I had formerly supported Lt. Watada and his refusal to serve in an illegal war.
But I’ve had to rethink that.
The first duty of soldiers is to obey orders. As they are told in basic training by every sergeant, “It’s not your place to think!”
Regardless of illegal wars, the rights of fellow humans or even basic citizenship, soldiers only have one duty or right — to shut up, suck it up and do as they’re told.
After the war, if their side loses, they should quietly continue to follow that duty. If their leaders have led them into war-crimes, they should simply square their shoulders and go with their heads up — to be hanged.
Every soldier should be aware of this contingency, and accept it as part of a possible part of his or her duty. No trying to claim “I was just following orders.” Every soldier should simply say, as a plain truth, “I followed my orders.”
If that means a soldier can be hanged after a war for criminal acts, then so be it. Any honest, decent soldier should simply accept it and face it directly as part of the territory.