…you could almost make this a Dr. Seuss post with that title (and maybe it is).

Could Paul Hackett be headed back to Iraq? Sure sounds like the odds are good:

Paul Hackett, an attorney from Cincinnati, thinks his background as a civil affairs specialist makes him a prime candidate for an involuntary recall, as there is a shortage of Marines like him. Two weeks ago, he received a packet from the Navy requesting updated information for a security clearance — a sign, he believes, that a recall order could be coming.

I believe there is probably plenty of pressure from wingnuts wanting to silence their worst media nightmare related to Iraq. I can assure you that Van Taylor is lobbying hard for it. Praying even.

The fact that Paul would go no hesitation makes the point that Andrew Warner missed last week: military life is about service and you don’t individually pick and choose your own battles.

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  • Eric,

    I think you missed the point last week. A soldier is not obligated to carry out a crime at the request of anyone ? not even the president.

    Service is an admirable quality. Going into the fray when your friends need your help is a valiant thing to do. Answering the call when your country is in need is nothing short of heroic.

    But there is perhaps even greater honor in risking everything to do your small part in stopping an illegal war. Trying to stop the blood shed. Trying to stop a President who is more than out of control.

    Why you criticize the President, yet you fail to see the balls it takes for a soldier, someone who is supposed to be beneath the mighty office holder, to stand up to him is beyond me.

  • Eric

    Hey Andrew. I think you miss the point bro. Who decides it is a crime? Just us saying it is an “illegal war” doesn’t make it so. I doubt very seriously any soldier claiming this is an illegal war will win that case.

    Of course I disagree with the war. That is obvious. But as a soldier, you don’t get to decide what battle is right and what battle is wrong. I think you are over-extending the concept that a soldier is duty bound to not carry out an illegal order. [and with all due respect to Major Hackett, if we are talking Marine we’d say “Marine”]

    Being shipped out to a war at the request of the POTUS and the United States Congress is not an illegal order. If you get in country and your commanding officer orders you to shoot a child in the head – illegal order, you don’t do it.

    Saying you don’t agree with a given conflict after you have volunteered to serve, is, well, not ballsy at all. Ballsy is going over and doing your duty, then coming home and calling the President a son of a bitch and a chicken hawk. See the difference?

    If you are truly an anti-war person (and I am one), you don’t volunteer to train how to kill people then call bullshit on that training being put to use.

  • Who says it’s an illegal war? The UN for one (didn’t sanction the attack). In 2004 the United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan, explicitly said the war is illegal.

    If that’s not enough, you can look at all sorts of thoughtful analysis on the war and its legality.

    You claim that these objecting soldiers won’t “win the case” and you may be right. It will be especially hard when the “anti-war” crowd, you for example, is convicting them of cowardice.

    Someone can be anti-war and a member of the armed forces though you make them seem like they are exclusive qualities, like those who have signed up want to fight whenever crazy Bush has the urge to overthrow a country. People sign up to fight for many different reasons, namely to defend our country from dangerous threats ? as Katrina showed us this is something we are no longer capable of doing BECAUSE of this war. No one took an oath to violate the UN’s charter and the Geneva Convention. No one trained to become a senseless, amoral killing machine with no conscience. People always have to choose right and wrong whether they are under contract or not.

    Your alleged position of being anti-Iraq war and your unflinching congratulations of those who fight in it, coupled with your disrespect of those who don’t, is paradoxical.

    Think of it like this: I’m sure there is a war that you would want soldiers to protest. Imagine president Bush declaring war on Mexico tomorrow with the stated reason that there was a wealthy oil field (sure he lied about his reasons for Iraq, but that shouldn’t make it okay). Should the soldiers just hop up and run to Mexico because the President felt like it that day (and perhaps he received a phone call from Exxon expressing a need for another rich source)?

    If that imaginary war is not bad enough, I’m sure there is one that would push you over the edge and make you stand by objecting soldiers.

    It’s just a matter of where you draw the line ? unless of course you think EVERY war that has ever been waged is worthy of soldiers fighting and dying in. Why not this war? What is its redeeming quality?

  • Eric

    Again, you are broadening the concept of “illegal order” out waaaay too far. Like I said before, there is a distinction between us questioning the international legality of the war in Iraq and an individual soldier’s actions. I’m not really sure why that is not clear to you – unless, of course, you think the military is some big romper room where everyone just kinda runs around to their own tune.

    Maybe next you’ll cite some story where Bush is tried in absentia in Outer Mongolia and found guilty of war crimes as evidence that Watada is justified in not going to Iraq. You’d still miss the central point. I’m not sure you’ll ever get it until you survive a bootcamp or at least become more knowledgeable about military life. Possibly not even then.

    “Someone can be anti-war and a member of the armed forces though you make them seem like they are exclusive qualities” – Every good military person (honorable ones)is anti-war. You train to fight hoping you will never have to. But to then extend that to say that when your unit is called to fight it is permissable to take a pass, is just silly man. Naive even. You cannot, repeat CANNOT. Maybe you have to be raised on a military base and see it firsthand, but I’d think that wouldn’t be precisely necessary.

    This argument, however, makes absolutely no sense: “No one took an oath to violate the UN?s charter and the Geneva Convention. No one trained to become a senseless, amoral killing machine with no conscience. People always have to choose right and wrong whether they are under contract or not.”

    I’m not sure what this means. I can just agree with you here, but this doesn’t speak to your argument that individual members of the military are justified in refusing to serve. Refusing to do something they think is wrong or illegal, yes. Just refusing to be deployed outright creates a very bad precedent among the military, in my view. I think he has the right to do it – I just disagree. Hell, he can do whatever he wants, just expect to be court martialed. That would make his point as well.

    Here is where you go too far: “Your alleged position of being anti-Iraq war and your unflinching congratulations of those who fight in it, coupled with your disrespect of those who don?t, is paradoxical.”

    You are severely misrepresenting my views in this next one. Unflinching congratulations? Of people who put their lives in danger out of a duty bound desire to serve our country? Guilty as charged. Saying this is “coupled with disrespect of those who don’t” is just wrong. It sounds nice for your argument I guess and given a vacuum of no response would probably be persuasive. The simple fact is I have deep respect for those who choose to eschew violence in all their forms. Those people probably shouldn’t be in the military because this creates an inherent conflict. This is one of the reasons I got out. So I have ZERO disrespect for those who don’t.

    There is no paradox. All of this can be true together. You indeed can be against this war, but FOR the concept of duty and honorable military service (Paul Hackett anyone?). Soldiers deciding they don’t want to fight a war is a dangerous proposition that I don’t want to see happen. Possibly in some of your ridiculous scenarios,yes – but in the real world this is a dangerous idea.

    I personally feel that not much good comes of war unless it comes down to your survival, which is the basis for my disgust with the Iraq war. In order to have an effective military, however, we simply can’t have individual soldiers making a habit of deciding what wars they will and will not fight. Individual illegal actions? YES. Collective deployment orders? NO.

    I say this with a deep understanding of the military and the concept of duty.

    I appreciate your anti-war stance and your desire to hold this officers action up as a shining example of how to stick it to the man, but you got this one wrong.

  • You actually equated an obscure court in Mongolia to the United Nations. That’s intellectual dishonesty at its finest. You and President Bush seem to share the same view of international diplomacy.

    A soldier as a “duty,” since you are so fond of bring up the concept, to defend our country against all enemies “foreign and domestic.” If a president is leading our country into illegal wars and doing damage to our country, would it be out of line to interpret his actions that are constantly hurting America and its soldiers as a domestic enemy to the country.

    How about the soldiers other duty: upholding the Constitution. Is the war Constitutional? Has the President presereved the Constitution at home?

    Your idea of a soldier’s duty is narrow and lacking depth. You view them as robots or dogs willing to jump at the President’s command and disagree with them for actually trying to uphold the oath they took.

    And you never answered my questions from the previous comment. Is there ANY war you would support a soldier disobeying the president (there should be)? If so, why not this war? What is its redeeming quality?

  • Eric

    There is no war that the President declares and the Congress authorizes that I view as acceptable for soldiers to decide they don’t want to fight. It is black and white. It HAS to be black and white. Imagine the consequences if it weren’t.

    Resign in protest. Don’t re-enlist. Run for Congress. Write a book. But DON’T pick and choose when you will and when you won’t serve.

    Again, you make arguments that don’t make any sense. The Constitution? So now individual soldiers decide what is and what isn’t Constitutional? Come on Andy. Marines should charge the White House because they’ve all decided that Bush is violating the Constitution with illegal wiretapping? You really want that? Get a grip, man.

  • having worked with the UN in various contexts, i feel confident in commenting on the following…

    “You actually equated an obscure court in Mongolia to the United Nations. That?s intellectual dishonesty at its finest.”

    no, andy, that’s perfectly calibrated irony at its finest.

  • Let me clarify a few things for you:

    The soldier did try to resign. The President took us to war and Congress did not actually declare it. Instead they passed the buck to the president (arguably unconstitutional as well).

    Congress was given the power to declare war for a reason ? they are frequently up for re-election whereas the President is only up for re-election once.

    If my arguments don’t make any sense, yours are downright ridiculous. A soldier should not think of the Consitution when he/she is making choices? Marines charging the White House for violations of the Constitution makes less sense than invading a foreign country for complete lies or no reason at all (though I didn’t advocate anything of the sort, you brought it up)?

    100,000 Iraqis (ball-park figure, mostly innocents) have been killed for a war that was waged by a president and built on a series of lies. You expect soldiers to be okay with that. A false sense of duty that has no boundaries is a ridiculous thing for you to ask of anyone.

  • Eric

    Yes, Marines charging the White House makes less sense than the Iraq war. Clearly. I don’t think an individual soldier is either capable or required to decide Constitutionality, no.

    I don’t expect soldiers to be okay with the Iraq failure and the loss of innocent lives at the hands of a corrupt and dangerous administration. I expect them to come home and run for Congress to change that. Too bad you won’t vote for any of them because most are Democrats.

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