Posted by: quiscus | November 14, 2010

November 14, 2010

1.  “The War is Illegal: Military Oath of Office and Unlawful Orders


The military oath taken at the time of induction or commissioning reads:

“I,____________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to the regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God”

There is…considerable evidence that Bush’s plans are fundamentally illegal, from both an international and domestic perspective. If the war is indeed illegal, members of the armed forces have a legal and moral obligation to resist illegal orders, according to their oath of induction.


The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) 809.ART.90 (20), makes it clear that military personnel need to obey the “lawful command of his superior officer,” 891.ART.91 (2), the “lawful order of a warrant officer”, 892.ART.92 (1) the “lawful general order”, 892.ART.92 (2) “lawful order”. In each case, military personnel have an obligation and a duty to only obey Lawful orders and indeed have an obligation to disobey Unlawful orders, including orders by the president that do not comply with the UCMJ. The moral and legal obligation is to the U.S. Constitution and not to those who would issue unlawful orders, especially if those orders are in direct violation of the Constitution and the UCMJ”

2.  “Democrats and the rule of law

But now, it appears Obama isn’t even merely putting Mohammed “in a military tribunal,” but far worse, simply imprisoning him indefinitely with no process at all, based on the same “war” theories that Bush and Cheney used to defend the same policy, to such great controversy and outrage.  Indeed, the claimed power to put people in cages basically for life without charging them with any crimes, even though they were captured far from any real “battlefield,” was the crux of the Bush/Cheney civil liberties assault.


But what I’m interested in for the moment are those who defended Holder’s decision last year on the ground that civilian trials were compelled by the Constitution, the rule of law and our values.  I still vividly recall what happened when Obama reversed himself on the issue of complying with court orders to release torture photos.  When he originally announced that he would release those photos, virtually every Democrat and liberal defended him from the Liz-Cheney/Bill-Kristol-led right-wing attacks by insisting that such transparency was crucial for our democratic values.  But when Obama reversed himself two weeks later and announced that he would conceal these photos, many Democrats reversed right along with him and suddenly began arguing what Cheney and Kristol had been saying two weeks earlier:  that concealment of the photos was justified by the imperative of National Security and Protecting Our Troops (I asked many times but never got an answer:  was there a single Democrat who defended Obama’s ultimate concealment of those photos who, based on their pro-concealment reasoning, had joined with Kristol and Cheney in criticizing Obama’s original decision to release them?).


Obviously, those who screamed bloody murder over Bush/Cheney Terrorism policies but now justify or at least acquiesce to the same policies when implemented by Obama have serious issues with partisan loyalties trumping honest advocacy.  But it’s when the Obama administration reverses itself — such as with the torture photos — that one’s intellectual honesty is most conclusively tested:  one’s beliefs and principles can’t shift with Obama’s reversals if they’re to be meaningful or credible.  The same issue applies here:  shouldn’t anyone who defended Holder’s original decision on the ground that it was compelled by the Constitution, the rule of law and our values now vocally denounce Obama for his profound violations of those same doctrines?  If the Obama administration merited praise last November for upholding the Constitution, the rule of law and our values with civilian trials, then it must be true that they’re now violating the Constitution, the rule of law and our values by denying them.  Isn’t that a rather serious offense?”


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