by Thomas Gaist, Global Research
As previous segments have noted, key conceptions advanced in the Pentagon’s Law of War Manual amount to little more than a rehash of authoritarian legal theories upheld by the Nazi regime and other fascist governments.
The Department of Defense (DOD) manual’s protocols for enforcing the law of war and establishing the legality of military orders fall into this category, bearing an eerie resemblance to the doctrine asserted by the main defendants at the Nuremberg Tribunal—that they were “just following orders.” In flat contradiction to the principles upheld at Nuremberg, subordinates are instructed to “presume” that commands are lawfully issued and are granted sweeping immunity from responsibility for war crimes committed under orders from the military brass.
US military personnel are instructed and trained to regard orders emanating from the command unit as legal by default, the DOD manual states. The document states: “Subordinates, absent specific knowledge to the contrary, may presume orders to be lawful. The acts of a subordinate done in compliance with an unlawful order given by a superior are generally excused.” (P. 1,148)
“Except in such instances of palpable illegality, which must be of rare occurrence, the inferior should presume that the order was lawful and authorized and obey it accordingly,” one footnote declares, citing Winthrop Military Law and Precedents in defense of this position. (P. 1,058f)…
In addition to its international significance, the Law of War Manual summarizes and integrates plans for mass repression and martial law within the US itself that have been developed since the late 1960s by the US Defense Department in direct response to the political radicalization of the working class and layers of the middle class.
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