Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Military Counseling Network

Via YAR I found the Military Counseling Network, a resource for military people who want out of the military for a variety of reasons. This group is located in Germany, but my guess is that they would be a good contact for anyone anywhere who needs such a resource. A link has been added in my sidebar.

Who are we? It is not an easy time to be an American in Europe, much less to be a soldier. As a soldier, you may not know what rights you have or be able to get straight answers in the military. MCN is a non-military network of organizations prepared to provide free counseling service to those soldiers who are questioning going to war or want to know more about military discharges and regulations.

What do we do? Operating primarily as a source of information, we have several counselors located in different regions throughout Germany. We are ready to respond to questions, provide guidance and supply legal information. Soldiers can contact us for information on discharges like, Hardship/Dependency, Medical/Disability, Other Designated Physical and Mental Conditions, Discharge in Lieu of Court-Martial, and Conscientious Objection.

How can we help? A counselor can discuss the various discharges with you, help you decide if one is good for you, explain procedures, work with you to gather the necessary documents, and support you throughout the process.

A lot has changed since I was drafted as a conscientious objector in 1965. At that time it was virtually impossible for anyone to declare objections to war unless they did so in advance of the draft. The local draft board made the determination of one's draft status, and that decision was not to be overturned by the Army. All CO's were sent to Fort Sam Houston, Texas for modified Basic Training after which all would be assigned to the Medical Service Corps. No other occupations or branches of service were options. Army Medic was the only assignment. (With two years music training at the university level I was told that Army bands were combat assignments.)

These days there is a more realistic attitude about conscientious objectors. It is not a widespread position and it probably never will become widespread. But not all who wear uniforms are suitable material to be wariors. And among those who are, some will discover after seeing and experiencing the realities of war that they no longer want to have anything to do with it.

There is no need for me to go into the arguments here. Those for whom these resources are provided already know what they need to know and it is not my mission to evangelize anyone to join their ranks. After serving my tour of duty I came to an understanding that warriors outnumber non-warriors by a vast order of magnitude. Conscientious objectors will always be an insignificant number. This is as it should be, because history shows the same uneven balance in all times and places. In the same way that predators are needed in nature, warriors are needed among men to keep one another in check. It is a great blessing to live in a society that respects that not everyone will be a warrior.

1 comment:

Michael J. Sharp said...

Thanks for sharing our info, and you are correct that we are open to discussing these issues with anyone, whether in Germany or not. We regularly receive calls from Iraq, Afghanistan, S. Korea, Italy, and the U.S. For those in the US, however, there are other GI Rights organizations that can be reached toll-free at 1.800.394.9544. It's slightly cheaper than calling to Germany.