Would you push the button and launch a nuclear missile, if ordered to?
By the time Ensign Michael Izbicki was asked this question in a routine psychological screening at nuclear power school, he had had a religious awakening. He had read the book, Choosing Against War: A Christian View, and had embraced pacifistic Quaker beliefs after periods of intense study and reflection.
Izbicki — a 24-year-old Naval Academy graduate, who holds a master’s degree in computer science from John Hopkins University — answered no, he wouldn’t push the red button.
The Navy, however, rejected two of his requests for an honorable discourage as a conscientious objector. Izbicki, having passed nuke school, is now training to be a submariner at Naval Submarine School in Groton, Conn., while appealing not to be a submariner.
He lives in St. Francis House, a pacifist Christian community in New London, Conn. He rejected promotion to lieutenant junior grade “to reduce his connection to the Navy as much as possible,” and is willing to pay the Navy back for his eduction, according to a suit filed on his behalf.