Tuesday, January 29, 2013

"I Was Following Orders" - 2

"I was following orders"
On this date in 2009 I reported on Senate hearings concerning the appointment of Attorney General Eric Holder.

That post is republished today.

It think it is timely because it deals with the concept of The Nuremberg Defense, which is, "I Was Following Orders".

That defense is illegal as far as current international law is concerned, but all of our legislators and other officials do not seem to know that.

Here is the text from that post:

During the hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee, which resulted in the committee voting approval (17-2) of Eric Holder to be the next Attorney General, several of the republican senators kept adhering to an old idea.

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.

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