“Support our troops” is the mantra of the day. It’s code for “shut up and support the war.” Many military people may get played for pawns but some are my biggest heroes, and the newest happens to be a expat Kiwi. (Hat tip No Right Turn)
Flight Lieutenant Malcolm Kendall-Smith, born in Australia and raised in New Zealand, is a decorated British army officer who refused to return to Iraq on grounds that the US-led invasion of Iraq was illegal. On 5 October 2005 he was charged with refusing to obey orders. He’s the first British officer to face criminal charges for challenging the legality of the war.
His solicitor, Justin Hugheston-Roberts, told the Sunday Times “He is not arguing that he is a conscientious objector. He is arguing that the war is manifestly unlawful.”
According to a colleague, “He takes the view this is something which is worth going to prison for.”
This guy is a hero.
Update: A couple more links. This one gives a little insight into what makes this guy tick. Apparently he has a medical degree and a postgraduate qualification in philosophy from Otago University. His philosophy thesis, a 65-page bound critique on the philosopher Immanuel Kant, grapples with ethics, human freedom and morality. I’d say Tony Blair and his cronies are a little worried at this point. As Kendall-Smith’s main legal spokesman points out, the ramifications of the case are
quite awesome. Jounalist John Pilger elaborates; it could force Britain before the International Criminal Court for war crimes. Yummy.
Update: Photo updated (19 March, 2006).