How Do I Save My Honor?

War, Moral Integrity, and Principled Resignation

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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?

In a new book, How Do I Save My Honor? War, Moral Integrity, and Principled Resignation (Rowman & Littlefield, April 2009), William F. Felice, Eckerd College Professor of Political Science, 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.

How Do I Save My Honor? analyzes the actions of former Secretary of State Colin Powell and State Department intelligence expert Wayne White; assesses the decisions of U.S. Foreign Service members Brady Kiesling, John Brown, and Ann Wright; traces the decisions of two soldiers who refused to serve in Iraq; and considers the resignations of key members of the Blair government in Britain who resigned to protest the war in Iraq.

Through extensive personal interviews and correspondence, Professor Felice learned that 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.

Review from International Journal of Intelligence Ethics

Review from International Studies Review

Review from Human Rights Quarterly

Review from Perspectives on Politics

Review from Meehan Reports