Issues > 12 Questions Statesmen Ask Before Going to
12 Questions Statesmen Ask
Before Going to War
by Daniel Newby,
July 31, 2005
Independent of all other persons or earthly factors, am I
morally and ethically obligated to participate in this
2) Is this war
a matter of the survival for my people?
3) Does any
oath that I take to serve in the armed forces provide the
clear latitude my conscience requires to solely serve the
interests of freedom, morality, decency, and the immutable
laws of nature — irrespective of any persons, governments, or
4) Could this
warfare be avoided or curtailed by another, less bloody, or
less broad, course of action?
5) Is this
warfare defensive or offensive in nature? Am I being asked to
clearly defend the lands and existence of my country? Or am I
being asked to invade and occupy another sovereign country in
an attempt to subject them to our standards and way of life?
6) Does this
conflict have objectives, an entrance strategy, and an exit
strategy that are crystal clear, sound, moral, and wise?
7) Have those
administering my country been strictly moral, honest, and just
in the past toward those I am considering warfare against? Are
there legitimate reasons to believe that those administering
my country have needlessly exacerbated relations through their
8) Are those
directing the warfare strictly moral, honest, and just toward
all human beings? Do they have a worthy track record of
presenting accurate information about the rationale for the
conflict? Are they consistently solid in their words and
actions with regard to basic human rights and behavior toward
others? Do they adhere to the constitutional restrictions that
are supposed to regulate their own power and actions?
9) Will those
who are incapacitated (i.e. severely wounded), who are
captured, or who attempt to surrender be treated humanely —
perhaps to include more decency and respect than what they
have shown to others? Will they receive basic due process
prior to punishment, to include the right to a fair trial in a
reasonable period of time?
10) Am I
justified in potentially maiming or killing human beings of
every kind, including those who consider my incursion as an
attack on their sovereignty, and innocent civilians who may be
caught in the middle of the warfare?
11) Am I
prepared to oppose my commanding officers if they demand that
I take actions that are immoral and unjust? If these actions
involve human rights abuses, am I prepared to — violently if
necessary — oppose my commanding officers if they refuse to
desist in their course of action?
12) Will I be
asked to do things to people that I would never consider doing
to people in my own country under similar circumstances? Would
I feel comfortable if people from another country did to me
and to my people what we are proposing to do to them?
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