Thursday, June 22, 2006

A Soldier's Obligation to Disobey an Illegal Order

It is a soldier's duty to refuse illegal orders. For the first time an American military officer has refused to deploy to Iraq on the grounds that it is an illegal war.

The right wing blogosphere has gone ballistic of course with posts drooling with hatred shading over into racism. Without, of course, actually addressing the substance of his argument about a soldier's duty to refuse an illegal order.

Lt Watada was even offered a non-combat role by the military if he agreed to go to Iraq and turned it down so accusations of cowardice don't work because he could have avoided both military prison and combat and chose prison. He's also said he would serve in Afghanistan but not Iraq.
"Soldiers who come back from Iraq say they get the impression many people don'’t know a war is going on; they say even friends and family seem more involved in popular culture and "American Idol." People are not interested in the hundreds of Iraqis and the dozens of Americans dying each week."
It's fascinating to watch the progression here - can any historians confirm for me how much the same paradigm as Vietnam is being followed, but at a much accelerated pace? This despite a vastly more compliant mainstream media and a vastly less engaged public then was the case thirty years ago.


Richard_Cranium said...

While I think the removal of Saddam was right, but for the wrong reasons, it is now time to leave, as they have done what they can. Because of cultural and religious differences the Iraqi peopele will always, in the absence of a bonafide invader, fight and kill each other. Hundreds of years of this pattern can not be changed by anyone except themselves. So exit stage left.

Cliff said...

Actually, worth pointing out that the specific Tigris-Euphrates region has known quite long stretches of relative peace and stability in the last several hundred years. Albeit usually as a province of one empire or another. Iraq was one of the most industrialized, educated and advanced of middle eastern nations even under the insane Saddam.

The current political strucure of the region, borders, even old biblical names applied to places that hadn't used them for millenia, is mostly the product of young soldier-bureaucrats in the basement of the British Foreign Ministry drawing up maps in the wake of World War One and the collapse of the Ottomans. Their first, last and only concern was British interests and influence in the region.

At the moment I really don't doubt that the West can do little but serve as a flashpoint for resentment and violence. I also can't get past the fact that the invasion never really served any higher moral goal than the interests of American oil incorporated.

Yes they have to get out, no they are not absolved from the responsibility for the devestation they leave in their wake on some bogus, and frankly racist 'well those people just have a long history of the killing each other' narrative.

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