It looks like mcain may be reaching an unacceptable compromise with bush regarding exemption language in his amemdment barring inhumane or degrading treatment of prisoners:
Instead, he has offered to include some language, modeled after military standards, under which soldiers can provide a defense if a “reasonable” person could have concluded that he or she was following a lawful order about how to treat prisoners.
Hopefully this is not the case. pace got it right a few days ago:
“It is the absolute responsibility of every U.S. service member, if they see inhumane treatment being conducted, to intervene, to stop it,” the general said.
Rumsfeld interjected: “I don’t think you mean they have an obligation to physically stop it; it’s to report it.”
But Pace meant what he said. “If they are physically present when inhumane treatment is taking place, sir, they have an obligation to try to stop it,” he said, firmly.
This damn well better apply to every human being no matter who they work for.
Following orders is never an excuse for for inhumane behavior. Though it might be possible to consider a slightly less excruciating punishment for a perpetrator following orders than that given to one acting on their own or to the one who gave the orders.