Court Releases Pacifist Marine Robert Zabala From Duties
He had a moral objection to killing…
So he joined the marines.
A U.S. Marine from San Jose has been granted “conscientious objector” status by a federal court. The marine asked to be released from his duties because he has a moral objection to killing.
But he said it wasn’t the Iraq war in itself that he objected to. Zabala said he had an ethical awakening after joining the Marines that would not allow him to kill other people in the pursuit of a military mission. Zabala was particularly appalled by boot camps’ attempts to desensitize the recruits to violence.
Robert Zabala, Conscientious Objector: “The response that all of the recruits are supposed to say is ‘kill.’ In unison you have maybe 400 recruits chanting ‘kill, kill, kill’ and after a while that word almost becomes nothing to you. What does it mean? You say it so often that you really don’t think of the consequences of what it means to say ‘kill’ over and over again as you’re performing this deadly technique, a knife to the throat.”
He petitioned the Marines for conscientious objector status discharge and was repeatedly evaluated as an appropriate candidate for it until his petition reached the commander of the Marine Corps, who refused to grant it.
Zabala petitioned in U.S. district court saying the military was holding him unlawfully. The U.S. district court for the Northern California district agreed and on Friday ordered the Marines to release Zabala from military duty.
The Associated Press reported this about his boot camp training:
Zabala said he was troubled during boot camp in 2003 when a fellow recruit committed suicide and a superior used profanities to belittle the recruit. Zabala said he was “abhorred by the blood lust (the superior) seemed to possess,” according to a 2006 court petition for conscientious-objector status.
Another boot camp instructor showed recruits a “motivational clip” showing Iraqi corpses, explosions, gun fights and rockets set to a heavy metal song that included the lyrics, “Let the bodies hit the floor,” the petition said. Zabala said he cried, while other recruits nodded their heads in time with the beat.
I’d be curious to hear more about that suicide incident at boot camp.