I got called by a military recruiter when I was a senior in high school. This was ’86 or ’87, and I wasn’t surprised; other guys I knew had been contacted too, but even so, I hadn’t put any thought into how to respond ahead of time. Nonetheless, when the moment came I was unequivocal. I told the man I had no interest whatsoever in going overseas to kill people, no matter what. He was a bit taken aback–this was Nebraska, after all–but he pushed on.
“What if we were being invaded?” he insisted, and painted a picture of foreign soldiers in my own town, threatening my family.
“Well, I might think about picking up a rifle, then,” I said, “but otherwise no.” I told him to never call again and the conversation ended. So, non-violence with the possible exception of self-defense: a well-established and principled stand, actually.
I tell this story to illustrate how far back my anti-war sentiments go.