AMERICAN NOTES: Duty and Responsibility

Behind the tortuous unraveling of the American role in Viet Nam, as well as the national debate over the court-martial and conviction of Lieut. William Galley, there lies a haunting problem: well-intentioned men faithfully executing their duty as they see it can find themselves responsible for horrible events. By coincidence, in the week that the Pentagon papers emerged, Yale Law Professor Charles Reich (The Greening of America) addressed the problem in The New Yorker. Reich wrote: "Evil now comes about not necessarily when people violate what they understand to be their duty but, more and more often, when they...

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