Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Kendall-Smith on trial

Flight Lieutenant Malcolm Kendall-Smith has gone on trial on five charges of disobeying a lawful order. His chief defence - that the orders were in fact unlawful - has been dismissed by a pre-trial hearing, so things look pretty bleak. If convicted, he may face jail, and given the publicity the case has attracted and the British government's seeming desire to clamp down on refuseniks, I expect them to throw the book at him. But I guess we'll find out in three days.

Messages of support for Kendall-Smith can be sent via his lawyer, Justin Hugheston-Roberts, at


Why would you want to support this guy? He is mandated to follow orders. That's imperative in his position. It is extremely serious when people in his situation deem themselves to be holier than thou. That's not his job. His job is to follow orders. That applies in all but the most extreme circumstances of which this was not one.

Posted by Gooner : 4/12/2006 09:42:00 PM

I think you're right Gooner.. isn't that part of the UK military pay structure now? The hourly rate rate covers purchase of mind, body and soul..

Posted by Anonymous : 4/12/2006 09:54:00 PM

gooner - You'd want to support this guy if you believed the orders given were unlawful.

His job is to follow *legal* orders. People who follow illegal orders can get court-martialled, or brought before war crimes tribunals. "I was just following orders" is not a defence to a criminal charge; you might understand why this defence is called the Nuremburg defence.

Every soldier, sailor, airman or marine is required by military law to refuse to follow orders to do unlawful things (officers especially). You're right that it is extremely serious when members of the military refuse to follow lawful orders; however it is also extremely serious when they follow unlawful ones - the courts martial of the MPs at Abu Gharaib should show us that.

Posted by Graeme Edgeler : 4/12/2006 10:03:00 PM

Gooner might think differently if his son wanted to go to war.

Posted by Anonymous : 4/15/2006 11:47:00 AM

From gooner's perspective,
Imagine if there was a serious war and someone in a key position given a key job like stopping someone using a nuke decided he would just quit. Serious problem. even if the plan was a bad idea trying the plan a few men short is likely to be a REALLY bad idea.

Having said that I dont think we have that sort of desperation here and the "legal laws" thing applies as per graeme.

Posted by Genius : 4/15/2006 01:11:00 PM