Saturday, October 25, 2014

Resignation in protest: a Foreign Policy essay by Peter D. Feaver

Prof. Peter D. Feaver
Duke University Professor Peter D. Feaver has written this thought-provoking essay for on resignation as a form of protest by military officers. When you read it, be sure to look at the comments that follow.

Do you agree with the dim view Prof. Feaver takes of military resignations in protest? Certainly we lack a tradition of such resignations, but can you think of situations in which resignation was called for? For example, should the Judge Advocates General have resigned, rather that merely pushing back, when they learned that U.S. officials were torturing people? Tom Ricks has written that
they became the first line of defense against the use of torture and other [George W.] Bush Administration transgressions because they were "double professionals," heedful of their dual duties both as officers and as lawyers. This made them more likely to refuse to break the law or tell others to do so.
True enough. But why not resign and drive the point home? As the editor's favorite author wrote in "Where is the Courage to Walk Away?" in Navy Times in 2005, "memos that do not see the light of day until years later, and then only when pried out of the government by determined senators, are no substitute."

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