a person who refuses to join the army [conscientious objector/ CO/ draft dodger/ conchy]

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  • Full Tilt Boogie

    Senior Member
    British English
    Is there a name for somebody who refuses to join the army for moral or religious reasons?
    Or, depending on the country, e.g. Israel, there are two more options: the Anglicised 'refusenik' (those with a secular moral objection to joining the military) and the 'observant' Jews, usually the Ultra Orthodox (e.g. Hasidic Jews).
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Hmm, not so sure, MTM. I have a sneaky feeling that it's okay for conscientious objectors to refer to themselves as conchies in the same way that homosexuals can refer to themselves as queers (etc.)
     

    Full Tilt Boogie

    Senior Member
    British English
    'Conchie'/'conchy' are both UK forces' slang (and part of a complete and diverse canon/lexicon in its own right), and both can be neutral or disparaging depending in which context they are used.

    Important to note that Conscientious Objectors only exist in a time of mass mobilisation of the (usually male) population in times of war, when civilians are conscripted into an army (what the US refers to as 'being drafted').

    In the situation where a country has a completely professional and volunteer army (i.e. non-conscripted), the term becomes redundant, as no one (i.e. a government) is mandating or forcing anyone else into service; so there's nothing against which to object; although they can still 'object' to a given war, but then it's just mere opinion like everyone else's - in or out of uniform.
     

    cyberpedant

    Senior Member
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    When a government has a policy of involuntary conscription, called here (US) "the draft," a person, conscientious objector or not, who refuses to be enlisted is called "a draft dodger"—usually a term of disparagement.
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    When a government has a policy of involuntary conscription, called here (US) "the draft," a person, conscientious objector or not, who refuses to be enlisted is called "a draft dodger"—usually a term of disparagement.
    True, but this needs clarification. Those who use the term 'draft dodger' for COs (conscientious objectors) are often of the "Amerika, love it or leave it" persuasion, people who believe in obedience to the regime in power, regardless of whether that entity has made good or bad decisions, and without regard for the principled moral stance of a CO. Some COs do offer to serve in the military, in such roles as medic or ambulance driver. It's not quite as simple as some people would have it.

    Not all people refer to COs as draft dodgers. Some non-COs dodge the draft by a variety of means, such as getting legal, if not moral, exemptions from combat service.
    Thus conscientious object may be equal to draft dodger, at times, according to some observers, while draft dodger may be totally distinct from conscientious objector in other cases.
     
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