Saturday, October 06, 2007

Ramrod on the Soldier's Code of Conduct

Once again, over at Manolo's Free Burma thread, as a response to commenter Bencard (a semi-retired Fil-Am lawyer) who said, among others things, that...

"i don’t think its a prerogative of a soldier to JUDGE the constitutionality or legality of an order from the chain of command. if each of the members of the armed forces is allowed to do so, imagine the chaos that would result, ultimately resulting in each turning their weapons against one another, each claiming that he is merely following the soldier’s code of conduct."
...commenter Ramrod, who i understand has a military background, pens this gem:

"The first pledge in the soldier’s code of conduct is tho defend the constitution, following the chain of command is only 3rd.

You don’t need to wait for the supreme court to tell you that shooting innocent civilians is against the constitution and this is above the chain of command. (This is a lot different from defending yourselves against a violent mob out to bust your skulls). This was crafted as such as to prevent the chain of command to be subverted to be blind obedience.

The decisions of these officers to withdraw their support did not just come out of the blue like they just woke up one day and said “hmmmm, I think I’ll withdraw my support today.” All these issues were discussed, debated, and if you know about military intel these guys had had them - they know the truth. You don’t wait for the supreme court to tell you this is wrong or this is immoral - you know, they did, all the intel was right in front of them. Put yourself in their shoes and choose, to defend the constitution (I know something there says something about election rigging) or follow the chain of command blindly.

The chaos that you’re referring to refers to combat situations wherein the unit crumbles if orders are not followed like “take cover!” and these guys go “what for?” and get shot in the heads. These are professional soldiers, men with integrity, their men look up to them, respect them, and would follow them to their deaths if need be. That alone should speak volumes about the credibility of these officers.

Then again if we hide behind legality, this is a foregone conclusion, your line of argument will justify the perpetuation of corruption and despotism cleverly rationalized by people who can use the law to their selfish ends. This was a judgment call, one that meant career suicide on one end and debasing your integrity on the other, they chose the former. I don’t know about you but this was not the glorious end I had in mind for these soldiers who risked their lives for us, they deserve better. You and I may hide in the gray areas of legality but can you turn a blind eye to the truth just because nobody told you that its wrong?


MBW said...

Hi Chuck,

There’s a list of things that people can do to help the Burmese people on

OK, ideas really right off the bat…

It occurred to me after reading the list in The First Post that we actually could adopt the same things, tactics to bring down Esperon (well, at least we can try) so I transposed the things to do listed in The First Post on what Filipinos can do to help our incarcerated officers (if only morally):

PROTEST actions: international and local actions (am not suggesting physical rallies) to free our incarcerated officers –suggestions open, eg, wear a pin like “Free our officers” or post a page on your blog with “Mister Esperon, Free the Officers” or something like that (dunno, there must be a better slogan), etc etc. to show solidarity with our incarcerated officers…

PESTER THE EMBASSY: for those who are expats, pester your Philippine Defence Attache embassy by sending e-mails or faxes calling on Mister Esperon to free incarcerated officers (give names)

TARGET GLORIA: by sending a fax or e-mail or letter to Malacanang, the DFA, DND or to the Ambassador in your region.

SIGN A PETITION: Start a petition campaign on line

SUPPORT A PRESSURE GROUP: The Senate, Congress, and human Rights Group to pressure Mr Esperon to free the incarcerated officers

KNOW YOUR ENEMY: The AFP and the DND must have websites containing reports lies (sic). See if you can hack into them (websites).

Cheers my dear friend!

cvj said...

Hi Anna, thanks for the list. I'd be interested in joining a pressure group for this purpose. Would you know if such a group already exists?

Unknown said...

Hi Chuck,

You asking about RP pressure group in RP or Burma's?

For Burma, they are outlined in The First Post article link I included in the first message.

For RP: I thought could be supporters of the incarcerated officers in the Senate, eg, Biazon, Madrigal, Lacson, et al.

cvj said...

Anna, thanks. I was asking about the pressure group for the latter. I'm aware of the people commenting over at Ellen's, but so far, i don't know if any formal advocacy exists.