Understanding conscientious objectors

Military movie
By DEIRDRE FULTON  |  July 18, 2007

The most distressing scenes in Soldiers of Conscience, a documentary that’s being screened on Thursday, July 19, at the Maine International Film Festival, are those that show soldiers being trained to kill. “Kill, Kill, Kill,” they shout, banging their rifles on the ground — it’s an image you won’t soon forget.

Nor are the movie’s subjects — soldiers and military officers — easy to put out of your mind. As they explore the question of conscientious objection, a process through which a service member can officially state the incompatibility of his or her morals or ethics with his or her role as a military combatant, the interviewees offer straightforward answers from both sides. The filmmakers, whose sympathies obviously lie with the conscientious objectors, talk to people who unabashedly understand the need for killing in war, and others who cannot wrap their hearts or minds around the concept.

And while the searing scenes of military training are obviously included to send chills down a viewer’s spine, they and the rest of the movie also serve to spark philosophical consideration of the role of the soldier, and the purpose of war, in our society. A worthy topic for internal debate, to say the least.

The screening on Thursday will be followed by a panel discussion with several conscientious objectors who are featured in the film.

Soldiers of Conscience will screen at 3 pm on Thursday, July 19, at Railroad Square Cinema, 17 Railroad Square, Waterville. Seewww.socfilm.com for more information.

  Topics: This Just In , Armed Forces
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