I was watching a documentary the other day about WWII soldiers that were on trial for certain actions conducted by order, and it came to me that I was in the exact same situation more then once, getting orders that seem to go beyond the line of morals or ethics, all soldiers get orders like these.
Well you might be thinking now just who the hell am I, well I was a soldier serving in the Egyptian military during the revolution, my service started about six months before our revolution on January 2011.
I was an exceptionally obedient soldier, to high ranking officers, and somewhat resistant to follow orders of my low-level superiors, the idea that some of my superiors seemed, to me, unqualified to make certain decisions and to be in any position of authority, made me rather skeptical and resistant when it came to their decision-making process.
When I was just a recent recruit I was put in a situation that involved following an order that unnecessarily harmed someone else (It was nothing severe, more of an annoyance then harm), and I felt that it was my duty and role to follow my orders regardless of the consequences.
Later on that day my conscience started to punish me, and I started thinking of ways to make things right once more, so I went to the commanding officer and explained the situation, somehow everything was managed and the sentence was alleviated.
Ever since this incident, I’ve become bold and rather difficult to coerce into an action that I feel unnecessary and cruel, it is in our nature to be cruel sometimes and have strong negative emotions towards someone or something, but there is no justification to act out our thoughts or feeling.
The point is that an individual should not be spared the punishment for an act conducted under orders, no matter how much loyalty or fear one feels during the moment, it doesn’t balance out the following feeling of guilt, regardless of how much punishment can be accompanied with the insubordination.
I often felt that I was stupid for refusing to follow orders, due to the punishment received (simply against all survival instincts and logic), but at least when I sleep now, it feels right.
The issue in these situations is not whether someone is guilty or not, but what punishment should be applied, and who has the right to punish the individual.