That iconic Bush administration dilemma-how should military or State Department functionaries have registered their opposition to the Iraq War?-is mulled over in this philosophical treatise-cum-antiwar manifesto. Taking Colin Powell as an object lesson, political scientist Felice leans toward "principled resignation" rather than working within government to change policy as the more honorable and effective response for government officials charged with prosecuting a war they thought was wrong. His scholarly backdrop cites just war theory, philosophers from Aristotle to Kant and Thoreau, and his own interview with ethicist Peter Singer, but he relies on case studies of American and British officials and soldiers who resigned, or refused to fight, to carry the argument. Through their rambling statements, the author rehashes a substantive brief against war and its justifications, and hammers home high-minded verities about ordinary citizens' duty to resist unjust wars. The book seems aimed at a limited audience that is both convinced of the war's immorality and positioned to derail, not just deplore it. Other readers may find it less than incisive. (July)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
How Do I Save My Honor?: War, Moral Integrity, and Principled Resignationby William F. Felice
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How Do I Save My Honor? is a powerful exploration of individual moral responsibility in a time of war. When people decide that the actions of their government have violated basic norms of ethics and justice, what are they to do? Are there degrees of moral responsibility that public officials, soldiers, and private citizens bear for unethical actions of their leaders and government? William F. Felice considers these central ethical questions through the compelling stories of individuals in the U.S. and British government and military who struggled to protect their moral integrity during the Iraq war and occupation. Some came to the difficult conclusion that resignation from their post was necessary to maintain their responsibility to the truth and to uphold their honor. Others decided to work from within to try to correct what they perceived as misguided policies. Examining the struggles of these contemporary men and women, as well as of historical figures facing similar dilemmas, William Felice weighs the profound difficulties of overcoming the intense pressures of misguided loyalty, patriotism, and groupthink that predominate during war.
- Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
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William F. Felice is professor of political science at Eckerd College.
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