My Application To Be a Conscientious Objector
by Nathan J. Rodriguez
is Nathan J Rodriguez. I am currently a Staff Sergeant in the United
States Air Force who plans on filing for Conscientious objector
status this week. I have served four and half years with a deployment
to Kabul Afghanistan as a "Combat Advisor", in the communications
field. I wish to share portions of my application with you, and
possibly others if you chose to publish it, as you and your ventures
have been highly influential in my education and conversion to a
Free-Market Anarchist. Thank you for your life's work which has
changed the lives of so many others.
A description of the nature of the belief that requires the applicant
to seek separation from the military service or assignment to noncombatant
training and duty for reasons of conscience:
personal study of Scripture and economic principles, along with
a great amount of meditation, I have concluded war is an immoral
act, one that never benefits either side of the conflict. It tears
down families, destroys livelihoods, and halts progress for all.
Worst of all it is a violation of natural rights: that is harmful
aggression on individuals, and their right to life.
with the Word of God, The Ten Commandments given to Moses specifically
states never to take, or harm, anotherís life or property. Further,
in the New Testament Jesus instructs his followers to live by one
simple rule, "Love one another". Following this Paul echoes
Christís words in his Letter to the Christians in Rome when he reminds
them to "Live peaceably with all men".
is merely the golden rule as Christ laid out in the book of Luke:
"Do unto others what you have them do unto you." Today
the golden rule, which can be found as a central key in numerous
religions, has been adopted by the Libertarian philosophy where
it is known as the Non-Aggression Axiom, or Non-Aggression Principle
(NAP). This principle states that man, all men, have the right to
do anything they wish as long as they do not threaten or force harm
on anotherís life or property. War is in direct violation of this
principle as its goal is to not only destroy the property of others,
but to terminate lives. Therefore as military service is incompatible
with my personally held beliefs I am requesting Conscientious Objector
discharge from the United States Air Force.
An explanation as to how the beliefs changed or developed, to include
an explanation of the factors (how, when, from whom, or from what
source applicant received training or acquired belief) contributing
to conscientious objection beliefs:
While in High
School I developed an immense interest of the political arena. My
dad was a registered Republican and self-described Conservative
who often debated with other family members, who were of the liberal
fashion. Listening to these conversations led me to believe the
philosophy of conservatism was superior to that of the liberals.
This created the foundation for my future intellectual growth.
in the USAF in order to not only "serve Ďmyí country",
but to forge the beginnings of a political career. The plan was
simple: Enlist, achieve a Bachelors degree while enlisted, receive
a Commission as an AF Officer, then become active within the Republican
Party. However, there were educational detours that eventually derailed
time at Wiesbaden Army Airfield, January 2009, I began to study
the teachings of the economist Milton Friedman, by way of his book
and Freedom. The spark for economic learning was set, and
I began to devour books similar to Dr. Friedmanís. These included
fellow Chicago school professor Friedrich A. Hayekís The
Road to Serfdom and Henry Hazlittís Economics
in One Lesson. These books opened my eyes to the inefficiencies
of governmental central planning, and the disastrous results that
the normal citizen endures because of the mistakes made by state
the highly popular Ayn Rand novel Atlas
Shrugged, and embracing many aspects of the Objectivist
philosophy it espouses, I promptly switched the Conservative/Republican
label for that of the Libertarian. At this time I grew against the
many wars the US was involved in.
part of my German tour, early 2010, brought me to the thoughts of
the Austrian School of Economics. It was at this stage I discovered
the philosophies of Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard. The teachings
of the Austrian School stressed the economic horrors of war; how
it consumed scarce resources which would have better allocated on
the market, where they are voluntary exchanged, for the satisfying
of the consumerís needs. These economic lessons led to the study
of all major wars, and the revelation that nearly all wars are fought
over the use and ownership of resources. Thus all wars are only
for the benefit of the state, and those closely associated to it,
and not of the people. They are built upon lies and made to seem
necessary through nationalistic propaganda.
Not only embracing
the economic arguments against war, I also accepted the Non-Aggression
Principle. This was found by digging deeper into the mind of Dr.
Rothbard. Through his writings I found the teachings of John Locke
and his Natural Law theory. This principle simply states neither
I nor any other man has the right to impose on anotherís life or
property. Seeing how it was completely compatible with the teachings
of Jesus Christ, which I was quite familiar with, this principle
soon became a pivotal axiom in my philosophy. Subsequently I rejected
my earlier held belief in the "Just War Theory".
of Natural Law, Jesus Christís focus on peace, and the Economic
teachings of the Austrian School became my own lens of how I view
the world. My education continued to grow, as I would spend hours
upon hours reading material found on websites hosted by the Mises
Institute, Lew Rockwell, and Gary North, to name a few.
At this point
I had just deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan in July 2011. While in
Afghanistan it was clearly apparent to my closest superiors and
colleagues that I was vehemently against war, and nearly all of
my free time was spent reading or conversing with others on the
history and economics of warfare.
After I returned
from my deployment I took my allotted two weeks R&R, followed
by a month of leave in order for reflection on my pending separation
decision. On my return from leave in February 2012 I settled on
applying for voluntary separation, instead of the conscientious
objector path, under the assumption it would be less work for all
involved (I am not in the habit of creating work for others). However
the AF level MPF shot down the initial request.
An explanation as to when these beliefs became incompatible with
military service, and why:
the Non-Aggression Principle, and adhering to Scripture, I realized
that my service was in direct contradiction to my personal beliefs.
This came to fruition before my deployment to Afghanistan in July
2011. The duties I carry out directly leads to the loss of life.
This fact has been stated numerous times during official AF classes
and formal gatherings, such as CC calls, and official creeds.
of me as a "warrior" for the USAF is a nauseating one.
I do not wish to fight any man or group of people I have never interacted
with or who have never caused harm to my life or property. It is
obvious wars are fought between states and not between the people,
though others would have everyone believe otherwise. I am surrounded
by this nationalistic aura that I fail to agree with. I am encouraged
to be proud of the military heritage, and what is has supposedly
accomplished. I am expected to give respect to murderers in the
name of the beloved country. All these sentiments weigh heavy in
my soul and the toll of my mind has been great.
During my time
on the job I am continually exposed to hate. Not hate directly aimed
towards myself, but rather hate against any group of people who
"oppose" the US. One instance is when Army Staff Sergeant
Robert Bales killed 16 Afghan civilians, 9 of whom were children.
The comments in my office following this event went along the lines
of, "I wish he had killed more". This disgusting un-Christian
attitude is unhealthy and detrimental to my soul. I grieve for such
atrocities, and yet here are people who are cheering childrenís
deaths. These are the same people I am forced to work with on a
It is examples
such as this, and my strong held beliefs in peaceful interaction
among individuals, that I find myself incompatible with military
service. Continued service only creates a deeper depression in my
I find the various rituals military life insists clashes with my
spiritual convictions. The monuments, and ceremonies are directly
against the wishes of God where he states "You shall have no
other god before me," or when he instructs his followers to
never bow down before any graven image, but only recognize Him as
the Ruler of their lives.
J Rodriguez [send him
mail] is currently a Staff Sergeant in the United States Air
© 2012 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in
part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.