" or "moral".

The above does NOT apply to those who served as medics.

Lauri Rowe
I am a relatively newcomer to the CO movement as I got my training as a CO counselor in 1983 and used it extensively during the Persian Gulf "War". Now that I am a mother of one teenage girl and one 7 year old boy, I feel more compelled to pass on the word of peace for the children of our future. It is a very scary time we live in and speaking out in our small midwestern town can get you harassed, but we cannot waver from the truth. Thank you to PBS for having the courage to run this show. Our station out of Lansing MI is planning on broadcasting it Tuesday, January 15th at 10pm. Good luck and may peace be with you all.

W Lee Miller
For "unburying" this most important part of our history. As a child during the Vietnam war, I wondered whether anyone had ever protested wars before (the media made it seem that this was a "new thing") -- it took much digging in my late teen years and early adulthood to learn even a small part of the truth that has been so buried. That EVERY war this country has ever been a part of has had those supreme Men of Conscience -- braver than any combatant -- who are willing to stand on their beliefs and reject the orders to kill. Asminov's dictim "violence is the last refuge of the incompetent" is proven so obviously whenever any person has the strength to endure -- truly endure -- and stand so under the incompetent hatred and violence of their fellow men.

Again thank you. One can only hope that even a small percentage of our youth today will see this film and learn of men who should truly be examples. Again, thank you.

Thank you for having the courage to air this documentary....I am looking forward to seeing it.

Seyn Laproyen
I applaud all those who made this program possible (starting with the COs, of course), and congratulate WNET for airing it today. At the same time, I must express my sadness that programs like this were not produced and aired decades ago...

As a conscientious objector myself, I feel that we also need to acknowledge the presence of many (unnamed) people who are willing to fight in certain 'armed' conflicts, but insist on doing so by methods _circumscribed by their own code_, rather than the code dictated by nation-states or empires. In other words, even if we disagree with them, even if we feel we know better than them, we should bring to the discussion those (potentially) volunteer fighters who are not, or do not wish to be a part of national armed forces.

We are aware of the example of 'Lincoln Brigade' (who, when they joined the US armed forces, were kept from front-line positions). We must also be aware that many people were willing to interfere in Bosnia much sooner than West ern powers finally decided to send forces. There were also many who would be willing to militarily interfere in Somalia much sooner, and many who would put their lives at risk in Rwanda...

While some preach love for one's enemies, there are some, like me, who are prepared to defend the innocent, and where necessary, _kill for peace_. While some argue that it would be morally objectionable even to shoot down the airplanes that dropped A-Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and brought the nuclear threat on virtually all human beings on this planet, there are some 'pacifists'/peacemakers who would have no difficulty killing as many nuclear scientists, political leaders, industrialists, generals, admirals, and other military men and women it takes to lift the nuclear threat from humankind, for now and for our future.

Phil Runkel
Looking forward to seeing the program tonight. Here at the Marquette Archives we seek to document the witness of Catholic pacifists and COs--especially Catholic Workers such as Dorothy Day and Arthur Sheehan. We would appreciate hearing from anyone with relevant letters, photographs, and other records.

Phil Runkel
Catholic Worker Archivist
Department of Special Collections and University Archives
Marquette University
1415 W. Wisconsin Ave.
PO Box 3141
Milwaukee, WI 53201-3141

Eric Longley
QUESTION: What do you think of conscientious objectors? In your opinion, are they heroes or cowards?

REPLY: They are heroes if they resist conscription. They are cowards, fools or time-servers if they acquiesce in the phony "alternative service" system arranged by the government, with the regrettable collaboration of some of the peace churches. Pacifists have resisted double and triple-taxation as a "penalty" for obeying God and refusing to fight. When you cut through the rhetoric, "alternative service" is morally indistinguishable from double-or triple-taxation, since it is a burden imposed on pacifists purely because they obey God and refuse to participate in war. Any pacifist who pays double taxes, or who volunteers for "alternative service," is accepting that the government may impose conditions on a person's obediance to God. Only God, not the government, may hold people accountable for obeying Him, and no form of alternat ive service is licit if it applies only to pacifists who are fulfilling their God-given duty to resist war in all its manifestations.

QUESTION: Is there a difference in being a pacifist when the war is being fought abroad than when the war is waged at home and against civilians?

QUESTION: Do you consider alternative service a valid contribution in times of war?


QUESTION: Do dissenters have an obligation to keep quiet or speak up when our nation is in crisis?

ANSWER: The obligation to speak against war varies from person to person, and depends on when and whether God has given that person a call to speak. The opinion of the government, one's neighbors, etc. is completely irrelevant and should not be considered in this context.

QUESTION: What do you think of the perspectives of WWII COs to the terrorist attacks of 9.11?

ANSWER: I don't know what WWII COs think of 9/11, because my local station hasn't even set a date for the airing of t his program, although they say they will air it later this year. I would pose a question of my own: Pacifists oppose the killing of the Pentagon because pacifists oppose the destruction of human life for social ends, even in a country's military headquarters. My question is how *militarists* can oppose the attack on the Pentagon, except on the grounds that the people in the Pentagon are engaged in righteous activities which should not be interfered with? What arguments can militarists make against the destruction of the Pentagon, if they are required to make their argument in universal terms? They cannot make such an argument. The pacifists can.

Dr. Leah Rogne
I am excited about the appearance of this film, which I will get a chance to see tonight. In 1999 I completed my Ph.D. dissertation, titled "The Social Contexts of Persistence: Life Stories of World War II Conscientious Objectors and War Resisters," It is a collection of life stories from nine Twin Cities pacifists who each continued their peace and justice activity through a 45-50 year adult lifespan. It would be available through the University Michigan dissertation service, and I would be glad for anyone interested in the topic to be able to read the extensive life stories and analysis. The people I interviewed, including Professor Mulford Sibley and others who were influential locally and/or nationally over their lifetimes, were a great inspiration to me and I hope they will be for others. Please feel free to contact me at

It's ironic that the reason PBS can make such a documentary as this (free press, speech, etc) is because of the very citizens that DID answer the call of their government and go to war. The efforts of those men and women ensured that our liberty would continue to stand. Like so many other things described in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, there is a time for war, and a time for peace.

Nick McAleer
It looks like a facinating program, "The Good War and Those Who Refused to Fight It". Unfortunately it is airing at 3:00 am and 4:00 am in the morning at WEDU, Tampa/St.Petersburg/Sarasota. Not very courageous for a "public" broadcasting station. I think their integrity has been compromised, which is unfortunate because they do have programing you can't find any where else I will stay up or tape it. Thanks NM

Melinda Box
I appreciate the risk the producers have taken in making this documentary. I imagine it must have been a powerful experience to put it together. I also appreciate the comments of George Hauser. I agree that it's so easy to believe doing right and good will bring positive changes to the world around us. The truth is it may, but it may also provoke an ostracizing backlash. Sometimes society finds the pain of its own conscience so unbearable it drives an individual out. Perhaps by killing him or her, through assassination, crucifiction, or martyring. Sometimes it drives people out by discrediting them, or sending them to prisons, or barring them from sustaining or fulfilling work. As a result the commitment to conscience must be made for the benefit of one's own soul. Those who commit for the benefit of changing the world around them will encounter burn-out, confusion, and discouragement. Those who commit for themselves will experience peace and security. This documentary has been uplifting to me as I seek to learn from the experiences of others who followed their consciences. Thank you for giving this to us!

It's about time that TV and other media outlets started to support peace rather than glorifying war and violence. It's unfortunate that we've had to wait so long for a mainstream media outlet to acknowledge the important part played by those committed to peace. I praise the people behind the program, but I think those in the media who have worked to silence the voices of peace should be ashamed. I look forward to this program with hope that it will make a difference in the lives of many.

Art Toegemann
The Selective Service fails this subject by requiring an absolute pacificism. Truth is the first casuality of war, again, when the SS injures the meaning, denoted, of "conscientious"; see any reputable dictionary, and how our military strays far from it.

My experience is not from WWII or Henry David Thoreau, but from the war in Vietnam. I am defamed, still, as unfit, i.e., insane, for refusing to fight in, and indeed, objecting to that war. I have evidence that my attempts to correct this record led to the murder, recorded as medical accident, of one of my senators, John Chafee, RI.

To my subject line: additionally, the American Psychiatric Association and the World Health Organization fail our very consciousness when they defame parapsychology as schizophrenia, in their texts The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and The International Classification of Diseases, respectively.

This is how we fail conscience and consciousness, both a priority. Knowing this undermines any morale for that most dubious of actions, war.

John Amstutz
Having taking a similar position during a later era (1962) and having worked in a psychiatric hospital for those two years, I was impressed to hear from the training instructor that the CO's had pioneered reform in psychiatric care. One of the outcomes of this pioneering change was the establishment of Mennonite Mental Health Services, a model provider of modernized psychiatric services. My father, Dr. H. Clair Amstutz (also a CO) was chairman of the national board of MMHS for 25 years. Of special interest in the website presentation were the experiences of Professors Sam Yoder and Lester Glick, both of whom I have known personally, along with many other Mennonite CO's of that era.

Douglas Martin
I have not seen it yet and I already appreciate it. Conscientious objectors should be considered heroes. If I were to get enthusiastic about the slogan "United we Stand" then it would have to be thinking about standing united as conscientious objectors to war. I wave an American Flag for those that have sacrificed so much to try to communicate to the world that there is a better way, to those that stand on there principles in order to wage a peacful war on war. It does not matter where the war is, be it abroad or in our own back yard, we need people to take a conscientious stand. People who can see beyond the moment. People that question the use of violence and killing as a way to solve problems. Alternative service should be a respected valid contribution in times of war and in times of peace.

I shall interject a question of my own: What if we required young udults in this country to undergo training and service not in the skills and techniques of war, but instead in the training of the so desperatly needed skills that can lead us to peace. Can we channel our tax dollars that way? As to the perspectives of WWII CO's: They speak my thoughts well.
Thank You

Ann Carrigan
I look forward to this program, and have done so since I first became aware of it. It's been mentioned in my Quaker Meeting for some time. So, I was very disappointed to see on the broadcast schedule that my local PBS station, WJCT in Jacksonville, is only planning to air the show at 3am and 4am. The same is true for Gainesville affiliate WUFT (available on cable here), and many, many affiliates around the country. I realize that the United States is currently engaged in a large military action, and that stations may be worried about public perception of airing such a program at such a time. But, public broadcasting is not known for wavering in such circumstances, and I feel that the story of conscientious objectors deserves to be told. As a person whose faith leads me to believe that human beings killing other human beings is always wrong, I say that the present is absolutely the right time to present this perspective...not to pretend it doesn't exist or to bury it in the wee hours. I intend to contact my local affiliates and make them aware of local interest in the program. Thanks for your time.

Sincerely, Ann Carrigan

Nick Bertoni

This is a great film.Long overdue.I think that you have done a great service to humanity.

Stephen Allen Smalley

Q: What do you think of conscientious objectors? In your opinion, are they heroes or cowards?

Who is the 'hero' , one who is willing to kill, maim, and terrorize others in the name of God and country, or one who refuses to do so for any reason whatsoever? Who is the 'coward' , one who stands alone - even in the face of enormous hostility - and refuses to conform to the accepted morality (so-called) of the day, or one who willingly allows himself to be led, unquestioning, to slaughter fellow human beings?

Q: Is there a difference in being a pacifist when the war is being fought abroad than when the war is waged at home and against civilians?

Is there a difference in the action that you take in either circumstance, whether in one country or another? Is it okay to kill someone because he is on 'your' property? Is that person any less dead? Are you any less responsible for his death?

Q: Do you consider alternative service a valid contribution in times of war?

Not if that 'service' contributes in any way to the machinery of war itself.

Q: Do dissenters have an obligation to keep quiet or speak up when our nation is in crisis?

The primary obligation of any individual is to respond to a 'crisis' as he himself sees fit, whether or not that response fits in with any so-called national interest.