“I Will Not Slay Ammon”

Bryan Richards

One might appropriately ask the question, “when is it acceptable to disobey your father?” Or, “when is it acceptable for a soldier to disobey a direct order from his superior officer?” Lamoni would answer, “when the command is to commit cold-blooded murder.”

The trials of Nuremburg (following WW II) and subsequent wars have demonstrated that military officers are not exonerated from war crimes just because they were “following orders.” According to the Nuremburg rules an individual officer or soldier is held responsible for the following violations, irrespective of orders: “murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave labor…murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war or persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity.” (“Charter of the International Military Tribunal” in Agreement for the Prosecution and Punishment of the Major War Criminals of the European Axis [London Agreement], August 8, 1945, 58 Stat. 1544, E.A.S. No. 472, 82 U.N.T.S. 280)