When we see in the news that another former Nazi is on trial for “war crimes”, (like he was a former guard in a concentration camp or whatever), very often we hear their defense that they “were only following orders”. We as a society say, “That’s not good enough”.
My question is, why isn’t that good enough?
I was never in the military service, but are you free to pick and choose what orders you will obey? I thought that if your commanding officer tells you to do something, you do it, period.
If your commanding officer says go over by that tree and kill the enemy; you aren’t free to say, “Gee, I think this is wrong. I don’t think I’ll be doing that today”. I would imagine you would be in a heap of trouble if you said that.
So if “I was only following orders” is not a defense, what procedure should they have followed 60 years ago to avoid trouble?