US Armed Forces and Law Enforcement: You May Be Given an Unlawful Order

The US Armed Forces Enlistment Oath applies to all branches, except National Guard [that has its own oath]. …

I [NAME], 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 regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

For the National Guard, which is a state militia …

I, [NAME], do solemnly swear or affirm that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the State of [STATE NAME] 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 Governor of [STATE NAME] and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to the law and regulations.

In accordance with federal law, Title 10, Section 502, and Army Regulation 601-210, the words traditionally at the end of the oath are: So help me God – and optional.

Federal law requires that everyone who enlists or reenlists in the Armed Forces of the United States must take the enlistment oath. A commissioned officer, who asks the person enlisting or reenlisting to raise their right hand and repeat the oath after him, administers the oath. The oath is performed in front of the United States flag and other flags such as the state flag, military branch flag, or the unit guidon.

When an person has been elected to the office of the President of the United States, who is also the commander-in-chief of US armed forces, the following oath is given on the day of inaugural:

I do solemnly swear or affirm that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

All members of Congress and federal employees must take the following oath:

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; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter.

Once again, the words So help me God are optional in all cases. The choice to used the word swear or affirm is also the option of the oath taker. Just as military inductees, the President, Congress, and federal employees in public office raise their right hand and repeat the oath of office. No religious texts are used, although a Bible or other holy/sacred religious book may be used when the person takes the oath, at their request. The congressional oath of office extended after the Civil War to ensure that those in Congress understand their obligations.

Military members of the US armed forces who fail to obey the lawful orders of their superiors risk serious consequences. Article 90, UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice) declares it a crime for a military member to willfully disobey a superior commissioned officer. Article 91 makes it a crime to willfully disobey a superior Noncommissioned or Warrant Officer. Article 92 makes it a crime to disobey any lawful order, with the willful part left out.

When at war, under Article 90, a military member who willfully disobeys a superior commissioned officer can be sentenced to death.

So what happens if a superior gives an order that is not according to the Constitution or laws of the UCMJ or the Geneva Accords Convention? Those articles require obedience to lawful orders and every recruit during basic training is taught this.

An unlawful order not only does not need to be obeyed, but if one obeyed an unlawful order because a superior gave it or intimidated those who refused to obey, criminal prosecution will result in anyone obeying the unlawful order. Military courts have long held, as few military units in other nations do, that military members are accountable for their actions even when following orders if that order is illegal. That means that constitutional law must be followed, articles of the UCMJ, as well as the Geneva Convention regarding prisoners of war and unarmed civilians.

The defense by many Nazi military members during trials for war crimes was I was only following orders. It never was conceded as defense during the Nuremburg trials.

Believe it or not, the first unlawful order given was to a naval officer by President John Adams in 1799. [NOTE: reference has no source] …

During the War with France, Congress passed a law making it permissible to seize ships bound to any French Port. However, when President John Adams wrote the order to authorize the U.S. Navy to do so, he wrote that Navy ships were authorized to seize any vessel bound for a French port, or traveling from a French port. Pursuant to the President’s instructions, a U.S. Navy captain seized a Danish Ship (the Flying Fish), which was en route from a French Port. The owners of the ship sued the Navy captain in U.S. maritime court for trespass. They won, and the United States Supreme Court upheld the decision. The U.S. Supreme Court held that Navy commanders “act at their own peril” when obeying presidential orders when such orders are illegal.

During the Vietnam War in military court cases the words I was only following orders was used, more than any other previous war in United States history. In United States v. Keenan, the guilty verdict of murder was upheld and the Court of Military Appeals held that …

…the justification for acts done pursuant to orders does not exist if the order was of such nature that a man of ordinary sense and understanding would know it to be illegal.

Shooting an elderly, unarmed civilian is murder whether committed during war or martial law. Interesting to note, Keenan who committed the crime was found guilty of murder, but the Corporal Luczko, who gave the unlawful order, was acquitted by reason of insanity.

The most infamous case of atrocity in the Vietnam War was the My Lai Massacre that occurred on March 16th, 1968. The military court rejected 1Lt Calley’s plea that he was obeying orders of his superiors and was sentenced to life in prison in 1971. Public outcry over the controversial trial convinced President Nixon to grant him clemency and he was released after serving three and one half years.

The infamous mistreatment of prisoners in Iraq incident in 2004, where several members on trial stated they were following the orders of intelligence officials did not work either. The mistreatment of prisoners is a crime under international law (Geneva Convention) and the UCMJ under Article93 – Cruelty and Maltreatment.

Now, here is the conundrum … a military member who disobeys an order, lawful or unlawful, does so at his or her peril. It is important that the military courts recognize the order as unlawful, not perceived by the individual disobeying the order. US Military website provides an example:

Take the case of Michael New. In 1995, Spec-4 Michael New was serving with the 1/15 Battalion of the 3rd infantry Division of the U.S. Army at Schweinfurt, Germany. When assigned as part of a multi-national peacekeeping mission about to be deployed to Macedonia, Spec-4 New and the other soldiers in his unit were ordered to wear United Nations (U.N.) Helmets and arm bands. New refused the order, contending that it was an illegal order. New’s superiors disagreed. Ultimately, so did the court-martial panel. New was found guilty of disobeying a lawful order and sentenced to a bad conduct discharge. The Army Court of Criminal Appeals upheld the conviction, as did the Court of Appeals of the Armed Forces.

There was nothing illegal for superiors to order troops to wear United Nations helmets and arm bands. In the case of multi-national forces, such as the Gulf War, US soldiers wore a US flag patch on their uniform so as to be identified as members of United States armed forces; however, although a coalition force against Saddam Hussein’s military, it was not a United Nations contingent, so no change in uniform was required. The soldier thought it was an unlawful order or felt it was not right to wear UN insignia and that soldier swore an oath to obey the lawful orders of the President of the United States and superiors; which he did not do. As a result he was discharged under bad conduct conditions.

Under current law of the UCMJ:

An order requiring the performance of a military duty or act may be inferred to be lawful and it is disobeyed at the peril of the subordinate. This inference does not apply to a patently illegal order, such as one that directs the commission of a crime.

And, if one or more military members influence others to disobey, it can be construed as Mutiny under Article 94 – Mutiny can be the death penalty, even during peace operations.

So now you see the problem of the military units (and law enforcement) that were given orders to enter by force, if necessary, homes in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina hit, to confiscate firearms without cause or, in most cases, without warrant, because the governor of the state declared martial law because of looting, raping and other crimes going on. It was a senseless act, as most government acts today are – taking firearms away from law-abiding citizens in their homes, which did not allow them to defend their home and their lives from criminal elements that most likely would be armed. Those presently operating our government are using tragedies as excuses to further remove liberties and rights from the American people.

Members of the military forces are also understanding that President Obama has been signing executive orders, bypassing the authority of Congress, and other acts that are against his oath of office, as well as everyone who serves him in the executive branch – which also means the military. What do you think will happen if members of the US armed forces are ordered to transgress the Second Amendment or intern citizens in FEMA camps or other unconstitutional acts? They are no longer using force towards enemies, foreign and domestic, but their own people of the United States against their oath of enlistment to protect and comply with the Constitution of the United States – and its amendments.

Law enforcement oaths, as county sheriffs or state police, vary from state to state; however, they remain centered upon an element of a code of ethics. In a commitment towards ethical behavior of law enforcement officials, the International Association of Chiefs of Police recommends the following Law Enforcement Oath of Honor:

On my honor, I will never betray my badge, my integrity, my character, or the public trust. I will always have the courage to hold myself and others accountable for our actions. I will always uphold the constitution, my community, and the agency I serve.

The county sheriffs who confiscated legal personally owned firearms from citizens of their county with the aid of the US Coast Guard and National Guard were ALL disobeying their oath of office, there sworn or affirmed oath that they would uphold the Constitution of the United States. Taking firearms from criminals is one thing, but law-abiding citizens even with documentation had their firearms taken away, as the following video shows. While you are watching this, remember that President Bush was the commander-in-chief and the National Guard and US Coast Guard was obeying unlawful orders by the Governor of Louisiana, the local sheriff department – and President Bush did nothing about it, so he must have approved.

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Here is a video so you can see for yourself …

A Marine is asked if firearms could be confiscated by the government via military. Pay attention to his response that he does not see that happening. Then he is asked if he was ordered to do what would he do … it won’t happen in his lifetime. Apparently, he is unaware of what happened during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Moreover, another newscast, not showing firearm confiscation, but breaking into homes even in dry land neighborhoods and telling them to vacate, and using a church as a headquarters without permission of the owner. Did we not have an American war of independence against the British about these acts?


Senator Dianne Feinstein, as reported earlier here at Faded Glory Journal, is going to be sending a bill that puts more firearms for banning than her previous firearm ban bill, including magazines with over ten round capacity, muzzle breaks (because they look so military), and even semi-auto shotguns this time. In anticipation of people dashing out and purchasing these proposed banned firearms, she also has inserted that those who already have them will be forced to have a $200 federal stamp of certification, complete with photo ID and fingerprints, and a form signed by the local county sheriff. It is the same procedure that firearm owners must endure if they choose to collect firearms that are on the federal banned list and accessories like noise suppressors (incorrectly called silencers). But that is not enough for Senator Feinstein, she also adds that when that person dies, the firearms with federal stamps that are on the firearm ban list cannot be left/willed to relatives to keep as family heirlooms or collectibles – but be confiscated, without compensation, by the US federal government.

Citizens do not want to be at war against their own military and police over rights and liberties! Any decent law enforcement or military member would freak over such orders given, even under martial law. Katrina was a NATURAL disaster, and true there were looters, but that has nothing to do with folks who stored food and have weapons in their homes in case someone tries to unlawfully enter and get what they have.

Some people think Alex Jones is whacky and always thinking there is a conspiracy behind every corner; but he presents valid arguments with footage and sources of information, as well as expert guests on his show.

As a final video, watch this OathKeepers video, and see that some refused to obey unlawful orders …