With rising poll numbers comes rising scrutiny, and critics are starting to take note of Bernie Sanders' pacifist ways as a young man. Sanders applied for conscientious objector status during the Vietnam War, reports ABC News, which notes that a Hillary Clinton supporter raised the issue in a Des Moines Register column last week. "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?" wrote Steve Wikert. A Sanders spokesperson confirms Sanders' old request and tells ABC: "As a college student in the 1960s he was a pacifist. (He) isn't now."
As it turns out, Sanders' application to be a conscientious objector was denied, but by the time the process unfolded, he was too old for the draft, notes the network. Sanders has made no secret of his antiwar activism as a student at the University of Chicago. As a member of Congress, Sanders has largely opposed the use of force—including in 1991, before the first Gulf War—but thinks the US should wield it under certain circumstances. For instance, "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."