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Thinking About War and Peace

In Soldiers of Conscience, eight U.S. soldiers, some whom have killed and some who have said no, reveal their inner moral dilemmas about whether or not it’s right to kill.

How can you think more deeply about the morality of war and support servicemen and women or conscientious objectors?

Create opportunities for respectful dialogue between conscientious objectors (and their supporters) and soldiers who have chosen to fight (and their supporters). Pay special attention to the ways in which both positions embody honor and patriotism.

Organize a letter-writing campaign to your representatives concerning mental health benefits, suicide prevention and other counseling resources for soldiers, veterans and their families. More information can be found in the “Resources” section of this guide.

Publicize or find ways to support existing efforts to help soldiers apply for conscientious objector status or fight dishonorable discharges for refusing to kill.

Write letters to servicemen and women. For more information, please visit the website of America Supports You, a program of the Department of Defense that provides opportunities to citizens who want to show their support for the U.S. Armed Forces.

Research the history of conscientious objection or pacifism in the United States. Invite speakers from organizations such as the Center on Conscience and War, International Women’s League for Peace and Freedom, and the War Resisters League. Contrast their positions with those taken by veterans groups or military ethicists.

If you are religious:

Examine your religion’s teachings about war, peace, aggression, self-defense and killing. Share what you learn with members of your congregation.

Engage leaders and members of your religious congregation or denomination to craft a statement of conscience about war and peace.