The Irony of Dangerous Precedents

Army Officer Refuses Participation in "Illegal" Iraq War

And this is exactly why some conservatives' defense of Michael New was the very worse way to oppose the peacekeeping mission in Macedonia, or in fact any UN mission. In arguing that individual soldiers have the moral authority to circumvent decisions of state, New and his lawyers opened a pandoran box of issues with grave implications for the coherance of military efforts in western democracies. They have submitted raison d'etat and the necessity and motivations of uno solo to democratic vote in the minds of the enlisted men, in fact a vote by an Army of One. This approach was, in my opinion, motivated by opposition to the political ends for which President Clinton was using US involvement, rather than a sincere objection on behalf of principle. Accordingly, New et al. questioned the very principles upon which the military is based. To conservatives who would draw a delineation between Lt. Watada and Mr. New, I would ask, did Congress declare war on Iraq?

It is instructive how some conservatives are willing to make any argument to advance their cause or their own political agrandizement, yet oppose the very principles they claimed to uphold when those standards are applied to a cause they find dear to their political power. Always keep in mind the implications of using any technique and justification to combat circumstances rather than addressing overarching principles.


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