Thursday, October 13, 2011

Moral idiocy

I have no problem with contentious objectors, providing of course they make their feelings known before landing themselves in a situation at which they have moral qualms. Where I draw the line though is if someone joins one of the armed services and then has an attack of conscience or uses it as an excuse to avoid duty, which is why I have no sympathy at all with Michael Lyons.
A Royal Navy medic who refused to attend rifle training because of his objection to the war in Afghanistan has lost an appeal against his detention.
Michael Lyons, 25, from Plymouth, was detained after being found guilty at a court martial of disobeying a legal order by refusing to attend training.
He said he had a "moral objection" to bearing arms.
He was dismissed from the service later. He lost his challenge at the Court of Appeal.
Lyons was sentenced in July to seven months' detention at a military correction facility in Colchester, Essex.
Lord Justice Toulson, sitting with Mr Justice Openshaw and Mr Justice Hickinbottom, threw out his conviction appeal.
They also dismissed his appeal against his "manifestly excessive" sentence.
I cannot image what on earth possessed the guy to join a military service and not expect to come into contact with weapons at some stage, even if it's simply for personal defence. Granted the Navy, like the RAF are not exactly on the front line where it comes to facing armed aggressors face to face, but the principle stands, if you are asked to bear arms, even if it's for self defence, you wear a gun, orders are orders and this is not an illegal order.
The only circumstances in which I could see any form of problem in this would if we had conscription, where you had no choice but to be where you were. This is where the conscientious objector get out clause comes into play, you simply opt out. But this guy only seems to have developed a conscience after he learned he might end up in harms way by refusing personal weapons training.
Frankly this is a good decision by the judges and my personal opinion of  Michael Lyons is that he's a coward and that's about as mild as I can get it as my deepest opinions would involve considerably more intemperate language.

5 annotations:

Woman on a Raft said...

Ekklesia have the background.

Difficult to tell with this one. The danger for the MOD is that if they lose subsequent rulings they could be worse off than if they never started the prosecution. This doesn't settle it.

Woman on a Raft said...

What I mean is, yes, he's an idiot but it's not clear why the Navy has decided to prosecute rather than quietly shuffle him out of it on application.

Anonymous said...

They are going ahead with the case because when the little scrote has been absolved and is in receipt of a large wodge of compo, the morale of the armed forces will dip by another notch.

Leg-iron said...

I remember a conversation with an ex-army guy, years ago. He agreed with my attitude - if you don't want to be involved with shooting at people, you're daft to join the army because that's the job.

But... then... I did once have a student apply to work with me, a good student, who then refused to do certain parts of the project. She was Muslim.

I worked on pig diets at the time.

So, they're everywhere.

Woman on a Raft said...

because when the little scrote has been absolved and is in receipt of a large wodge of compo, the morale of the armed forces will dip by another notch.

That's what they call "a classic example of military counter-intelligence", right?