16 November 2006

Integrity & Loyalty

Pfc. John J. Jodka III was sentenced to 18 months for his role in the killing of an Iraqi civilian. He was the youngest and lowest-ranking member of a squad, other members of which are facing quite severe penalties.

On the radio this morning, Jodka was described as "feeling torn between loyalty to his squad and his own integrity." In Iraq, he chose loyalty over integrity, with disaterous results. Back in the states, however, he was quoted as saying:
"I decided to plead guilty because in the end it was the right thing to do," Jodka said. "I had to weigh in myself the need for truth as opposed to the loyalty to the squad I had bonded with in Iraq."

I have long contended that loyalty is overrated, and I'm glad to see Pfc Jodka was eventually able to recognize that there are higher virtues. Loyalty is good, but it doesn't trump things like honor, integrity, justice, etc. Loyalty in service of integrity is powerful and positive, but when divorced from integrity, loyalty can be downright evil.

I hope this case gets people thinking about the real meaning and proper role of loyalty. I hope the USMC (and others) will make it clear that moral actions require us to demonstrate loyalty to truth and loyalty to justice, ahead of loyalty to individual people.


Anonymous said...

Hey, lookee there! At least someone found some guts.

Dad said...

Dan: that took guts to think that, say that , and of course write that..... proud of you son.

Dan said...