"I was just following orders"

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by KnightWriter, Jan 15, 2005.

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  1. Bant428 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 22, 2002
    star 4
    That was someone else merely expressing their opinion.

    Sorry. My bad, Mr. 44
  2. BenduHopkins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 7, 2004
    star 4
    Soldiers need to protect themselves according to the actual standard of law, not their own personal feelings.

    This concept isn't any different than the one that exists in the civilian world, it simply has different applications.

    If, for instance, a person "feels" he is right by firebombing a bunch of SUV's out of environmental concerns, doesn't make his actions any less felony criminal damage.

    That's really why the standard of law exists, be it military or civilian.

    I don't know why some people want to change it into a double standard just because it's the military.


    Ok, I'll amend my statement to better reflect the point I'm getting across.

    Soldiers have to protect themselves if they believe their commanders are war criminals.
  3. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Soldiers have to protect themselves if they believe their commanders are war criminals.

    Again though, it doesn't matter what they believe, but how the action in question is reflected against the law.

    David Berkowitz didn't believe he was a serial killer, but shooting people while they sit in their car at night sure falls under the statute of murder.

    Consquently, have you ever heard of the saying "honor the rank, if not the man?"

    An individual soldier can believe his commander is a criminal all he wants, for putting him on guard duty, or because he is too strict, or whatever.

    But the standard he is going to be judged against is what is actually listed in the law.
  4. BenduHopkins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 7, 2004
    star 4
    Again though, it doesn't matter what they believe, but how the action in question is reflected against the law.

    It is still up in the air as to whether the invasion was legal. It really hinges on the phrase "all necessary action" (or is it "all appropriate"?), and whether the President ignoring warnings of faulty intelligence will bite him in the butt.

    So a soldier could make a case that he's doing something "illegal" by going to Iraq to kill insurgents.

    Not only that, but the conditions of war outlined in the UN resolution are no longer applicable to the situation at hand. I think a new resolution to make staying there legal, even though we were wrong about intelligence.
  5. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    I think a new resolution to make staying there legal, even though we were wrong about intelligence.

    Oh, you mean like the resolution below, which was unanimosuly passed by the UNSC?

    world unity

    The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a resolution that endorses the June 30 transfer of sovereignty in Iraq and gives authorization for a U.S.-led multinational force.

    It also says the force will be able to take "all necessary measures to contribute to maintenance of security and stability"


  6. DarthKarde Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2002
    star 5
    It is still up in the air as to whether the invasion was legal.

    It is not upto soldiers to determine if a war is legal under international law. The issue in question is when soldiers are ordered to carry out actions that are against the laws of warfare.
  7. BenduHopkins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 7, 2004
    star 4
    Oh, you mean like the resolution below, which was unanimosuly passed by the UNSC?

    world unity

    The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a resolution that endorses the June 30 transfer of sovereignty in Iraq and gives authorization for a U.S.-led multinational force.

    It also says the force will be able to take "all necessary measures to contribute to maintenance of security and stability"


    That makes it as legal as it ever was, but I'm talking about one that specifically mentions that the initial invasion would have been legal even if we were unsure of the presence of WMDs in Iraq. The confusion for me is whether the conditions are "and" or "or" in regards to the necessity for Iraq to be a threat. For instance, could JUST the partial cooperativeness of Saddam, and the shooting at planes be a justification under the initial resolution, or did it hinge on the country being capable of WMD attacks as well?

    If its the first option, the problem lies in the difference between the resolution's criteria and the American people's criteria.
  8. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    If its the first option, the problem lies in the difference between the resolution's criteria and the American people's criteria.

    Or BenduHopkin's criteria, but then, only BenduHopkins can reconcile what that is.

    Again, you are attempting to apply your own criteria into an area that is not dependent on individual choice.

    And again, this applies to the civilian realm as well, so it shouldn't be a foreign concept.

    If a law set a speed limit at 40MPH, I can get a citation for travelling at any speed above that.

    The law isn't dependent on if I personally agree with the limit, or that I only consider speeding to apply at 80MPH or more.

  9. BenduHopkins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 7, 2004
    star 4
    Sometimes, you gotta take a stand, like the soldiers who are not going back to Iraq. What good does it do to tell someone to go kill when they think it's Murder. What's the point in punishing those soldiers? Because this Government knows it can't get enough people to fight any other way. That's a regime. I know that's the way it has been all along, and it isn't Bush's problem, but that's the way I see it.

    Any military that is actually protecting our country wouldn't need to use such tactics to get recruits. But when it is guaranteed you'll be sent to do something immoral, who's going to listen to that? I know I would get out if I was in there.
  10. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    That argument might hold up if we still had a system of conscription in place.

    However, that hasn't been true for 30 years.

    People voluntarily join the military. People voluntarily become teachers, and bankers, and lawyers.

    In fact, more specifically, after meeting the criteria, people even know exactly what job they are joining the military to do.

    The idea you are promoting is like a police officer, who happens to be an athetist, and refuses to investigate vandalism at a church.

    Or a fireman, who supports the black panthers, so he won't put out fires at homes of white people.

    Guess what? Personal opinion shouldn't trump the requirements in the above examples, just like personal opinions have to exist within the established criteria in the military.

    A person shouldn't become a police officer, and then be utterly surprised when he has to go arrest people.

    This concept applies to the military as well, and isn't that unreasonable.

    The problem you seem to be having is that you are only using you own perception, and ignoring the larger picture.







  11. BenduHopkins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 7, 2004
    star 4
    No, no, no, see, the penalty for quitting the police force is not death or 5 years in prison. The penalty for deserting during wartime is. A 17 year old kid who joined the military should not be held to a piece of paper he signed that he wasn't asked to read in the first place. That's what they do at the recruitment office. They say "sign here", fully aware you did not just read the fact that you can't get out even when your time is up. They can keep you for as long as they want, but that's not made clear in the recruiting station.

    You actually want to ask people to pull the trigger on folks who may or may not be defending themselves in the service of some ill-informed and highly controversial invasion, which has largely failed the test of righteousness in America and the world at large? Polls now show less than 50 percent support for the invasion. Why should so few be in control of the lives of so many? I really don't care what legal spin is put on it, laws can and will be changed when they conflict with the interests and the well being of the people they are trying to protect.
  12. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    A 17 year old kid who joined the military should not be held to a piece of paper he signed that he wasn't asked to read in the first place. That's what they do at the recruitment office. They say "sign here", fully aware you did not just read the fact that you can't get out even when your time is up. They can keep you for as long as they want, but that's not made clear in the recruiting station.

    Have you even served in the military?

    If not, I would suggest to you that wild speculation and demagoguery don't make strong arguments.

    Although "they" certainly form the basis for many conspiracy theories, don't "they?"
  13. BenduHopkins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 7, 2004
    star 4
    Sir, the military members in my family are not liars. Please rethink your accusations.
  14. J-Rod Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2004
    star 5
    Sir, I was a military member. I can say the experiance related by your family was not the same as mine.
  15. DeathStar1977 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 31, 2003
    star 4
    Mr44

    People voluntarily join the military. People voluntarily become teachers, and bankers, and lawyers.

    But people can also (for the most part) voluntarily leave those jobs as well, unlike the military.

    A person shouldn't become a police officer, and then be utterly surprised when he has to go arrest people.

    Agreed, and good analogy. I knew the risks when I joined, as did the other members of my family. Some of us ended up in far more dangerous situations than others...but thats the nature of the business, so to speak.

    TripleB hit the nail on the head in his first post on page one.
  16. darth_paul Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 24, 2000
    star 5
    A 17 year old kid who joined the military should not be held to a piece of paper he signed that he wasn't asked to read in the first place. That's what they do at the recruitment office. They say "sign here", fully aware you did not just read the fact that you can't get out even when your time is up. They can keep you for as long as they want, but that's not made clear in the recruiting station.
    No, the kid should absolutely be held to that piece of paper. If he signed, that meant he acknowledged and agreed to the terms; if he didn't read the terms, or if he didn't fully understand them and failed to ask for documented clarification, that's his own dumb fault, and, while I may feel a bit of sympathy, I certainly don't think he should be absolved of the consequences of having signed without doing his homework. You never sign a contract you haven't read and understood, and if you do, then you deserve whatever consequences come your way.

    But people can also (for the most part) voluntarily leave those jobs as well, unlike the military.
    That's true, but I don't think it makes a difference, because the paperwork must explain up-front that you can't just choose to leave (I'm assuming, anyway). There are all sorts of contracts that one might sign that have penalties for failing to meet the terms of the agreement, for example for quitting a job before it's finished. This is no different.

    -Paul
  17. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Sir, the military members in my family are not liars. Please rethink your accusations.

    Then I would suggest to you to have those family members actually show you an enlistment contract, and you can see the proof in the pudding.

    Because a lot of times, people will claim things like that to their friends and family, while glossing over their own role.

    Such as-"Dad, I don't know why that cop gave me a ticket in the family car" (omitting the fact that he was drag racing) OR

    "My recruiter really screwed me over" (when in reality, the person agreed to the terms.)

    First of all, a recruiter doesn't just throw an enlistee a 50 page contract, and yell "sign this!"

    Every page is detailed, and the enlistee has to initial the terms they agree to.

    Did the enlistee choose to join the artillery or finance? He has to initial.

    Did he join for 3, 4 or 5 years? He has to initial.

    Did the enlistee select a cash enlistment bonus instead of upgraded college benefits? He has to initial.

    Is the enlistee being sent to Ft Hood for training? He has to initial the reporting date and place.

    And so on.

    I'd be surprised if the enlistee doesn't supply his initials a dozen times before he finally signs the contract.

    Furthermore, if a person is only 17, their parents have to give permission for them to join.

    If you are telling me that not only didn't the enlistee read the contract, but his parents didn't read it either before giving permission, I don't know what to say. They need a refresher in basic life skills.

    Additionally, there are additional controls in place that the military uses, such as having a different person than the recruiter look over the contract, and requiring an oath of service.

    The military even tells the people, "If anyone has second thoughts, or concerns, step out before you take the oath of service."

    If the person still goes ahead and takes the oath, it's completely on them.
  18. BenduHopkins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 7, 2004
    star 4
    J-Rod,
    Having been a military member, how does it feel that you may be sent to Iraq? Don't you feel that you've paid your dues? Don't you feel frustrated that you are basically owned by the government? They can alter your destiny to the point of premature death in the name of this "terror" war, which is more fought by the other side as revolt and vengeance than in the name of any kind of terrorist operations.
  19. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    And Bendu, that's your other major misconception.

    The military doesn't "own you for life," you just have to be aware of the stipulations.

    The standard term of service is 8 years. That is explained in the contract.

    If a person only does 3 on active duty, they still have to fulfill the remaining 5 years in the active reserve, or the stand-by reserve.

    If a person seves 6 years on active duty, they only have 2 years in the reserve, continuing through the various time frames.

    Once that term is up, the individual's duty is fulfilled. The person can't be called up 10 years later just because at one time they served in the Navy.

    What you may be getting confused about are retirees.

    Since the military provides 100% of a service member's pension cost, those who do 20 years, and accept retirement pay, can be recalled at any time they are accepting pay, up until the mandated age (which I believe is 65)

    So for example- a person who joins at 17, does 20 years on active duty, (he'll be 37) and accepts full retirement pay, can be recalled between the ages of 37 and 65.

    Again, that's only for people who are drawing their pension from the military. It doesn't apply to everyone who may have served.


  20. BenduHopkins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 7, 2004
    star 4
    The contract states that even if you sign for 3 or 5 years or whatever, they still have the right to deny you exit from the military.

    That wasn't made clear in the office when the 3 people in my extended family signed up, and I don't think adults should trust kids to read the fine print, especially when they can easily observe that they have not.

    In the case that someone can't read or doesn't understand legal terms, is a pro-active effort made by the recruiters to make sure the person knows exactly what they are signing, in detail?
  21. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    In the case that someone can't read or doesn't understand legal terms, is a pro-active effort made by the recruiters to make sure the person knows exactly what they are signing, in detail?

    I take it you completely ignored my above post. Every detail is gone over, and the enlistee practically uses a pen's worth of ink with all of the initialing they do.

    Again? legal terms? The military enlistment contract is drawn up in langauge geared toward someone who has a high school education.

    Granted, that doesn't mean that everyone who signs it has high school level comprehension, or maybe it is just a commentary on the state of some school systems. I don't know.

    But individual responsibility has to fit in there somewhere. If a person doesn't understand something, they have to ask BEFORE they sign. It's a basic life rule.

    You can try and put all these conditions, and demand that a recruciter hand hold the person all the way through, but if a person initials something, the recruiter isn't going to know the person doesn't understand, unless the person brings it up.

    Bendu, I would really suggest you just read an enlistment contract if you can, and you can see for yourself.
  22. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    The contract states that even if you sign for 3 or 5 years or whatever, they still have the right to deny you exit from the military.

    Only under very strict circumstances. From the actual enlistment contract:
    10. MILITARY SERVICE OBLIGATION FOR ALL
    MEMBERS OF THE ACTIVE AND RESERVE COMPONENTS,
    INCLUDING THE NATIONAL GUARD.
    a. FOR ALL ENLISTEES: If this is my initial enlistment,
    I must serve a total of eight (8) years.
    Any part
    of that service not served on active duty must be served
    in a Reserve Component unless I am sooner discharged.
    b. If I am a member of a Reserve Component of an
    Armed Force at the beginning of a period of war or
    national emergency declared by Congress, or if I become
    a member during that period, my military service may be
    extended without my consent until six (6) months after
    the end of that period of war.
    c. As a member of a Reserve Component, in time of
    war or national emergency declared by the Congress, I
    may be required to serve on active duty (other than for
    training) for the entire period of the war or emergency
    and for six (6) months after its end.

    d. As a member of the Ready Reserve I may be
    required to perform active duty or active duty for
    training without my consent (other than as provided in
    item 8 of this document) as follows:
    (1) in time of national emergency declared by the
    President of the United States, I may be ordered to
    active duty (other than for training) for not more than
    24 consecutive months.

    (2) I may be ordered to active duty for 24
    months, and my enlistment may be extended so I can
    complete 24 months of active duty, if:
    (a) I am not assigned to, or participating satisfactorily
    in, a unit of the Ready Reserve; and
    (b) I have not met my Reserve obligation; and
    (c) I have not served on active duty for a total of
    24 months.
    (3) I may be ordered to perform additional active
    duty training for not more than 45 days if I have not
    fulfilled my military service obligation and fail in any
    year to perform the required training duty satisfactorily.
    If the failure occurs during the last year of
    my required membership in the Ready Reserve, my
    enlistment may be extended until I perform that
    additional duty, but not for more than six months.
    (4) When determined by the President that it is
    necessary to support any operational mission, I may be
    ordered to active duty as prescribed by law, if I am a
    member of the Selected Reserve.
    11. FOR ENLISTEES/REENLISTEES IN THE NAVY,
    MARINE CORPS, OR COAST GUARD: I understand
    that if I am serving on a naval vessel in foreign
    waters, and my enlistment expires, I will be returned
    to the United States for discharge as soon as possible
    consistent with my desires. However, if essential to
    the public interest, I understand that I may be retained
    on active duty until the vessel returns to the United
    States. If I am retained under these circumstances, I
    understand I will be discharged not later than 30 days
    after my return to the United States; and, that except
    in time of war, I will be entitled to an increase in basic
    pay of 25 percent from the date my enlistment expires
    to the date of my discharge.
    These are all very clear things. The contract isn't all that long. It's only 4 pages (PDF file), most of which are for you to write in your information. Page 2 outlines the agreements that you are making under law, and contains the text that I quoted.

    Kimball Kinnison

    EDIT: And here's the part where the individual signs. Note carefully the statement that they are signing:
    I CERTIFY THAT I HAVE CAREFULLY READ THIS DOCUMENT. ANY QUESTIONS I HAD WERE EXPLAINED TO MY
    SATISFACTION.
    I FULLY UNDERSTAND THAT ONLY THOSE AGREEMENTS IN SECTION B OF THIS DOCUMENT OR
    RECORDED ON THE ATTACHED ANNEX(ES) WILL BE HONORED. ANY OTHER PROMISES OR GUARANTEES MADE TO
    ME BY ANYONE ARE WRITTEN BELOW
  23. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Excellent. That's the exact contract.

    So, the next time someone from an "extended family" makes the claim that their recruiter screwed them over, we can all ask them:

    "Really, if that was the case, why did you willingly initial next to the box that says I have agreed to these terms, and nothing anyone else has promised me is valid"

    The contract isn't written in ancient Aramaic, which requires a PhD in ancient langauges to decipher. For the most part, it simply requires the person to fill in their enlistment terms, and agree to them.

    But again, like with anything, a person achieves the best results when they do some prior research, and ask for clarification for things they don't understand.

  24. BenduHopkins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 7, 2004
    star 4
    Going forward, I think it will be very clear to people that they will not be allowed to leave when their time is up. My Brother In-Law Father In-Law and Sister In-Law all signed when they were young, before 9-11, and before the unneccesary invasion in Iraq overstretched the military and made it clear to the world that they won't let anyone leave. The Brother in-law has been in since he was 17. He is now 22 or 23 (forget which). He was due out June 1st, but they put a stop gap on all people due to leave after May 28th. He just had a little baby and he and his wife could both be sent, even though she has had an honorable discharge. He'll go, as he's very obedient. Its the only life he really knows. As for his wife (my wife's sister), I'd hate to see them send her too, even after being given discharged. They could raise their baby so well, but it seems they might not have the opportunity.

    Emotions run high over these things, and I am saying that its not always clear in the recruiting station that you're signing indefinitely. It wasn't to them, and if you want to dismiss them as stupid, then that's not really fair. Recruiters do "sell" people the idea of joining, and although it is all there on paper, I don't think I can blame a child for being confused, skipping parts, or just trusting the officers who told them they'd be out in the amount of time they signed up for. Many people who join the military do so because they are immature, uneducated, directionless, poor, sometimes illiterate, or without a strong family support. Not all, but many. And science shows that the 17 year old brain is still developing, therefore if they change their mind, its hardly their fault.

    I don't think its right to kill or imprison these people who want out if their adult judgement tells them they made the wrong decision.

    I'm making some points that you people don't want to listen to or give any credence to, and all you always do is hide behind cold legalities without immersing yourselves in the process of human reasoning. I am a person that believes that individual human rights should be protected, and you are people who think that the Iraq invasion is worth forcing people against their will to shoot and kill innocent people and put themselves in the line of fire, when they quite logically conclude that it is immoral, based on every established set of morals in existence.
  25. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    But you're not signing "indefinately."

    Secondly, the average age of new elistees joining the military is just above 19, almost 20.

    Only 6% of enlistees joining are 17, and 30% of all new enlistees are above 21.

    And if I am reading this correctly, the mean age for those currently serving in the military is 27.

    HERE

    The Marine Corps tends to be younger, the services with technical offerings tend to be older.

    There simply isn't an influx of scared 17 year olds joining the military.

    If that's the case, at what age do you think people should be capable of signing and/or understanding a basic contract? 19-20-21-or 30?

    Finally, what you are also failing to address is that there are many legal ways out of the military, if you follow the procedure.

    True, going AWOL, or deserting your post in times of war are crimes. But they certainly don't represent the only ways out of the military.

    A soldier can go to his Chaplain and explain that he is experiencing family difficulties, and request a discharge, for example. It may take a couple of months, but it happens if you work within the system.

    The issue here is that you seem to try and make reality bend to your sole perception. I've noticed this in your other posts as well.





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