Know Your Rights in Uncertain Times
Despite the ample talk of military affairs as well as rumors of a draft circulating, it’s easy for the average college student to be apathetic about what is going on. But before we allow ourselves to settle into the Irvine bubble, there are some questions that might be lingering in the back of your mind. Is there going to be a draft? Is there any way out of going to war? Is there anything I can do aside from participating in walkouts and protests? Where do I go for more information?
First of all, we need to realize that the war affects us whether we feel it now or not. Though a draft has not yet been instated, studies show that the number of people voluntarily enlisting has dropped dramatically. What does that mean for us? If a large-scale war does break out, the possibility of a draft seems more like a guarantee.
After all, where will we get the manpower to fight a war if no one is voluntarily offering their lives? Who’s going to get drafted if there is one? Me and you.
If you are like the many others who are completely opposed to war, the idea of getting drafted is terrifying.
The Bill Smith Resistance Project is a local, volunteer-run organization sponsored by the National Lawyers Guild. This program provides free counseling and advice for young men and women from attorneys, lawyers and law students who are well-versed in military law. Whether you just want to find out about your rights in regard to the Selective Service, are part of the delayed enlistment program or are currently in the military, their counseling sessions can provide you with valuable information about your rights that could save your life.
Also, the project is completely confidential to protect those already part of the military.
Another valuable aspect of the Bill Smith Resistance Project is its advice on how to make a conscientious objection file or plan.
According to the Center on Conscience and War, a conscientious objection ‘is a sincere conviction, motivated by conscience, that forbids someone from taking part in organized killing.’
Andrew Tonkovich, coordinator of the Bill Smith Resistance Project and a writing lecturer at UCI, explained the two distinct types of conscientious objection.
‘Thousands of men have refused to enter military service because