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U.S.A.: Soldiers of Conscience

A U.S. Army study conducted after World War II revealed that a surprisingly large number of combat troops failed to fire on the enemy when given the chance to do so. It became clear that whether a soldier pulled the trigger or not, most wrestled with their conscience either during the event or afterward. In this program, a group of American soldiers—some who were able to kill with few qualms and some who have become conscientious objectors—discuss their positions on warfare. The film includes commentary from prominent antiwar activist Camilo Mejía, the first veteran to come home from Iraq and publicly refuse to return, and from Major Pete Kilner, a philosophy instructor at West Point, who brings nuance to the debate: “You can’t say you believe in human rights if you’re not willing to defend them,” Kilner says. (54 minutes)

Playing preview clip:
Conscientious Objector
Soldiers explain why they joined the military. Every soldier is faced with the question of whether or not they are able to kill another person in war. Soldiers are less likely to kill than most people believe. In WII less than 25 percent fired at the enemy.