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Thread: Unlawful Order...

  1. #11
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    Re: Unlawful Order...

    Quote Originally Posted by technomage1 View Post
    Careful, this kind of thinking can get you fired.

    Http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harold_Hering
    My first thought. These days, with the media and Congress being the way they are, someone asking a similar question might NOT get squashed like a bug.

  2. #12
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    Re: Unlawful Order...

    Its not for us to interpret if the conflict itself is legal or not. If that decision was left to the soldier, sailor, airmen level, we'd be screwed.
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    Re: Unlawful Order...

    Your question reminds me of ABC's short-lived series Last Resort, about a nuclear sub crew that refuses to follow orders (later revelaed to be invalid). You could compare it to other movies in the past like Crimson Tide, Wargames, etc.



    I think anyone under POTUS shouldn't be held accountable for following an "unlawful" order in the scenario the OP has described though. The LOAC rules are meant to cover the situations where a squad leader tells his soldiers to open fire on an Afghani elementary school, not firing tomahawk missles at a Syrian military target.

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    Re: Unlawful Order...

    You would think wrong... Just askKarl Dönitz... He committed no war crimes but was found guilty of war crimes because he followed what the U.S. and U.K. recognized as the SOP for naval warfare.
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    Re: Unlawful Order...

    Quote Originally Posted by 20+Years View Post
    Its not for us to interpret if the conflict itself is legal or not.
    I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with this. It is up to everyone to interpret the legality of both order and the conflict. It must be done in an educated rational way, but it must be done.

    But the truth is, most of us aren't up to the task. Even if we had the legal education background, we don't have access to ALL the information necessary to make an informed decision. This why we rely on (read: trust) our leaders far up the chain of command, including POTUS, to make the correct legal decisions. That's why we all take oaths, that include words like protect, loyalty, obey, fidelity, truth, allegiance, etc.

    The biggest problem in the last 30 years, is that those in D.C. have forgotten that they owe the people they send to die, as much loyalty and fidelity, as we owe them. You want to talk about being screwed, start there.

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    Re: Unlawful Order...

    Quote Originally Posted by imnohero View Post
    I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with this. It is up to everyone to interpret the legality of both order and the conflict. It must be done in an educated rational way, but it must be done.
    But it has been done over the past 30 years and the end result is service members going to jail almost everytime they have tried this. The only recent exception to this was the case of Army 1st Lt Ehren Watada who question the legality of the US war in Iraq using almost the same arguement theorized here. His first court martial ended on a mistrial, attempts at a second court martial were put to stop when Obama took office in 2008 and was discharged by the Army in 2009. But that case failed to set a precedent given the fact that one other soldier has received jail time for refusing to deploy to Iraq that case went to court in 2009.

    But the truth is, most of us aren't up to the task. Even if we had the legal education background, we don't have access to ALL the information necessary to make an informed decision. This why we rely on (read: trust) our leaders far up the chain of command, including POTUS, to make the correct legal decisions. That's why we all take oaths, that include words like protect, loyalty, obey, fidelity, truth, allegiance, etc.
    In the Watada case and the most recent ones that tried to justify not deploying to Iraq because of personal objections to it they had access to some of the best lawyers that ACLU and other entities like it could provide and they still did jail time.

    The biggest problem in the last 30 years, is that those in D.C. have forgotten that they owe the people they send to die, as much loyalty and fidelity, as we owe them. You want to talk about being screwed, start there.
    I think the onus resides on the court. They have resisted time and time again to take up cases that deal with the War Powers Act and the last time a court took up a case involving the War Powers Act it was so summarily dismissed that I think it will close the door for Congress to assert their power of the Act through court for good.

    Ehren Watada case :http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ehren_Watada

    Soldier sentenced for refusing to deploy to Iraq (2009):http://couragetoresist.org/17-victor...days-jail.html

    Clinton War Powers Upheld: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv.../dismiss09.htm

    Clinton, Kosovo and the final destruction of the War Powers Resolution: http://scholarship.law.wm.edu/cgi/vi...4&context=wmlr
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    Re: Unlawful Order...

    Quote Originally Posted by imnohero View Post
    I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with this. It is up to everyone to interpret the legality of both order and the conflict. It must be done in an educated rational way, but it must be done.

    But the truth is, most of us aren't up to the task. Even if we had the legal education background, we don't have access to ALL the information necessary to make an informed decision. This why we rely on (read: trust) our leaders far up the chain of command, including POTUS, to make the correct legal decisions. That's why we all take oaths, that include words like protect, loyalty, obey, fidelity, truth, allegiance, etc.

    The biggest problem in the last 30 years, is that those in D.C. have forgotten that they owe the people they send to die, as much loyalty and fidelity, as we owe them. You want to talk about being screwed, start there.

    And yet I would disagree with your disagreement. To allow each service member to decide for themselves if a conflict is legal would cause anarchy in the ranks. Personal agendas and motivations would obviously influence each persons answer. Years of training as a team to complete a desired mission would be washed away by each persons opinion of legality.
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    Re: Unlawful Order...

    If we go down this slope, then anyone in the military could refuse to obey an order they believed was illegal and get off without punishment. That means someone else like Private Bradley Manning could say he thought that in the context of a given situation the order to not disclose classified information was illegal and he could shoot his cakehole off about it to anyone he pleased that would listen.

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    Re: Unlawful Order...

    If the President decided to launch missile strikes without asking Congress, he is legally within his right to do so. Why are we even talking about this?

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    Re: Unlawful Order...

    I don't recall saying "no punishment"...of course your going to get punished, whether the conflict or order is legal or not. It's always going to be looked at as "failure to obey" by the chain of command. And I would argue they count on fear of punishment/jail/discharge as an effective tool to keep people from questioning orders.

    That doesn't change the moral responsibility of the individual.

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