By Bill Briggs, NBC News contributor. July 22, 2013
As his fellow First Cavalry soldiers stow their gear in Afghanistan, a 22-year-old Army private moves vehicles and cleans buildings at Fort Hood after declining to deploy on the grounds that his conscience won’t let him kill — a move resulting in fierce backlash within the military community.
Amid the era of the all-volunteer force and after 12 years of war, the “conscientious objector” application recently filed by Private Second Class Chris Munoz is a rarity compared to the 171,000 CO claims made during the divisive, draft-based Vietnam War. Only about 100 such claims are submitted annually, according to a federal report. But that number is rising, says a national organization that helps objectors.
“We are getting more calls. There seems to be a lot of folks having problems of conscience,” said Bill Galvin, counseling coordinator at the Center of Conscience & War, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group.