U.S. airmen try to quit military over U.S. support of Israel in Gaza war

Juan Bettencourt could not wait to serve his country. So you were anxious to to be an airman? I was. I was joining the Air Force two years ago. I wanted to serve fellow Americans and I also wanted to further my professional career. But he now says he wants out of the military that he was so eager to be a part of, saying his attitude changed when fellow airman Aaron Bushnell set himself on fire outside the Israeli embassy to protest Palestinian civilian deaths in Gaza. Moment in which I began to question my participation in the military and it also emboldened me to speak out against the atrocities that were taking place in Palestine. Israel Larry Iber says his turning point was the death of a six year old Palestinian girl, Hind Rajab. She looks almost just like my daughter. Rajab was killed while fleeing the fighting in Gaza City. the US and Israel say Hamas purposely operates in civilian areas. Seeing some of those images and seeing these families suffer as a result of US weapons. America provides weapons to Israel, one of its closest allies, as it fights its war against Hamas following the October 7th terror attacks. The Biden administration has criticized Israel over civilian deaths. Ibear works as a mechanic maintaining planes that can deliver weapons to Israel, which he opposes. I felt extremely guilty about my position and my role. Now both men are taking the rare step of applying to be conscientious objectors and leave. The Air Force 10s of thousands applied to be conscientious objectors during the Vietnam War, but it's much more unusual today. According to the Air Force, 29 airmen have separated as conscientious objectors since January 2021. In a statement, the Air Force said it supports airmen and guardians right through the existing conscientious objector process and make every effort to respect their deeply held beliefs. Are you breaking your oath by doing this? I'm not. The oath is to serve and protect the American people. However, I can no longer in good conscience continue to do so. It could be months before these airmen get a hearing. And late tonight, we learned at least one other airman opposed to the war in Gaza has already been approved as a conscientious objector. Lester.

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