Naval Academy Graduate Wins Conscientious Objector Bid – NYTimes.com

I’ll have to give this some more thought. I can’ t decide yet how I feel about this.

NEW LONDON, Conn. — The question that changed Michael Izbicki’s life appeared on a psychological exam he took not long after graduating in 2008 near the top of his class at the United States Naval Academy: If given the order, would he launch a missile carrying a nuclear warhead?

Ensign Izbicki said he would not — and his reply set in motion a two-year personal journey and legal battle that ended on Tuesday, when the Navy confirmed that he had been discharged from the service as a conscientious objector.

via Naval Academy Graduate Wins Conscientious Objector Bid – NYTimes.com.

First impressions- I have a hard time condemning someone who comes to this conclusion. While quite a few people use the conscientious objector status as a tool to escape service, there are people that belatedly come to the conclusion that military service really is fundamentally at cross purposes with their faith. I can’t see into the heart of another man, but the fact that Mr. Izbicki jumped through all the hoops he has is some evidence that his faith really did guide him to this point.

On the other hand, he took an oath before God and man to fulfill his obligation. We have a reasonable expectation that our service members will do all they can to fulfill that oath.  And his decision to decline to serve means that some other sailor will have to pick up the slack that he’s left.

In any event, I certainly hope that he is required to repay the costs of his education.

3 thoughts on “Naval Academy Graduate Wins Conscientious Objector Bid – NYTimes.com”

  1. I was in the Charthouse one evening after evening Stars and was talking with the XO of Courtney, who was also Navigator (the XO on the Dealey class DEs wore three hats, XO, Navigator and Personnel Officer) about Co status. I had no intention of applying, but I did want to see what he would say if I hypothetically applied for such status. Given the weapons we had on board, and the only man who was classed as non-combatant was the Corpsman (and he still had to qualify with small arms) it was obvious it wouldn’t work and such a person would have to be beached. There are jobs a CO can do, and when I was in Germany it was not unheard of to see an Army troop transferred into those slots. Frankly, there are jobs that man could have done and fulfilled his contracted obligation.

    I have little sympathy for COs that insist on getting out. All too often they were using the status as an easy out. In the 60s that wasn’t allowed, and a good many COs did honorable service in non-Combatant roles. A number of them became Medics, and I deeply respected those guys. I knew a couple of COs that went to Vietnam as Medics, and one was seriously wounded.

    Like you, I hope they make him pay for his education. It’s the very least that the Navy, and the man himself, can do. Otherwise, the country has been cheated.

  2. “In any event, I certainly hope that he is required to repay the costs of his education. ”

    Without that, this is a non-starter. He may not have engaged in fraud when he signed up (having come into his CO status later), but he incurred a debt that he failed to pay with service.

    That said, I’d never want to serve with anyone (officer or enlisted) who honestly felt they could not do the job. Or even a weasel who probably could, but was willing to claim they couldn’t because they just didn’t want to. I knew one guy like that in the Army. He said rather off hand “I could never shoot someone.” I asked him if he had bothered to mention that before he enlisted, whereupon he stated he didn’t because they wouldn’t have let him in. And that’s kind of the point of their asking, isn’t it? Turns out, he just wanted his college loans repaid. To this day, I think of him as a lying jackass and am glad I never had to actually stand watch with him.

  3. This man is acoward and a fraud. He denioed someone an education and the opportunity it represents. Its difficult to believe anyone could enter the USNA with any doubts as to his obligations. He scorned them. There is a name for such a man. One usually encounters this substance on a warm summer’s day while trying to rid your shoe of the substance.

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