Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Over at the Geeks

I was just surfing over at the Geek's place and found this post. The pertinent part is here:
I received this in comments this morning, and am pursuing for confirmation and details:

My buddy Captain G, Oklahoma Guard, was activated and sent to N.O. His unit was tasked to "keep the peace" in a not-so-nice ward. I talk to him every other day or so, and let me tell you, he is mightily pissed off about this. He has been for 12 days now confiscating firearms from ALL but CCP folks. Did y'all get that? The F'n federal government is taking guns from law abiding citizens in the very moment of their greatest need! I looked for hours today online and found nothing about this, nor have I seen ANYTHING from the MSM since the Wednesday after the storm hit (big surprise). Why is everyone not totally frigging apeshit about this?
This may well be a troll at work, and the Geek considers this possibility. The other possibility is that confiscations continue. Most reports I have is that the firearms confiscations are over. The NRA and others are actively seeking plaintiffs for one hell of a civil suit.

I hate to take credit for the suit idea, but I believe I blogged it first, here.

However, now might be an opportune time to discuss the relative merits of the quoted paragraph, above. The Guardsman is identified as a Captain, and if he is, he knows that he has an obligation to directly challenge an unlawful order. Sometimes orders are given that are unlawful, either through ignorance or stupidity. The officer receiving an unlawful order has a moral obligation to directly question the order.

The conversation might go like this:

Colonel: "Captain, I want you to take your men and go do such-and-such."

Captain: "Sir, with respect, I wish you would reconsider that order. I believe it violates the law. (or Constitution.. fill in the blanks yourself)

Colonel, ire rising: "Captain, are you telling me that the order I just gave you is illegal?"

Captain: "Yes sir, I believe it to be, and I wish you would reconsider. If you won't reconsider, I would request to be given the order in writing, so that when charges are filed, I can mount a legal defense."

At this point the Colonel will probably blow a gasket, throw the Captain out of the office, and try to figure out just what the hell went wrong. I have had this conversation once in my twenty year career in the service of Uncle Sam (three active, 18 reserve, called for Desert Storm), and I have heard the conversation twice. Each time, the superior officer checked his facts, rescinded the order and apologized in private to the Captain.

Colonels are career oriented, and sure as hell don't want to get caught in giving an order that might lead to a Courts Martial.

However, the Captain in the story above has serious legal difficulties, both in a civil sense and in a career sense. Captains know to a moral certainty that the "just following orders" defense died at Nuremburg, and at My Lai. Captains also know that giving an illegal order to their soldiers makes them culpable on the same scale as the Colonel is, for giving the order. The Captain has a moral responsibility to do the right thing, not withstanding the point that he has violated his oath to "protect and defend the Consititution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic".

In an officers life, that oath comes first.


geekWithA.45 said...

I suspect the chain of command might be FUBARED, as the NG units might be under the command and control of NOPD.

I just don't know yet.

Pawpaw said...

Even if the chain of command is TARFU, the officers have a responsibility to do the right thing.

However, with Russ Honore on the scene, I doubt the Chain of Command is in question.

Jeff said...

Right on, PawPaw! Good post!

Anonymous said...

A co-worker suggested that if martial law was declared, it is possible that the 2nd amendment is no longer valid.
This is just the speculation of some engineers. I don't pretend to know.