#7 || Emergence of a conscientious objector
'I realized that my excuses for justifying war had nothing to do with what we were trying to achieve. I justified war because I wanted to believe that the things I’d done were right, and that my fellow soldiers hadn't died in vain.' Those are the sobering words of Afghanistan war veteran and conscientious objector, Brock McIntosh. Through his experiences in Afghanistan, he lost faith in the Afghanistan war, and then in war altogether. Growing up, McIntosh had taken his ideological cues from the institutions in his life — military, church, and family — and in the process of applying for conscientious objector status, he found himself wrestling with his inherited beliefs and renegotiating his relationships with these institutions. His process of becoming a conscientious objector became a portal through which to challenge and reconstitute his most fundamental beliefs. The overarching shift: from fearful rigidity to brave open-mindedness. Today, McIntosh is a peace activist pursuing his Master's of Public Policy at NYU.