War Council

 Posted on 8/25/1996 by J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com> to CIS

{original post had no questions}

Just some comparisons to illustrate...during WW II, the head of
naval operations for the Japanese fleet insisted on being on board
during several of their more pivotal missions. His subordinates
insisted that additional ships be sent as escorts given his importance
to war strategy. That's a very rigid military structure, but when
*all* the subordinates get together on something, to go against it
causes more problems than it's worth.

Even within the context of a conventional military situation,
there's flexibility. If a commanding officer gives an order which is
immoral, illegal, or against the rules of engagement, a subordinate can
refuse to implement that order, even give a countermanding order which,
depending on the situation (such as a nuclear missile firing) would
take precedence over the CO's order (though you'd first have to relieve
the CO of command, and if you do that, you'd darned well better be
prepared to back it up with every legal and moral means at your
disposal, or it's mutiny). Heck, it was just this kind of dilemma that
was at the core of the movie "Crimson Tide," and was brought up in the
recent war crime trials going on investigating what happened in Bosnia,
with a soldier being asked why he didn't refuse to carry out an order
to kill civilians.

Ain't a lot of black-and-whites in the world, but a whole lotta