Soldiers of Conscience

Soldiers of Conscience October 23, 2008

This is the title of what looks like an excellent documentary, discussing how soldiers grapple with the notion of killing during war. It features members of the US military who, after what they saw in Iraq, became conscientious objectors and decided they simply could not kill. Some remain jailed as prisoners of conscience by the US military. Check out the trailer.

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  • RR

    I think today is the last day to watch it online.
    http://www.pbs.org/pov/pov2008/soldiersofconscience/fullfilm.html

  • S.B.

    Daniel Larison has a good thought for those of you who think that Obama somehow represents a change. The context is Biden’s gaffe of saying that Obama will be tested by an international crisis:

    What is remarkable about what Biden was saying as he addressed a crowd of Seattle Obama fans is that he was telling a progressive crowd bluntly that a President Obama is probably going to use military force in the early months in response to a crisis or foreign conflict. Biden was telling them that it is going to seem completely unnecessary and contrary to everything Obama voters think they are getting when they elect him. What could he have meant when he says that the administration is going to need the help of these Seattle progressives (and others like them) “in the community”? My guess is that he was saying that all of the antiwar progressives who have flocked to Obama are going to be deeply disillusioned by Obama’s response to said crisis and there is a danger that the administration will become politically isolated as Obama’s core supporters lose confidence in him at a supposedly critical juncture.

  • This documentary reminds me of a really excellent book called On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society by Dave Grossman. Based on his experience in the military and his research into the behavior of soldiers during several wars, Grossman contends that we have a natural aversion to killing other human beings that can be broken down only by de-sensitization of the kind done in combat training. This thesis accords well with Catholic teaching on natural law and begs for discussion in Catholic circles. Unfortunately, the American Catholics who seem most willing to raise the issue are those who are themselves desensitized to the massive killing that takes place under the banner of “choice.”

    Along those lines, it was fascinating to read the recent account of a pro-choice medical student’s day at Planned Parenthood that was reprinted on Dawn Eden’s blog:

  • It would have helped if I had done the link to Dawn Eden’s blog correctly:
    Here it is.