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« Soldiering on | Main | Against the dominant orthodoxies »

August 17, 2004


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Learning the lessons of the Nuremburg trials, during which German soldiers who had slaughtered thousands served up the defense that they were just following orders, the Israelis, to their credit, abolished that rationale as a permissible defense. IDF soldiers are required to disobey illegal orders. The flip side is that Israeli soldiers are given a broader discretion to disobey orders that they deem illegal than soldiers in other armies.

Of course, there are cynics on the left who will sneer at this example, but the truth is that Israel has systematically prosecuted its soldiers who commit war crimes. The United States would do well to follow this example.

Jack wrote: "IDF soldiers are required to disobey illegal orders."

As are American military personnel.

I've seen the quotes that she was just following orders and the ones where her family insists she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

As a Senior NCO in the Air Force, here's a little training:

1) Don't look like you're having a good time when you're doing something WRONG. The stupid smile and the cigarette hanging out of your mouth and the big thumbs up indicates that you're actually enjoying yourself. Mil members simply following orders almost NEVER look like they're having fun.

2) The proper expression for "wrong place and wrong time" is NOT the aforementioned grins and thumbs up, but to look horrified and throw your hands up in the air in a "Whoa, WTF is this?" sort of way. Everyone practice now...hands up about shoulder level...open palms facing outward...open mouth in horror and shock...THERE ya go, THAT'S the way wrong time/wrong place should look.

Very good advice. I like your blog, too.

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