They kept asking Holder if he was going to prosecute individuals who tortured prisoners at Gitmo.
Individuals who were "only following orders" to torture.
The implication those republican senators not only alluded to, but specifically stated, was that if a lower level individual was "only" following orders, then that lower level individual is not guilty and should not be held to account for the torture he or she did.
Two things come to mind.
First, that is the defence the NAZI fascists presented who were tried at Nuremberg for war crimes. It is called the Nuremberg defense, and is invalid pursuant to international law, which states:
"The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him."(Nuremberg Principle IV). Why do the republican senators want us to follow the misguided wrongs of the NAZI ideology promulgated under Hitler?
Second, even the American military manuals, where the rules of conduct are printed, say that a soldier should not follow criminal orders.
These republican senators believe that the NAZI fascist defence is a good one for America.
Are they advocating NAZI fascist dogma? Isn't it the ideas an individual espouses which define who and what they are?
Who but a NAZI fascist would want America to become like NAZI Germany?
Modern day Germans recoil at that notion much more severely than republican senators do. It is a crime in that nation.
And it is a crime in the Fifth Circuit where a Texas sheriff, and several of his deputies, were sent to prison for waterboarding prisoners. The case is US v Lee, 744 F.2d 1124 (5th Cir., 1984). In that case a deputy raised the Nuremberg defence and it was rejected.
If only those republican senators had done their history homework.