Thursday, February 9, 2012

Discussion: “Fighting For Our Freedom”

Why do people say the military is fighting for our freedom when we lose more of our freedom the longer they’re fighting?


  1. Good one! Every war it's a "fight for our freedom" and we must "support the troops". The great point you make is that not only do we lose these wars (they were "fighting for our freedom", God only knows how, in Vietnam as well) but war always is accompianed by a loss of civil liberties at home.

    Some way to fight for our freedom!

  2. Replies
    1. Not trying to be confrontational, but specifically what civil libraries do we lose when we go to war that we have when we are not at war?

      Also, it sounds like you are blaming the military for decisions to go to war, but you should blame the politicians. They are the ones who make the decision to go to war.

    2. What civil liberties do we lose when we go to war? I dunno... the writ of habeas corpus, the right to unwarranted search and seizure, freedom to associate with whoever we wish, freedom of information, right to a speedy public trial, the right to not be tortured...

      Take your pick. When we go to war, people seem willing to give up any and all of their liberties, and they frequently do.

      And I will blame the military, because they are constantly saying they are defending our freedoms, though they aren't, they chose to become part of a murderous gang, and they do nothing to stand up for our actual freedoms. I do blame politicians for their part, but the military deserves no free pass for their crimes. No one cares if they're "just following orders." The Nuremberg defense is no defense at all.

  3. Bret,

    I’ve noticed that in several of your posts you have mentioned that the Nuremburg defense is not an adequate defense for members of the military to justify their actions. However, I don’t know if you fully understand what the Nuremburg defense is. As you know, the Nuremburg defense refers to the Nuremburg trials where members of the Nazi party were tried and convicted for their crimes during the Second World War. And at that trial the defendants tried to argue that they could not be held accountable for their actions since they were following the orders of their superior officers and government leadership. At the Nuremburg trials it was established that this argument was invalid. Essentially, members of the military have a moral and legal obligation to refuse to carry out an illegal order.

    There is a significant difference between the crimes that the Nazi’s were being tried for at Nuremburg and the actions of U.S., or any nation’s soldiers, during a war. The difference is that the crimes the Nazi’s were tried for were illegal under international law, or for some of the other crimes which were not officially on the books at the time, they were generally considered as being immoral and illegal in the international community. However, U.S. soldiers killing enemy combatants in battle overseas is not in any way illegal, nor is there any international consensus that it should be. Killing enemy combatants is legal under both international law (the Geneva Convention), and domestic law (Title 10). Furthermore, the Uniformed Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) requires any soldier or officer to refuse to carry out an order that is illegal or unconstitutional. Quite simply, U.S. soldiers don’t need to use the “Nuremburg defense” to justify killing enemy soldiers because it is both legal and considered morally just.

    1. So the indefinite detention and torture of human beings (aka "enemey combantants") or other actions which are in direct violation of the Geneva Conventions... those are justified because they're just "following orders?"

    2. No certainly not. I think that the USA Patriot Act and other executive orders which have given the military the authority to indefinitely detain terrorist suspects, and the authority to transfer terrorist suspects arrested in the U.S. over to military custody do violate U.S. laws and moral norms. And I think that the use of certain interrogation techniques such as water boarding do qualify as torture and should not be used. And any U.S. soldier that does violate the Geneva Convention should be held accountable. BUT… In your posts you have been referring to the entire range of activities that U.S. soldiers are involved in overseas, to include the use of force against enemy combatants. My point is that actions such as those, i.e. a U.S. soldier killing a Taliban insurgent during combat, or a plane dropping bombs on an enemy target during combat, don’t need the “Nuremberg Defense” because they are not illegal.

    3. That is the most pathetic justification for crimes against humanity I ever heard.

    4. How is a soldier, killing an enemy soldier, in battle, a crime against humanity? It's just not.

      And what kind of a world would we live in if it was? Imagine a soldier in combat being fired on by an enemy and he says, "well, i would like to fire back so I don't get killed, but according to the Bret Alan law, that's a crime against humanity so I can't."

      If the U.S. was to adopt your definition of a crime against humanity it would render everything the military does illegal, and the military would have to be disbanded. Now, this might work if everybody in the world could abide by this now and for all time. But you must admit that this is not even a remote possibility. Are you so confident in the good will and high moral standards of every other nation or non-government organization that you are willing to risk criminalizing and disbanding the military?

    5. Nice strawman.

      See my previous comments and perhaps remember what I'm actually talking about.

    6. You can't strawman when you've strawmaned!

      See my previous post and you might see that I agreed with you that indefinite detention, torture or any other illegal act are not justifiable by the Nuremberg defense. Again, it is the other, legal actions that the military engages in which the Nuremberg defense does not apply to. That is what you appeared to be referring to when you said "That is the most pathetic justification for crimes against humanity I ever heard."

    7. You tried to explain what are most certainly war crimes in violation of the Geneva Conventions as acceptable because we passed the PATRIOT ACT, which highly unconstitutional, morally objectionable, and internationally illegal. I then said your argument was piss poor, and you claimed I was saying soldiers can't fire on the enemy...

      Do you have syphilis or something? I'm not trying to insult you, I'm just trying to understand where you're coming from here, and mental illness is the only place I can think of.



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