What's Your Code of Honour?

Posted by A.C. Ping
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"Revenge is a dish best served cold"Anon.
“An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind”
Mahatma Ghandi

In announcing the death of Osama Bin Laden, US President Barack Obama was very clear about why it had happened:-

“...as a country, we will never tolerate our security being threatened, nor stand idly by when our people have been killed. We will be relentless in defence of our citizens and our friends and allies. We will be true to the values that make us who we are.

And on nights like this one, we can say to those families who have lost loved ones to al Qaeda's terror, justice has been done.”

“It’s all about the code brother” Vin Diesel’s character says in Fast and Furious 4.

So, what’s your code and how do you justify your actions?

Ghandi proposed peaceful resistance. Something that Martin Luther King Jnr. also advocated.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
Martin Luther King Jnr.

How much of this is fantasy and how much reality?

Could the USA have simply sat back and peacefully resisted Al Qaeda or did they need to go after them?

Nelson Mandela is lauded as a man of peace but as a young man, frustrated by the lack of progress in changing the apartheid system in South Africa, he established Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), translated as "Spear of the Nation". It was the armed wing of the African National Congress and Mandela was trained in guerrilla warfare tactics. In 1961 MK was declared a terrorist organisation by South Africa and the United States and banned.

It’s interesting to speculate about what would have happened if they had gone and killed Mandela after they found him as this is the same justification for killing Bin Laden.

We can never know the future but one thing is for certain and that is our actions speak louder than words and the consequences reverberate through the ages.

Western leaders are now warning about reprise attacks by Al Qaeda operatives which, of course, they would justify by claiming revenge for the killing of Bin Laden.

I’m sure US Leaders would now claim that we are even and hence all hostilities should stop – and there’s the rub.

You see with regard to game theory, the strategy ‘tit for tat’ has almost always been the winner in competitions. But Tit for Tat depends on four conditions:-

  1. Unless provoked always cooperate
  2. If provoked  retaliate
  3. Be quick to forgive
  4. There must be a good chance of competing against the opponent more than once.

The problem is – who decides when the ‘tit’ equals the last ‘tat’?
And what sort of World does this leave us with?

If you have kids you might have found yourself in the same situation with each party claiming that the other started it and that whatever has happened since has left them somehow the loser. The get out of jail answer is “I don’t care who started it just get over it and move on”.


I guess the key in the tit for tat conditions is that the competition doesn’t end. Just like life eh? At the end of the day we all have to continue to live together don’t we – despite various predications of Armageddon it hasn’t happened yet has it?

So, what’s your code?

At some stage someone has to take the lead and instead of RE-ACTING to others simply decide what VALUES and PRINCIPLES they wish to live by in an IDEAL world and start living them ala Nelson Mandela. 27 years later he got some justice didn’t he?

“All the lessons of history in four sentences: Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad with power. The mills of God grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly small. The bee fertilizes the flower it robs. When it is dark enough, you can see the stars. “
Charles A. Beard

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