West Point Grad Serving in Iraq Sues Army for Conscientious Objector Status

A West Point graduate serving in Iraq is suing the Army to gain conscientious objector status, saying his religious convictions prevent him from carrying a loaded weapon or ordering his men to kill.

Capt. Peter Brown, an officer with the 10th Mountain Division, filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia after military officials twice rejected his applications for conscientious objector status.

Brown said his conversion to a pacifist interpretation of the Bible began after he got his Army commission in 2004 and started attending a civilian religious center in the Netherlands.

"I truly believe that I would rather give my life than to take another person's life," Brown said in court papers. He is being represented by the New York Civil Liberties Union.

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Brown currently works in a non-combat capacity processing detainee information, according to 2nd Brigade Combat Team spokesman Maj. Webster Wright III. He has been stationed in Baghdad since August.

"This is an ongoing litigation case and is being handled at a higher level," Wright said. "We will continue our mission and will comply with whatever the decision is."

Brown graduated from the military academy in 2004. According to his petition, he joined the infantry his senior year at West Point "to be at the forefront of the action."

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