Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Heroes: prisoners of conscience
Ehren Watada and, as LRC’s Fr Emmanuel McCarthy reminds us today, the recently departed Dale Noyd. Or ‘it’s not the Nuremberg defence when we do it’. Although of course I see his point, just like I hold that the Palestinians and at least some of the Iraqi insurgents are freedom fighters, I don’t think I can entirely sign off on his third sentence excusing the Communist North Vietnamese’ treatment of prisoners! (Any more than I can approve of the murders of Nick Berg and Margaret Hassan.)

Regular readers of this blog know my position on this conscience issue: I’m not a pacifist and realise the military has to have discipline to do its legitimate job of actually defending a people. (Like the Coast Guard, not even part of the US, Canadian or UK war departments: for the most part it actually guards the coast!) If you join, you temporarily (at least that’s how it’s supposed to work, without ‘stop-loss’) give up some of your rights, so if you have to disobey orders you have to pay the price. But those who do are heroes nonetheless.

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