Federal court upholds Army doctor's conscientious objector discharge

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By John Marzulli -DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

A federal appeals court upheld a conscientious objector discharge to an Army doctor from Brooklyn whose view on war radically changed after the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

     

Dr. Timothy Watson applied for an Army scholarship in 1998 while attending medical school, then sought the discharge during the last year of his medical residency.

The Army’s conscientious objector review panel denied the discharge because it doubted Watson’s sincerity and found the timing too convenient.

But the U.S. Court of Appeals agreed Friday with a ruling by Brooklyn Federal Judge Nina Gershon that the panel offered no evidence to back up its rejection.

In Watson’s application, he said he now believes warfare is immoral and that treating injured G.I.s so they could be returned to battle amounts to "weaponizing human beings."

He said that after the 2001 terrorist attacks he began questioning his beliefs about life and death by studying the non-violence teachings of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi and the Dalai Lama.

"The world and I both have since changed significantly from when I first entered this contractual relationship with the U.S. Army," Watson said.

Watson could not be reached for comment and his lawyer did not return a call. He will have to reimburse the Army for the training he received.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/brooklyn/2009/06/27/2009-06-27_fed_court_upholds_discharge_for_peacelovin_army_doctor.html#ixzz0JcqyQrPx&C

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