Some background info first to clear things up a bit. Admiral Ivan Antonov, Admiral in charge of destroying the Theban threat. Whether by a Theban surrender or by orbital bombardment of the Theban homeworld with his fleet in orbit. The First part is an excerpt of the final novel in the series, the Shiva Option. The second excerpt is when Antonov and Lantu are trying to find a way to make the Thebans surrender without orbital bombardment. Which, would kill off most of the Thebans. The Theban homeworld had been fortified with planetary defense guns that could shoot down any attempt to land an assault force of Marines. And without an assault force of Marines to hold the planet, the Thebans would not surrender. Lantu had come to realize that the Holy Jihad he was on, was a fake, a fake that the leaders of Thebes knew all about and perpetuated in order to maintain their power base. It is very closely analogous to Japan. Heavily defended. You had to choose between nuclearizing them from the skies or landing an assault force that would take horrendous casualties. Or both as the case may be. Of course, David Weber probably did use Japan as the model for the scenario he wrote.
“We are warriors, we three,” he told them, “yet I think there have been times in this endless war when we have . . . forgotten the reason that we are. I was thinking, as I stood here alone, of other warriors I have known. Of Eeevaan, of course, but also of others long dead. Some of the Zheeerlikou’valkhannaiee, but even more of those who were not. Of Annnngusss MaaacRorrrrry, who I met on your world of New Hebrrrrideeees during the war against the Thebans, Raaymmonnd. And, even more, perhaps, of Ahhdmiraaal Laaantu. Do you know his tale?”
“Yes,” Prescott said. Every TFN officer knew the story of First Admiral Lantu, the Theban commander who’d fought so brilliantly against the Federation in the opening phases of the Theban War. The admiral who’d led the forces of “Holy Mother Terra” to one stunning triumph after another and fought even Ivan Antonov to a near draw. And the greatest “traitor” in Theban history.
“I hated him,” Kthaara said quietly. “I blamed him for the death of my khanhaku, for it was units under his command who destroyed my cousin’s squadron in the very first battle of the Theban War, and they did so by treachery. Looking back from today, it would be fairer to say he did so in a surprise attack, but I did not know—then—that Laaantu believed he was already at war against the Zheeerlikou’valkhannaiee, and so I was consumed by my hatred for his ‘treachery.’ Indeed, it was my need to seek vilknarma which first brought Eeevaan and me together. But in the end, Laaantu taught me the true duty of a warrior, for he betrayed all he had ever known, the faith in which he was raised, even the farshatok whom he had led into battle, because he had learned what none of them knew—that the ‘Faith of Holy Mother Terra’ was a lie. That the chofaki who ruled his people had used that lie to manipulate them for seventy of your years and then to launch them in a war of conquest. It was a war they could not win—not in the long run—and Laaantu knew what a terrible price would be exacted from his people if they fought to the bitter end. If their false leaders refused to surrender and Eeevaan was forced to bombard his world from orbit. And so he joined his enemies and aided them in every way he could, fighting to defeat his own people. Not for any personal gain, but because only by defeating them quickly and with as few Human casualties as possible could he hope to protect them from the consequences of their rulers’ actions.
“And when I realized what he was doing, and why, I could no longer hate him, mightily though I tried. Oh, how I cherished my hate! It had kept me warm, filled me with purpose and the passion of rage, and in the end, the killer of my khanhaku had taken even that from me, for he had reminded me that the true warrior fights not from hate, but from love. Not to destroy, but always and above all to preserve. Do you understand that, Raaymmonnd?”
The Shiva Option by David Weber and Steve White
The real life scenario is of course, Emperor Hirohito. I do believe Neo would see the connecting traits, because we’ve corresponded somewhat concerning this subject.
For those who are not conversant with the subject, you’ll just have to read MacArthur’s words here.
People who make promises and break them, dishonor themselves. In return for what?
“No,“ Antonov said flatly. “There is an answer. There is no such thing as a perfect defense – not when the attacker has data this complete and the services of the enemy’s best and most senior commander.“
“Best commander?“ Lantu repeated dully. He shook his head. “No, Admiral. You have the services of a fool. A pathetic simpleton who was asinine enough to think his people deserved to survive.“ He stared down at his hands, and his voice fell to a whisper. “I have become the greatest traitor in Theban history, betrayed all I ever believed, sacrificed my honor, conspired to kill thousands of men I trained and once commanded – all for a race so stupid it allowed five generations of charlatans to lead it to its death.“ His hands twisted in his lap.
“Do what you must, Admiral Antonov. Perhaps a handful of the People will live to curse me as I deserve.“
The humans in the room were silenced by his agony, but Kthaara’zarthan leaned forward, eyes fixed on Lantu’s face, and gestured to his interpreter.
“I would like to tell you a story, Admiral Laaantu,“ he said quietly, and Lantu looked up in astonishment sufficient to penetrate even his despair as, for the first time ever, Ktnaara spoke directly to him
“Centuries ago, on Old Valkha, there was a khanhar – a war leader. His name was Cranaa’tolnatha, and his clan was sworn to the service of Clan Kirhaar. Cranaa was a great warrior, one who had never known defeat in war or on the square of honor, and his clan was linkar’a id Kirhaar, Shield-Bearer to Clan Kirhaar. Clan Tolnatha stood at Clan Kirhaar’s right hand in battle, and Cranaa was Clan Kirhaar’s shartok khanhar, first fang of all its warriors, as well as those of Clan Tolnatha.
“But the Khanhaku’a Kirhaar was without honor, for he betrayed his allies and made himself chofak. None of his warriors knew it, for he hid his treachery, yet he spied on those who thought themselves his farshatok, selling their secrets to their enemies. And when those enemies moved against them, he called Cranaa aside and ordered him to hold back the warriors of Clan Tolnatha while he himself commanded Clan Kirhaar’s. Clan Tolnatha was to lie hidden, he told Cranaa, saved until the lastm oment to strike the enemy’s rear when their allies – including Clan Kirhaar – feigned flight.“
He paused, and Lantu stared at him, muzzle wrinkled as he tried to understand.
“Now, Cranaa had no reason to think his khanhaku’s orders were a lie, but he was a skilled warrior, and when he considered them they made no sense. His forces would be too far distant to intervene as ordered, for by the time messengers reached him and he advanced, the feigned flight would have carried the battle beyond his reach. Ana as he studied his khanhaku’s commands, he realized that a ‘feigned flight’ was no part of their allies’ plans. The battle was to be fought in a mountain pass, and if they yielded the pass they would be driven back against a river and destroyed.
“All but Clan Kirhaar,’ Kthaara said softly, “for they formed the reserve. They would be first across the river’sonly bridge, and it was they who had been charged with mining that bridge so that it might be blown up to prevent pursuit. Ana when Cranaa realized those things, he knew his khanhaku had betrayed him and all his allies. Clan Tolnatha would advance but arrive too late, and it would be destroyed in isolation. Clan Kirhaar would fall back, and his khanhaku would order the bridge destroyed’to hold the enemy,’ and thus deliver his allies to their foes. And when the battle was over, there would be none alive to know how his khanhaku had betrayed them.
“But Cranaa had sworn hirikolus to his khanhaku, and to break that oath is unthinkable. He who does so is worse than chofak – he is dirguasha, outcast and outlawed, stripped of clan, cut off from his clan fathers and mothers as the prey of any who wish to slay him. There is no greater punishment for the Zheeerlikou valkhannaieee. Before we suffer it, we will die at our own hand.
“Yet if he obeyed, Cranaa’s clan would die, and its allies, and the traitor would wax wealthy and powerful upon their blood. And so Cranaa did not obey. He broke his oath of hirikolus – broke it not with proof he could show another, but on the truth he knew without proof.
He refused to lead his clan into battle as he was commanded, but chose his own position and his own time to attack, and so won the battle and saved his clan.
“And in doing so, he made himself dirguasha. He could not prove his khanhaku’s treachery, though few doubted it. Yet even had he been able to do so, it would not have saved him, for he had thrown away his honor. He was cast out by his own litter mates, outlawed by the allies he had saved, deprived of his very name and driven into the waste without food, or shelter, or weapons. A lesser warrior would have slain himself, but to do so would be to admit he had lied and cleanse his khanhaku’s name, so Cranaa grubbed for food, and shivered in the cold, and starved, and made his very life a curse upon his khanhaku’s honor. And so, when he was sick and alone, too weak to defend himself, his traitor khanhaku sent assassins, and they slew him like an animal, dragging him to death with ropes, denying him even the right to die facing them upon his feet.
“Thus Cranaa’tolnatha died, alone and despised, and his bones were gnawed and scattered by zhakleish. Yet all these centuries later, the Zheeerlikou’valkhannaieee honor his courage… and not even Clan Kirhaar recalls his khanhaku’s name, for they have stricken it in shame. He was a traitor, Admiral Laaantu – but our warriors pray to Hiranow’khanark that we, too, may find the courage to be such traitors if we must.“
From Crusade, by david weber and steve white
The only justification to break your sworn word, is duty. Duty to a higher cause, to the preservation of your people. It is the meaning behind, death is lighter than a feather, duty heavier than mountains. Death is quick, sometimes painful sometimes not. Duty requires you to withstand much more agony, because it requires you to live, and living hurts. But it is the only game in town, if you seek to effect change.
If you ever watched Babylon 5 and saw the Civil War story arc with Sheridan vs President Clark. You would realize that the conflict of loyalties within a nation mirrors this choice of choices. Is your loyalty to the nation, or is your loyalty to your sworn oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign or domestic? Robert E. Lee asked himself a similar question, and he said his loyalty was to his state. But regardless of what choice you make, one or another oath will be broken.
It is one reason why the military does not promise loyalty to the President, but to the Constitution. It is always a good idea to reduce the risk for a conflict of loyalties. Try to avoid conflicts of interests. It’s not a good idea to require people to betray their family to do the right thing, because there are not a lot of people who will betray their families to do the right thing. So it is best not to count on it as a societal model.
What about the CIA leaks? It’s hard for people to justify their breaking of their promises, when they don’t even understand the concepts of honor, duty, or loyalty. The military does understand, and that’s why the military can do its duty and still remain loyal, because the institution understands conflicts of loyalty and how to resolve them. Because they understand what their duty is, does the CIA?
Spies function on the basis of lies and disinformation, on the breaking of oaths and the betrayal of networks they seek to infiltrate. Soldiers operate on fullfilling their promises. You see the fundamental difference. There are spies with honor, of course, but not when they’re playing on different teams. As the military and the CIA are doing, they’re playing on different teams.