Monday, August 18, 2008

"I was just following orders"

The trials of Nuremberg and My Lai made it clear that that wasn't an acceptable defense.

Ex-Marine Accused Of War Crime Speaks Out
Says Soldiers May Begin To Fear Civilian Prosecution For Doing Their Jobs

(AP) A former Marine sergeant facing the first federal civilian prosecution of a military member accused of a war crime says there is much more at stake than his claim of innocence on charges that he killed unarmed detainees in Fallujah, Iraq.

In the view of Jose Luis Nazario Jr., U.S. troops may begin to question whether they will be prosecuted by civilians for doing what their military superiors taught them to do in battle.

"They train us, and they expect us to rely back on that training. Then when we use that training, they prosecute us for it?" Nazario said during an interview Saturday with The Associated Press.

Of course, it would be easy to point out the ludicrousness of "If they prosecute us for war crimes, we'll be afraid to commit war crimes" as a defense, but, personally, I DO sort of understand the difficulty of a soldier who IS given illegal orders. If he disobeys, he goes to jail. If he obeys, he goes to jail.

But, of course, the solution to that is to prosecute the shits who gave him the orders in the first place ALSO. Nazario is claiming as his defense that he was ordered to commit war crimes. Ok - is anybody getting the names of the people he claims gave him those orders, and questioning them with an eye toward their arrest? Of course not - consequences are for underlings.

But this statement, from Nazario's lawyer, is the sort of thing that gets me crazy:

"This boils down to one thing in my mind: Are we going to allow civilian juries to Monday-morning-quarterback military decisions?" said Nazario's attorney, Kevin McDermott.

Is anyone going to smack this asshole just for being a moron? Is anyone going to say, "Hey, you dickhead, this is America, and the military IS under civilian authority. DUH. You're a LAWYER and you don't know that?"

Yes, I know. Of COURSE no one is going to say that. Not even politely.


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