“We the People Refuse to Fight”: Abandon the Battlefield!

Disobey Unlawful Orders

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This article was first written in June 2004.
 
On the Third anniversary of the illegal invasion of Iraq, the Antiwar movement is calling upon the Bush Administration to “Bring the Troops Home Now”.  

“Bring the Troops Home Now” is a strong yet ambiguous statement because it accepts the legitimacy of the Commander in Chief who has the authority to make that decision.

The war is illegal and criminal. Irrespective of the Commander in Chief’s decision, US and coalition troops have a moral and legal obligation to “Abandon the Battlefield” and we must make that choice possible for individual servicemen and women.

“Abandon the Battlefield” rejects the legitimacy of the Commander in Chief.  

It denies the Bush administration the authority to conduct an illegal and criminal war on behalf of the citizenry.

What it says, is that “We the People Refuse to Fight” in a war which violates international law and the US Constitution.

Michel Chossudovsky, 18 March 2006

“Throughout the history of mankind there have been murderers and tyrants; and while it may seem momentarily that they have the upper hand, they have always fallen.” (Mahatma Gandhi)

The United States has discarded pretensions to international legality and decency, and embarked on a course of raw imperialism run amok.” (William Rockler, Nuremberg Tribunal prosecutor)

This war is criminal. It violates the Nuremberg Charter, the US constitution and the UN charter. according to Lawrence Mosqueda, US Troops have a “Duty to Disobey All Unlawful Orders”.

(Mosqueda, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/MOS303A.html)

The military oath taken at the time of induction demands unbending support and allegiance to the US Constitution, while also demanding that US troops obey orders from their President and Commander in Chief: 

“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”

The President and Commander in Chief has blatantly violated all tenets of domestic and international law. So that making an oath to “obey orders from the President” is tantamount to violating rather than defending the US Constitution.

According to Lawrence Mosqueda:

“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.”

(Mosqueda, op cit,  http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/MOS303A.html )

The Commander in Chief is a war criminal. According to Principle 6 of the Nuremberg Charter:

“The fact that a person [e.g. Coalition troops]  acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.”

GI Movement

Let us make that  “moral choice” possible, to enlisted American, British, Canadian and Coalition servicemen and women. 

Disobey unlawful orders! Abandon the battlefield! …

Refuse to fight in a war which blatantly violates international law and the US Constitution!

But this is not a choice which enlisted men and women can make individually.

It is a collective and societal choice, which requires an organizational structure.

Across the land in the US, Britain, Canada and in all coalition countries, the anti-war movement must assist enlisted men and women to make that moral choice possible, to abandon the battlefield in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This will not be an easy task. Committees at local levels must be set up across the United States, Canada, Britain, Italy, Japan and other countries, which have troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

These committees should provide protection, support and legal council to soldiers who refuse to fight and who face the possibility of prison sentences for desertion, as in the case of Sergeant Camilo Mejia, who was sentenced by a military court in May:

 “I sit here a free man… I will sit behind bars a free man because I did the right thing,” said Mejia.

When service men and women come home, we must ensure that they are not obliged to return to the war theater. We must engage a process which protects them from court martial.

We call upon veterans’ associations and local communities to support this process.

This movement needs to dismantle the disinformation campaign. It must effectively reverse the indoctrination of coalition troops, who are led to believe that they are fighting “a just war”:  “a war against terrorists”.

The legitimacy of the US military authority must be broken.

The Bush Administration must learn the lessons of history. The Iraqi and Afghan people are waging a struggle to oust the US invaders. And that resistance is winning. Ultimately, the only solution is for the American, British and coalition occupiers to withdraw. 

Coalition nations should follow the example of the Spanish government of Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, which has withdrawn its troops from Iraq.

The anti-war movement must question the legitimacy not only of the Bush administration and its indefectible British ally, but also of all those governments, which directly support or pay lip service to the US-led military occupation.


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About the author:

Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author, Professor of Economics (emeritus) at the University of Ottawa, Founder and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), Montreal, Editor of Global Research.  He has taught as visiting professor in Western Europe, Southeast Asia, the Pacific and Latin America. He has served as economic adviser to governments of developing countries and has acted as a consultant for several international organizations. He is the author of eleven books including The Globalization of Poverty and The New World Order (2003), America’s “War on Terrorism” (2005), The Global Economic Crisis, The Great Depression of the Twenty-first Century (2009) (Editor), Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War (2011), The Globalization of War, America's Long War against Humanity (2015). He is a contributor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica.  His writings have been published in more than twenty languages. In 2014, he was awarded the Gold Medal for Merit of the Republic of Serbia for his writings on NATO's war of aggression against Yugoslavia. He can be reached at [email protected]

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