Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Is it a crime to refuse to fight in an illegal war?

Or, more to the point, is it improper to raise the issue that the war you're being tried for not fighting is illegal?
Raw Story:

Military judge: objector can't raise questions about war legality


Associated Press

An Army officer cannot try to justify his refusal to report for duty in Iraq by questioning the legality of the war because that is a political issue, a military judge has ruled.

Citing federal court precedents in a ruling issued Tuesday, Lt. Col. John Head also rejected the claims of lawyers for 1st Lt. Ehren Watada who said the his First Amendment rights shielded the 28-year-old native of Hawaii from charges stemming from his criticism of the war.

[. . .]

Head, a military judge who presided over at a pretrial hearing at which both sides made presentations earlier this month at this post south of Tacoma, found that "whether the war is lawful" is a political question that could not be judged in a military court.

Interesting idea. What exactly is a court for? My first guess would be to determine if a law has been broken, and if so, who is guilty.

Isn't "whether the war is lawful" exactly the sort of thing you'd want a court to rule on? And what about a military court exempts it from consideration of whether pertinent actions in a case are lawful or not?

Does the phrase "Nuremberg Defense" sound familiar? Weren't people there accused and found guilty of crimes that their governments said were not crimes at all? And wasn't the judgement exactly that those found guilty had a moral and legal obligation to refuse to agree with their governments?

"The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him."

And aren't those judgements endorsed by the US judiciary and military? I thought so, too.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Web Site Counters
Staples Coupons