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.

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