Dating military helmets
Unfortunately (for them), that defense won't fly.
The mistreatment of prisoners is a crime under both international law and the Uniform Code of Military Justice (see Article 93 — Cruelty and Maltreatment).
With the fall of the Roman Empire, Spain was devastated by successive barbarian invasions, with stability only gradually appearing with the later years of the Visigothic kingdom.
The early Middle Ages for Spain saw the country forming the front line in a battle between Christian and Islamic forces in the Mediterranean; the Conquista and Reconquista took centuries to reach a military resolution.
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 (the disobedience does not have to be "willful" under this article).
During the War with France, Congress passed a law making it permissible to seize ships bound to any French Port. Navy captain seized a Danish Ship (the The owners of the ship sued the Navy captain in U. The military court rejected Calley's argument of obeying the order of his superiors.
However, here's the rub: A military member disobeys such orders at his/her own peril. 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. New refused the order, contending that it was an illegal order. The Army Court of Criminal Appeals upheld the conviction, as did the Court of Appeals of the Armed Forces.
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 regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
I do solemnly swear 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.
The defense didn't work for them, nor has it worked in hundreds of cases since. Supreme Court held that Navy commanders "act at their own peril" when obeying presidential orders when such orders are illegal.
The first recorded case of a United States Military officer using the "" defense dates back to 1799. They won, and the United States Supreme Court upheld the decision. The Vietnam War presented the United States military courts with more cases of the "" defense was the court-martial (and conviction for premeditated murder) of First Lieutenant William Calley for his part in the My Lai Massacre on March 16, 1968.
However, the public outcry in the United States following this very publicized and controversial trial was such that President Nixon granted him clemency.