"If those sweethearts won't face German bullets, they'll take French ones! "
With regard to the Reservists who refused orders in Iraq this past week:
I was watching Stanley Kubrick's brilliant Paths of Glory, and I think that everybody should see that film if they are pondering about the dilemna that the Reservist action presents.
The movie was playing on AMC and John McCain was actually co-hosting the presentation. I remember seeing the film a long time ago, before I served in the US Army.
There are many instances where there are corollaries, but the one that most stands out is the scene where the General orders an artillery sergeant to fire on their own troops. The Sergeant tells the General over the phone that he cannot fire on friendly coordinates without a signed written order. The General screams and screams, but the sergeant will not relent.
These reservists had deadlined equipment, allegedly. "Deadlined," for those of you without service background means that the vehicle or equipment is not supposed to go anywhere. Now, we all know that in combat you have to move whether the equipment is 100% or not, but the point is...if the convoy got into to trouble, because of the deadlined equipment, who would have taken the brunt of the blame. The officers who ordered them to go? Wrong. The Sergeant who deadlined the equipment? Yes. I know it seems messed up, but just read Catch 22 to try to understand.
The platoon of Reservists proved a valuable point, but one of the first things they say in basic is "Ours is not to reason why, but to do or die."
Should they be punished harshly? There is a horrifying logic that would say that they should.