Bernie Sanders Applied for 'Conscientious Objector' Status During Vietnam, Campaign Confirms

After the terrorist attacks on 9/11, Sanders voted in favor of use of force.

"As a college student in the 1960s he was a pacifist," Michael Briggs, campaign spokesman added in an email. "[He] isn't now."

"My question as a Vietnam veteran is: How on earth could a person claiming to be a conscientious objector become the commander in chief of the most powerful military in the world?" questioned the column author Steve Wikert. According to a profile from the Vermont Senator's hometown newspaper, the Burlington Free Press, his conscientious objector status application was eventually rejected, but by then Sanders was too old to be drafted.

Sanders's political and anti-war activism in the 1960s and '70s has been well-documented. While at the University of Chicago, he was a member of several progressive peace organizations, including the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the Student Peace Union.

As a congressman and later senator, Sanders has rarely voted to authorize the use of force.

"I believe that the United States should have the strongest military in the world. We should be working with other countries in coalition. And when people threaten the United States or threaten our allies, or commit genocide, the United States, with other countries, should be prepared to act militarily," he continued.

On the campaign trail, Sanders does talk about his work on the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs and what he sees as the long-term, human cost of war.

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