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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Monday, October 17, 2005

Leading by example

Sunday Times, October 16:

"AN RAF officer could be jailed for refusing to serve in Iraq because he believes that the war there was illegal.

"Flight-Lieutenant Malcolm Kendall-Smith is to be court-martialled for “refusing to obey a lawful command” after he told his commanding officer that he would not go to Basra.

"He is the first British officer to face criminal charges for challenging the legality of war."

Kendall-Smith is an intriguing person. He is not a "conscientious objector", says his lawyer. "He is arguing that the war is manifestly unlawful."

He was born in Australia, brought up in New Zealand and has dual British-New Zealand citizenship.

The case may inspire other soldiers to follow suit. Not unlike Breaking the Silence in Israel - soldiers who finally acknowledged their actions in the occupied territories were routinely illegal and immoral - Kendall-Smith's actions are brave and principled.

13 Comments:

Blogger anthony said...

Do you know if photo's from that specific exhibit (I think its a few years old, isn't it?) are available online?

Sunday, October 16, 2005 11:32:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Not off the top of my head, but I'm sure Google can help. Indeed, there are numerous testimonies and pics from Israeli soldiers available proving the immorality of their behaviour.

Monday, October 17, 2005 12:37:00 am  
Blogger Pete's Blog said...

Yes the occupation of Iraq is wrong. But Kendall-Smith is following his principles so he should be prepared to face the penalties.

Has he refused his pay in the past?

Unlike most Israeli's he wasn't drafted.

Monday, October 17, 2005 8:32:00 am  
Blogger Human said...

Bravo to Flight-Lieutenant Malcolm Kendall-Smith. Standing for Justice and Truth will cost this brave man a lot I fear.
Peace. your fellow Human

Monday, October 17, 2005 9:06:00 am  
Blogger Shabadoo said...

"International Law, Palestinian Style: A Play in One Act"

By Shab B. Doo

Shahidi Achmed: "You want me to go into an Israeli cafe and blow up as many civilians as I can?"

Hamas Dude: "Yes! Is glorious to die killing the kuffar and the Zionist Jew occupier!" (Rubs hands together laciviously) "Plus, think of the virgins, man!"

Shahidi: "Um, isn't that illegal under international law?"

Hamas: "Que?"

Shahidi: "Yeah, you know, targeting civilians and all that..."

Hamas: "Oh, ha-ha! You make with the funny joke! Now what size belt do you wear..."

Shahidi: "No, I'm serious. This is an illegal act you're asking me to undertake."

Hamas: "You're not serious."

Shahidi: (Nods head in affirmation)

Hamas: (Removes gun from holster) KABLAM!

Monday, October 17, 2005 9:34:00 am  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Shab's guide to the world, bigotry part one. Must be so confronting taking on 'evil' like that?
Joker...

Monday, October 17, 2005 9:44:00 am  
Blogger Shabadoo said...

Nice scarequotes around 'evil'...what morality do you ascribe to suicide bombers who target civilians?

And you call me bigoted (and I'm not even a member of the "Sydney Jewish community"!)

Monday, October 17, 2005 11:31:00 am  
Blogger Ibrahamav said...

Bravo, Shabadoo. When is the first performance?

Monday, October 17, 2005 12:55:00 pm  
Blogger leftvegdrunk said...

Shabadoo, how can you attempt to make humour out of something as serious as suicide bombing? You have gone way too far this time.

Monday, October 17, 2005 12:55:00 pm  
Blogger Shabadoo said...

Oh Dirt, you're a smart kid and once you outgrow this EYP (Earnest Young Person) stage you'll be right...but you miss the point about the way our civilization handles such matters (indeed any matters) versus the enemy's approach....

Monday, October 17, 2005 3:32:00 pm  
Blogger Ian Westmore said...

It'll be very surprised if the Kendall-Smith charge ever gets to court given that Admiral Boyce the then Chief of the General Defence Staff initially refused to authorise hostilities, reportedly holding up proceeding for nearly 5 days, the Army chief openly pondered whether he would end up in a cell next to Milosevic, the Foreign Office's deputy legal adviser advised the war was illegal (still does), that even the Attorney-General initially called the planned war illegal until he was leant on and that treason charges against a GCHQ mole were dropped when she challenged the legality of the war as her defence.

What would they do if the court(s) found the Kendall-Smith order was indeed unlawful? The legal position of a lot of people would immediately become extremely difficult.

Kendall-Smith's position is actually very good. He doesn't have to show the order was unlawful, only that he believed it to be. Its a pity that his career is stuffed either way.

An even greater pity is that our top brass don't appear to have even considered the question. Their predecessors probably wouldn't have been so lax.

Monday, October 17, 2005 5:50:00 pm  
Blogger Ian Westmore said...

Shabadoo said...

you miss the point about the way our civilization handles such matters (indeed any matters) versus the enemy's approach...

I think maybe you miss it. The belt wearers who survive are punished for their crimes. Politicians and generals rarely suffer any penalty even though they usually cause far greater suffering.

Monday, October 17, 2005 5:56:00 pm  
Blogger leftvegdrunk said...

Sound point, Ian.

Monday, October 17, 2005 10:21:00 pm  

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