Friday, February 09, 2007

A tough nut

This isn't a position I would want to be in, not even now when my political views are more clear to me.

Officer to fight against retrial

I've been following this one for awhile now. He seemed to be a good officer. One of the lessons one of his colonels taught him was to research his assignments to be fully prepared. He got posted to Fort Lewis from Hawaii and he knew it was likely he'd be posted to Iraq. So he started researching the country, the theater and the situation. He came to the conclusion that we went to war under illegal pretenses. He decided that in good conscious he couldn't participate in that.

He was willing to get posted to Afghanistan or any other war zone to fight. However, as a member of the military, you don't get to pick and choose which wars you fight. You go where you're sent. While the oath he took (which he took voluntarily) specifies that he "protect and defend the constitution of the United States", it also specifies that he "follow the orders of the officers appointed over him." And that particular trail goes up through the chain of command all the way to the President, regardless of ordering our military to start an illegal war.

And how do you suppose the sergeants and captains in his unit feel about this particular lieutenant?

Years ago John Keegan ("The Face of Battle") wrote a book after researching why men fight in war. His conclusion was that it wasn't for home and country (although those factors do influence it), it was for the men and women in their unit.

I don't know what the right decision might have been, if there even was a "right". But I am glad it's not me.


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