Flight Lieutenant Malcolm Kendall-Smith has been found guilty of refusing to obey orders to go to Iraq, and jailed for eight months. The judge called Kendall-Smith's disobedience "calculated and deliberate", repeated the usual line that soldiers did not get to choose which orders they obeyed (which is not what we said at Nuremberg), and said that the honourable thing to do was to ask to resign. Which is exactly what Kendall-Smith did. But if you ask to resign and are refused, what course does conscience allow other than disobedience? Because that ultimately is what this case is about: freedom of conscience, and the freedom to refuse to participate in actions you believe are illegal or immoral. By denying this fundamental freedom, the British government has effectively reduced itself to the level of a medieval despotism, and turned Kendall-Smith into a political prisoner.