Three years ago Kevin Rudd favoured us with the first of his now regular communiqués via the medium of The Monthly -- a practice that has only recently come to resemble the news from Pyongyang. In it he spoke of the influence on his life of the German Lutheran priest, theologian and martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was executed by the Nazis weeks before the end of WW2, for his small part in the plot to assassinate Hitler.

Though I don't doubt for a moment that Rudd is sincere in being inspired by Bonhoeffer, I don't believe for a moment that he has been a pole star in his life, in the way he was for his most famous disciple, Martin Luther King. Shortly before his death, King made the decision -- condemned by many of his associates -- to denounce the Vietnam War. For the struggling civil rights movement, already accused of being a Communist front, arguing against the War was simply giving proof to all who needed it that every lunch counter sit-in was being run from Moscow. But for King there was no choice -- the war was not merely mistaken, but evil. To ignore that in the belief one was protecting one's own movement was the deepest error possible.