Year of Award


Document Type

Professional Paper

Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Other Degree Name/Area of Focus


Department or School/College

School of Journalism

Committee Chair

Dennis Swibold

Commitee Members

Clem Work, Paul Lauren


conscientious objection, Iraq war, military, recruiting, war in Afghanistan


University of Montana


This professional project consists of three magazine style articles examining the motives and the process of a relatively small group of American soldiers who have sought conscientious objector status since the end of conscription. Those who decide to become conscientious objectors in the all-volunteer military must have courage to face the scrutiny of a military tribunal, and, sometimes, flak from those who see their act as a betrayal. The first story is a portrait—a close-up of the process one man went through and what he learned along the way. The reader will meet Trey Kindlinger, who joined the Navy because he was not sure what to do instead. Like many, in the military he found a welcome structure and a steady, if slight, source of income. What stands out about Kindlinger is that he started thinking seriously about the moral implications of his job along the way. The second story is an overview of the phenomenon of conscientious objection in a volunteer military and the ways the military handles soldiers who have a change of heart. The story highlights important court cases and discusses a number of the challenges facing COs from without and within. The final story is about conscientious objectors and anti-war activists who take it upon themselves to help teens decide how they feel about military service before they are wearing boots and holding guns. A small but tenacious group of activists is going into some of America’s schools to try and make sure recruiters are following the rules and to provide kids with the information they need to make informed choices about their futures. While recruiter access to public high schools is specifically granted by law, it is not always easy for these counter-recruiting activists to get into schools. Access can be a battle in its own right.



© Copyright 2010 Israel Tockman