The Marine Haditha Massacre24 cowering women and children, murdered as random reprisal for a roadside bomb with which they had nothing to do.
I hope the Marines felt like big, strong men. And they claim, "Oh, but we were ordered
Since Nuremberg, of course, that's no longer so. Obeying an illegal order makes you also culpable. One might say, "But if I refused what my commanding officer said, he'd shoot me."
If your choice is between your life and that of even one
person you know
is innocent and helpless, then, as a soldier, if you have to die, shouldn't it be
over what's right? You might say, "But then he'd just ask someone else to do it." I imagine watching your
death, at the hands of your CO, over refusing to kill women and children, might inspire different feelings in your fellow soldiers and perhaps some second thoughts. That's why they call such people "heroic" and that's what "self sacrifice" means. A soldier of any honor should be ready to lay down his life rather than commit what can only be called cold-blooded murder. I don't mean combat. I mean something like this
Here's parts 1
of an interesting 20-year-old Ethics in America
on this subject, in the hypothetical.