From Ranger Against War
Let Conscience Be Your Guide
Few men are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world that yields most painfully to change.
–Robert F. Kennedy
Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it.
Last, but by no means least, courage–moral courage, the courage of one’s convictions, the courage to see things through. The world is in a constant conspiracy against the brave. It’s the age-old struggle: the roar of the crowd on one side and the voice of your conscience on the other.
A remembrance of Dale Noyd, decorated Air Force Captain and fighter pilot, who recently died, as it is timely vis a vis the trial of First Lieutenant Ehren Watada.
Captain Noyd’s case was the first lawsuit claiming conscientious objector status based upon opposition solely to a specific war.
Noyd was an exemplary serviceman, “but after 11 years in the Air Force, he became deeply disturbed by the Vietnam War, which he regarded as immoral and illegal.” In 1966, he asked the Air Force to be allowed to resign his commission or be classified as a conscientious objector. Denied on both counts, the case went to the Supreme Court, where it did not get a hearing, as he was told the case was in the military purview. This precedent bodes poorly for Watada.
As with Watada, Noyd was prevented in his trial from addressing the key issue, which was the legality of the war. He was sentenced to a year in prison, given a dishonorable discharge stripped of pension and benefits.