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Topic Title: The lowest aim in your life is to become a soldier
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Created On: 03/01/2013 09:59 PM
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 03/01/2013 09:59 PM
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dirtyfrank

Posts: 396
Joined: 09/12/2011

"Young men: The lowest aim in your life is to become a soldier. The good soldier never tires to distinguish right from wrong. He never thinks, never reasons; he only obeys. If he is ordered to fire on his fellow citizens, on his friends, on his neighbors, on his relatives, he obeys without hesitation. If he is ordered to fire down a crowded street when the poor are clamoring for bread, he obeys and sees the grey hairs of age stained with red and the life tide gushing from the breasts of women, feeling neither remorse nor sympathy. If he is ordered off as a firing squad to execute a hero or benefactor, he fires without hesitation, though he knows the bullet will pierce the noblest heart that ever beat in the human breast.

"A good soldier is a blind, heartless, soulless, murderous machine. He is not a man. ....All that is human in him, all that is divine in him, all that constitutes the man has been sworn away when he took the enlistment roll. His mind, his conscience, aye, his very soul, are in the keeping of his officer.

"No man can fall lower than a soldier - it is a depth beneath which we cannot go."

-Jack London
 03/02/2013 04:52 AM
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RustyTruck

Posts: 9370
Joined: 08/02/2004

Well, that was harsh.

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Heaven is where the police are British, the chefs Italian, the mechanics German, and it is all organized by the Swiss. Hell is where the police are German, the chefs British, the mechanics French, and it is all organized by the Italians.
 03/02/2013 05:31 AM
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JimmyBobby

Posts: 1077
Joined: 07/09/2011

Article 90 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) makes it a crime for a military member to WILLFULLY disobey a superior commissioned officer. Article 91 makes it a crime to WILLFULLY disobey a superior Noncommissioned or Warrant Officer. Article 92 makes it a crime to disobey any lawful order (the disobedience does not have to be "willful" under this article).
In fact, under Article 90, during times of war, a military member who willfully disobeys a superior commissioned officer can be sentenced to death.
Seems like pretty good motivation to obey any order you're given, right? Nope. These articles require the obedience of LAWFUL orders. An order which is unlawful not only does not need to be obeyed, but obeying such an order can result in criminal prosecution of the one who obeys it. Military courts have long held that military members are accountable for their actions even while following orders -- if the order was illegal.
"I was only following orders," has been unsuccessfully used as a legal defense in hundreds of cases (probably most notably by Nazi leaders at the Nuremberg tribunals following World War II). The defense didn't work for them, nor has it worked in hundreds of cases since.
The first recorded case of a United States Military officer using the "I was only following orders" defense dates back to 1799. During the War with France, Congress passed a law making it permissible to seize ships bound to any French Port. However, when President John Adams wrote the order to authorize the U.S. Navy to do so, he wrote that Navy ships were authorized to seize any vessel bound for a French port, or traveling from a French port. Pursuant to the President's instructions, a U.S. Navy captain seized a Danish Ship (the Flying Fish), which was en route from a French Port. The owners of the ship sued the Navy captain in U.S. maritime court for trespass. They won, and the United States Supreme Court upheld the decision. The U.S. Supreme Court held that Navy commanders "act at their own peril" when obeying presidential orders when such orders are illegal.
The Vietnam War presented the United States military courts with more cases of the "I was only following orders" defense than any previous conflict. The decisions during these cases reaffirmed that following manifestly illegal orders is not a viable defense from criminal prosecution. In United States v. Keenan, the accused (Keenan) was found guilty of murder after he obeyed in order to shoot and kill an elderly Vietnamese citizen. The Court of Military Appeals held that "the justification for acts done pursuant to orders does not exist if the order was of such a nature that a man of ordinary sense and understanding would know it to be illegal." (Interestingly, the soldier who gave Keenan the order, Corporal Luczko, was acquitted by reason of insanity).

UCMJ for idiots
 03/02/2013 07:05 AM
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McLean

Posts: 2340
Joined: 09/19/2012

"Now what do I do with all these yellow ribbons?"



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 03/03/2013 05:16 AM
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Greensleeves

Posts: 7041
Joined: 07/22/2003

London is entitled to his opinion.  Maybe more so after reading about his upbringing.  At 13: In 1889, London began working 12 to 18 hours a day at Hickmott's Cannery.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Griffith_Chaney

 

 



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