Men and women in uniform swear an oath to protect and defend the US Constitution against all enemies, foreign and DOMESTIC. Military training includes the command that Americans do not follow unlawful orders; they must be refused and action taken within legal authority to end them. The US Constitution clearly states in Article Six:
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
Among the most important treaties is the UN Charter; a Treaty in Force under US law, enacted after two global wars that bind all nations to only defensive wars against other nations that have attacked. This simple rule, more simple than many rules in sports we master in understanding, does not include an attack upon a nation from allegations that a resident within a country initiated a terror attack.
The US invasion is unlawful also because the UN Security Council resolved on September 12, 2001 in Resolution 1373 to “remain seized of the matter,” that is, to take jurisdiction of policy. The US is bound therefore from military action:
"…the Council decided that States should afford one another the greatest measure of assistance for criminal investigations or criminal proceedings relating to the financing or support of terrorist acts…the Council called on all States to intensify and accelerate the exchange of information regarding terrorist actions or movements…States were also called on to exchange information and cooperate to prevent and suppress terrorist acts and to take action against the perpetrators of such acts. States should become parties to, and fully implement as soon as possible, the relevant international conventions and protocols to combat terrorism….“Recognizing the need for States to complement international cooperation by taking additional measures to prevent and suppress, in their territories through all lawful means…Afford one another the greatest measure of assistance in connection with criminal investigations or criminal proceedings relating to the financing or support of terrorist acts, including assistance in obtaining evidence in their possession necessary for the proceedings…Find ways of intensifying and accelerating the exchange of operational information…Exchange information in accordance with international and domestic law and cooperate on administrative and judicial matters…Cooperate, particularly through bilateral and multilateral arrangements and agreements…Increase cooperation and fully implement the relevant international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism…Take appropriate measures in conformity with the relevant provisions of national and international law…Decides to remain seized of this matter."
Previous Americans fought in World War 2 to forever prevent future Wars of Aggression. It was this war that forged the London Charter, also known as the Nuremberg Principles, another US Treaty in Force, that provides the basis for US military training that Americans must never “just follow orders.” Specifically under Principle IV:
"The fact that a person 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".
Although the preceding is sufficient to come to the painful realization that the majority of Congress and several US Presidents have and are issuing unlawful orders, there’s more:
The Afghan campaign includes evidence of unprosecuted torture and indefinite imprisonment, both violations of the Geneva Convention.
The US supports an unlawfully elected government in Afghanistan according to expert testimony of US representative to the UN monitoring the Afghan election Peter Galbraith, US Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eickenberry, and Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, the British Ambassador to Afghanistan.
By their own admission of accounting, the US Department of Defense “loses” trillions of our tax dollars and will not investigate the loss. This is criminal in scope and cover-up.
According to the CIA, civilian military command refused to end the alleged but unlawful reason for war by capturing Osama bin Laden in 2001.
The Afghan government volunteered to assist the US with extradition of Osama bin Laden upon presentation of any evidence of guilt of any crime. President Bush, Commander in Chief of the US military, unlawfully refused to provide evidence and unlawfully dictated: "There's no need to discuss innocence or guilt. We know he's guilty." Following UN Security Resolution for lawful action made any military action by President Bush illegal.
The Iraq campaign is equally unlawful (here and here).
President Obama has escalated an unlawful US war in Afghanistan with orders for 30,000 more troops. While it might appear easy for an academic like me to list reasons in an article, it is up to the men and women in the military to make the difficult decision if their orders are lawful or not. Those who see the orders as unlawful who have the intellectual integrity and moral courage to engage their authority to refuse can expect their good-faith ethical action to be met with contempt, denial of serious discussion on legal basis for those orders, threats, punishment, and ultimately court martial.
If a counter-argument is attempted, Congressional authorization will be pointed to. Congress has no authority under the UN Charter to authorize a non-defensive war. UN Security Council authorizing of international assistance in Afghanistan AFTER US invasion might be pointed to. This does not change the unlawful invasion and cover-up of a War of Aggression that should be settled first, especially entering the 9th year of covering-up the crime.
It might be helpful to recall that Abraham Lincoln also stood against a US President for an unlawful invasion. Please take a few moments and read what George Washington asked you to do regarding unlawful orders. Please read the Founding Fathers' words of warning that Americans must have courage to stand against unlawful orders or we would lose our freedoms to tyrants under false claims of national security.
Here is my hub article listing my articles relevant to unlawful war in Afghanistan.
My policy recommendation has two prongs:
1.US military, law enforcement, and government officials should honor their oath to defend the US Constitution and refuse and end unlawful orders related to unlawful wars according to their legal authority for action. Oath Keepers is a leading organization for this idea.
2.Truth and Reconciliation should exchange full disclosure and ending of all unlawful and harmful acts for non-prosecution.
Below is a 15-second reminder that Mr. Obama lied about ending current wars during his campaign, and two powerful videos from PuppetGov.