TwoTrees

NO! Just stop and do a little thinking ...

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The man speaks well for himself. Calmly stating facts. He risks much with his stand, but taking it will carry far more weight then the arm chair conversations by talking heads here.

 

Good luck to him. The obvious answer is to deploy him and other conscientious objectors in noncombat situations, the need for support is huge, even for those not in Iraq. The ultimate answer is getting out, but you don't want the current blood bath to turn into a blood river.

 

Michael

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"Not participating in war crimes" is a good decision.

American hero.

 

That you can ever give up your ability to make your own choice (as long as you're conscious and reasonably healthy) seems far fetched to me. Just cause he signed a piece of paper saying he'd go kill people when someone else says, "go!" .. I don't know, call me wild, but I think that going to kill people is weighty - and that coming to your senses, taking your self-determination and moral compass back (which you can never really give away, imo, though you can give them up) is legitimate.

 

I think that when you're on your death bed, at the Pearly Gates, however/whenever you face your own Reconciliation, that "duh.. I was just doing what I was told" doesn't wash blood stains off. Isn't an excuse for anything. You did what you did. You have to live with yourself and die with yourself.

 

He's a man.

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He's a man? I'd think that not signing up for things you never intended to follow through on would make you more of a man, but that's just my opinion.

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"Not participating in war crimes" is a good decision.

American hero.

 

That you can ever give up your ability to make your own choice (as long as you're conscious and reasonably healthy) seems far fetched to me. Just cause he signed a piece of paper saying he'd go kill people when someone else says, "go!" .. I don't know, call me wild, but I think that going to kill people is weighty - and that coming to your senses, taking your self-determination and moral compass back (which you can never really give away, imo, though you can give them up) is legitimate.

 

I think that when you're on your death bed, at the Pearly Gates, however/whenever you face your own Reconciliation, that "duh.. I was just doing what I was told" doesn't wash blood stains off. Isn't an excuse for anything. You did what you did. You have to live with yourself and die with yourself.

 

He's a man.

:D

As always, I delight in your insight.

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Good luck to him. The obvious answer is to deploy him and other conscientious objectors in noncombat situations...

 

The legal definition of a conscientious objector is one who opposes ALL war, not just a particular war.

 

Gillette v. United States, 401 U.S. 437

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He says he signed up for patriotic reasons, and then felt duped. He's got good reasons for that. The easy road is to follow orders, I think he shows a lot of courage.

 

Maybe he's doesn't fit the mold of conscientious objector, but a man makes a decision and follows through, but when the newly revealed facts are against him, he should have the courage to change that position and take what ever punishment that might entail.

 

Michael

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This is a Lieutenant, not some run-of-the-mill grunt. And he said he would be more than happy to go kill people in Afghanistan. I don't know the guy but I wonder if he's just scared because he has had a lot of friends die in Iraq and is afraid to go there. I do think he's taking the easy road but that's just one gal's opinion.

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Even though we do not know him personally, it is easy to recognize certains things about his reasons.

No matter what was on his mind when he started out, it is apparent that has changed in him somehow.

 

But I don't think that facing military prison is anything close to the easy road.

In the chance of going with his men and orders, and the possibility of being shot or mauled by Afghani's he has better odds of enjoying a sense of freedom from the pain of punishment with men who would treat him like a pigfaced traitor and pansy.

 

That takes some serious cajones. I take my hat off to him in his atonement, no matter what the reasons.

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Dear Two Trees,

thank you very much for submitting the article.

 

This man has more than courage, he has discernment. Which is the ability to distinguish good from bad. In Christianity is considered so important that is considered that you can only have it as a gift from the Holy Ghost. As Taoists we work hard to develop it, since generally taoists don't subscribe to an external set of rules. But even those who do subscribe to an external set of rules need to be able to have discernment to know when and how to emply them. For example Saint Augustin would consider a lie less bad if it has been done in an attempt to reach another objective. While lieing for the sake of it was considered worse. How good is the actual objective then would become part of the equation.

 

Soldiers seem to fit the general class of people who has external rules. When I was in the military I studied the little rule book that was given to us. It was specifically spelled out that: "A wrong order should not be followed". This is the constitution of soldiers. And our liutenant knows it (that is, the USA version, not the Italian one, of course). Notice how he sais:

 

It seems like people and critics make this distinction between an order to deploy and any other order, as if the order to deploy is just something that's beyond any other order. Orders have to be determined on whether they're legal or not. And if the order to deploy to a war that is unlawful, if that is given, then that order itself is unlawful.

 

I suppose your military book of rules does not speak of 'wrong' orders, but 'illegal' orders. As such he IS doing his duty as a military official. The fact that many people (and soldiers) interpret being a military as being a mindless slave does not make this correct. It is clearly stated in the rules. Which is what you are signing.

 

And even if it was not what you were signing we have clear example in history that shows that just following the order is not an acceptable behaviour. This became absolutely obvious from the Nurenberg tribunal. When Italy was torn apart in WWII, and some soldiers remained soldiers under Mussolini, and others went on the mountains, the one who left for the mountains were later recognised as having "followed a deeper sense of honor, and commitment to Italy". You could say that some followed the letter of the constitution, and other the spirit of it.

 

Nothing in his words suggests that he is doing what he is doing out of fear. The fact that he is not against war, but against 'illegal war' does not make him a conscientious objector, just a soldier who is doing his duty.

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When you swear an oath, it is your lawful duty to follow lawful orders (as in, orders that come from your legal superiors and which do not violate any known military codes or laws) until such orders are proven to be unlawful. If you can't follow your orders because you feel they are immoral, then you shouldn't be a soldier. The duty is not to ignore unlawful orders, but to report unlawful orders.

 

I agree that this guy has the right to do whatever he wants, but because he swore an oath, the courts have the right to lock him up. I'm sure he's getting a lot of money for it, though.

 

I'd also say that going to jail is a lot easier than putting your life on the line.

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Bravo to the soldier who disobeys because of conscience, not fear. I'm not saying they shouldn't be disciplined. Sign the line, commit the crime, do the time. You break a binding contract you are and should be held responsible, but I think is honor in his stand and in taking whatever consequences follow from it.

 

Michael

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When you swear an oath, it is your lawful duty to follow lawful orders (as in, orders that come from your legal superiors and which do not violate any known military codes or laws) until such orders are proven to be unlawful. If you can't follow your orders because you feel they are immoral, then you shouldn't be a soldier. The duty is not to ignore unlawful orders, but to report unlawful orders.
I'd like to see your legal reference on that. That would open the door to all war crimes, rape, torture, killing of civilians en mass, anything - allowing the soldier only to report the situation when he got a bit of free time, and then stopping the crimes only when he was ordered to by his superior/s (if they ever even told him to stop). That just doesn't sound sensible, even in the extreme context of war. Seems like there would be limits to that assertion, and that gets into detail of military procedure and law. Again, I'd like to see your legal reference.

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U.S. Military oath:

"I do solemnly swear 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 regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice."

 

Uniform Code of Military Justice, article 90 states that it is a crime for a member of the military to willfully disobey a superior commissioned officer and that s/he can be sentenced to death for this even during a time of peace. Article 91 says it is a crime to willfully disobey a superior noncommissioned or warrant officer. Article 92 says it is a crime to disobey any lawful order. A lawful order is not defined by what you agree with or feel like doing. And it'll be hard for him to make the case that the orders were illegal since he enlisted in March 03, so said war has been going on during his entire military career. The fact that he enlisted after the war started and now doesn't want to serve is a bit unusual--it seems obvious from my vantage point that he was just playing the odds on not getting deployed. In any case, being ordered to duty is never going to look like an illegal order in a military court, and if he really believes that "the wholesale slaughter and mistreatment of the Iraqi people with only limited accountability is a terrible moral injustice" he has a legal duty and a moral obligation as an officer to deploy with his troops and ensure that they don't participate in any wholesale slaughters.

 

As far as the war in Iraq, it began after Congress passed their resolution authorizing use of force against Iraq in October 2002. Also UN resolutions were passed authorizing the use of force against Iraq and recognizing the US and UK as the rightful 'Authority' in Iraq after the country had been taken over.

 

"The United States has clear authority under international law to use force against Iraq under present circumstances." --John B Bellinger, Legal Advisor to the US Nat'l Security Council, in a letter to the Council on Foreign Relations.

 

There is nothing in the UNSCR 1441 requiring any other form of Security Council or further resolutions to authorize the use of force.

 

Also, the US advised the UN, formally, that military operations in Iraq 'are authorized under existing Council resolutions, including resolution 678 (1990) and resolution 687 (1991)' as 'Iraq repeatedly has refused, over a protracted period of time, to respond to diplomatic overtures, economic sanctions, and other peaceful means designed to help bring about Iraqi compliance with its obligations to disarm Iraq and permit full inspection of its WMD and related programs.'"

 

In addition, there are laws limiting political participation by soldiers and if you are given an order which you really feel is illegal, the appropriate course of action is to take it up the chain of command or even contact your Congressman, not to hold press conferences. A soldier protesting outside his chain-of-command or JAG or IG is violating UCMJ.

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...
Maybe I'm just basically untrusting but, given your pattern of comments in this thread, I doubt that you've given a balanced legal arguement. (Granted it's an intense topic that people are likely to take strong sides on.) And I'm not inclined to sift through military law to see how this all works. (Where's Noam Chomsky when you need him?)

 

I still have the same assessment as when the thread started: He'll probably have a tough time legally and I stand by him on principle.

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You asked for a legal reference, and I gave you several. I'd be happy to take on Chomsky's interpretation as well. I did an internship at the Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors; I've read about military law from both angles.

 

There *are* rules of engagement which prohibit certain types of behavior, like indiscriminate killing of civilians. That's why the Marines in Haditha are being prosecuted. If someone were to issue ROEs' that included deliberately targeting civilians, it would be unlawful by UCMJ provisions, article 118 and 119.

 

The duty to report unlawful orders simply does not include disobeying orders to report to duty. Reporting to duty is not prosecutable by military court or international tribunals in the way that targetting civilians is.

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Lozen, you know your stuff and have obviously given it more thought then most of us have. I agree with you that he should be punished (but hope its relatively light < 2 yrs), I just think there is courage in his stance. There is also considerable power in it. He's making some pretty big waves and starting conversations across the world.

 

Michael

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