clarification: bad conduct discharge is what we say it is

A commenter - who is a friend of wmtc, and who supports peace and justice - disputed the Campaign's claim that the "bad conduct discharge" will permanently and severely damage war resisters' future.

Members of the Campaign have checked out this information with civilian lawyers, military lawyers, and immigration and refugee lawyers, as well as people who have received bad conduct discharges for desertion, missing movement, and other resistance-related military charges. All verify that the bad conduct discharge is the equivalent of a felony offense and extremely damaging to future opportunities.

The commenter said that, in his experience, employers have never asked about his military record. However, applications for the kinds of jobs for which most war resisters are eligible - jobs at Wal-Mart, McDonald's, Home Depot - do require disclosure of military and criminal records. These huge employers do not hire people who have bad conduct discharges.

What's more, people like Robin Long and Jeremy Hinzman, who have been publicly outspoken about the Iraq War and US military practices, are likely to receive the full brunt of the military's vengeance: a dishonourable discharge. There's little doubt about the damage this causes.

No one should serve prison time for refusing to kill! One day in prison is one day too many. But the resisters are not being sentenced to one day. James Burmeister was sentenced to 15 months. Robin Long is facing three years. And their discharges are, in effect, a life sentence.

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