21st Century: Query 191 (Nathan Hale)
“It is the duty of every good officer to obey any orders given him by his commander in chief.”
~ Nathan Hale was an American soldier and spy for the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. He volunteered for an intelligence-gathering mission in New York City but was captured by the British and executed. Hale has long been considered an American hero and, in 1985, he was officially designated the state hero of Connecticut.
Should this statement always be true? Why or why not?
When, if ever, should a “good officer” refuse to carry out an order?
What should the penalty be for not carrying out an order?
Should a refusal for ethical reasons be punished differently than for less-than-altruistic reasons? Why or why not?