Looking at the ugly pictures coming out of Tibet, I ask myself a question. "How would I feel as a policeman or a soldier facing a protesting crowd of civilians? If I know in my heart that these crowds are innocent or even right, do I have to go and bash their heads in with my truncheon?
As a policeman in my hometown, do I have to beat up my friends or relatives who are protesting some meeting of big business, slicing up the pie in far away countries?
During the Nuremberg trial the excuse: " I was following orders" was not accepted. Surely many soldiers in Iraq must have followed bad orders because they were afraid of being punished. Sickening dilemma.
A Duty to Disobey All Unlawful Orders.
The military oath taken at the time of induction reads:
"I,____________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to the regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God"
The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) 809.ART.90 (20), makes it clear that military personnel need to obey the "lawful command of his superior officer," 891.ART.91 (2), the "lawful order of a warrant officer", 892.ART.92 (1) the "lawful general order", 892.ART.92 (2) "lawful order"
. In each case, military personnel have an obligation and a duty to only obey Lawful orders and indeed have an obligation to disobey Unlawful orders, including orders by the president that do not comply with the UCMJ. The moral and legal obligation is to the U.S. Constitution and not to those who would issue unlawful orders, especially if those orders are in direct violation of the Constitution and the UCMJ.
By November of 2002, 315 law professors had signed a statement entitled "A US War Against Iraq Will Violate US and International Law and Set a Dangerous Precedent for Violence That Will Endanger the American People."