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Patel begins to protest, and Gwen interrupts her. Don't you dare look at me and tell me you're obeying orders. Don't you bloody dare. And again with Colin Maloney, director of the San Pedro camp. And you're the director, so you know that. Look, I'm not in charge of policy I just did as I was told. A French police officer who killed a little boy during a riot defends himself to his wife with this. Used by some humans to justify working for the visitors. One female reporter is called out on this, being told that the same excuse was used at the Nuremberg Trials.
Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak sometimes reacts this way tongue-in-cheek when a contestant hits Bankrupt while holding onto an extra such as a Prize wedge, Wild Card, etc. Up-and-coming Western District beat cop Brian Baker initially goes along with Burrell's "quality of life" arrest hikes, which include ticketing every illegally parked car in the city.
Jimmy McNulty sets him straight and gives him a few new things to think about. Parking in a bus stop, expired registration. First class police work there, Baker. Yeah, well, this is the word we got from up on high. Straight from the 8th floor downtown. I know you think it's bullshit, but I spend my shift where they tell me.
Baker, let me tell you a little secret. A patrolling officer on his beat is the one true dictatorship in America. We can lock a guy up on a humble, lock him up for real, or say "Fuck it, let's pull under the expressway and drink ourselves to death", and our side partners will cover it. When Major Colvin's Hamsterstam experiment goes public and inevitably becomes a scandal, Commissioner Burrell threatens Mayor Royce with invoking this publicly, and it's very effective. Generally speaking, Burrell has internalized this line of thinking and attributes some degree of dysfunction to doing what he is told.
Barksdale soldier Savino Bratton tacitly admits this would be his response to being told to torture or kill an innocent. He's obviously uncomfortable with it, but is too afraid to say anything after another soldier is shot for standing up to the commanding officer. Were they the victims of the time Or proud parts of larger goals? Propaganda of the Reich, masterful machine Grand illusions of the Reich May seem real at times. This includes a Nazi who claims he was only following orders. The Nazi in question was actually Hitler. The Bwaps are a race whose hat is being Badass Bureaucrats.
In one side story a Bwap starport official is processing incoming passengers. The Bwap stopped a mother and her baby, claiming a petty technicality and caused the whole line behind her to become indignant at his supposed stupidity. But as it turned out the passengers behind were terrorists and the Bwap was pretending to be Just Following Orders as a Batman Gambit to delay them so that Swat could get into place — using stereotypes to divert suspicion. After the incident the Bwap insisted that the mother he was delaying share in the reward.
I vas never a member of the Nazi party. I only followed orders. I had nossing to do with the war. I didn't even know there vas a war on. Ve lived in the back. Right across from Svitzerland. All ve heard vas yodeling. In The Time of Your Life , the cop Krupp enters arguing with his longshoreman friend McCarthy, protesting that all he's doing is carrying out his orders to keep the peace on the waterfront.
McCarthy asks Krupp if keeping the peace means hitting him over the head with a club if he's on duty and standing on the opposite side. Subverted in The Devil's Disciple. When the hero Richard Dudgeon tries to rebuke General Burgoyne by saying "because you are paid to do it," Burgoyne retorts "Ah, I am really sorry that you should think that, Mr.
If you knew what my commission cost me, and what my pay is, you would think better of me. I should be glad to part from you on friendly terms. At the start of the game, Cecil begins to realize that he's nothing but a coward who can't disobey orders from the king of Baron Castle, even though Cecil knows the orders are wrong, choosing to blame himself for his horrible actions instead. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty 's Raiden was a victim of this. This is why most characters react to the player with suspicion.
In The Punisher video game: One mook yells out "I was just following orders! Kill Orders are no excuse. Mercy Think for yourself next time. There's also another variation: Kill That's no excuse. Mercy You're in the wrong army. I don't forgive and forget so easily. Keep your eyes peeled and your hands on your valuables. Get your hands out of your pants! Just following the lady's orders Syphon Filter 2 Thomas Holman: Well, we were all just following orders.
In Tyurru's story, Yesperratt justifies killing civilians by saying that she's just following orders. In Alpha Protocol , Parker and Westridge uses this as their defense for their complicity in the whole Halbech fiasco and for sending Mike to Saudi Arabia with the intention of having him killed once he'd completed his mission. Sunset Riders does this after one of the boss fights. After the beaten but still alive Chief Scalpem falls to the ground, his sister suddenly runs up and says "please don't shoot my brother. He was just following orders.
Note that this is the only time you spare a boss; every other one gets a bullet between the eyes, even if he was just following orders. Mega Man 8 features Sword Man, the one robot master who doesn't seem to have any problem with Mega Man; in fact, he seems to respect him quite a bit. He invokes this trope along with Nothing Personal right before you fight him. Assassin Blue uses this as an excuse for killing at least initially. If you take The Paragon option, Commander Shepard in Mass Effect 2 can get two prison guards to avert this trope when beating up a prisoner.
This degrades you as much as him. You're not important enough to make your own decisions? I sometimes get tired of this. Does this really get us anything useful? For your own sake. At least for now. The positive version also gets used in the first game, in response to Paragon Shepard resolving a hostage situation with zero casualties. Just doing my job, Admiral. I wish every soldier had your definition of "just doing your job.
The Turians are implied to have tried to use this defence as justification for performing a pre-emptive strike on Pre-Contact Humanity, stating that were merely acting in accordance with Galactic Law to prevent tampering and activation of a dormant Mass Relay. Given how they are still paying reparations for the brief War that ensued, its clear that the Council didn't let them off the hook for this. This is Thane's philosophy about killing: He's also one of your most moral teammates, striving to avoid civilian casualties wherever possible.
Inverted in Dragon Age: Orders were given, and he followed them like any good soldier. He should not die for that mistake. They're not killing civilians for kicks; they're following their superiors' orders and trying to protect what's left of humanity from the Zombie Apocalypse. Valara even goes out of her way to be nice to Sagi while he's still in the Dark Service, and references this trope verbatim during one of the battles against her. New Vegas has Boone saying this to justify why he participated at Bitter Springs. It turns out to be a deconstruction in that Boone can no longer live with himself after participating in the massacre and leaves the military, after which the orders seem an incredibly hollow justification, even to him.
Enforced in Dragon Quest IX: One of the cardinal rules of the Celestrians the guardian angels the protagonist is part of is that they cannot disobey a direct order from their superior or rebel against him. So when it turns out the Big Bad is a Fallen Angel and thus cannot be fought , the main character willingly becomes a mortal.
In Kingdom Hearts I , after you defeat Lock, Shock and Barrel, Barrel whines as their defeat quote that they were "just following orders. He says it again if you talk to him after the battle. In Telltale's Game of Thrones three soldiers murder Gared's family, including his 8-year-old sister. After being left disarmed and helpless, one of the soldiers asks for mercy because he was "just following orders".
Tran, a captured Breen Combat Medic , was ordered on an attack against a Deferi civilian freighter to gather intelligence about the Preserver Archive that Thot Trel is trying to find. He followed his orders, but tells the Player Character that he regrets doing so because attacking civilians is dishonorable, and then tries to make it up to the Deferi by telling them how to safely remove the brain implant he installed in a crew member.
In Disgaea 5 , the Lost run on the recruitment policy of "Obey or die", and wholly live up to those words, with officials executing any who resist them and this is the best outcome — right, Void Dark? However, in two instances in story mode, Lost mooks will use this excuse to try to worm their way out of whatever punishment Red Magnus has lined up for them; in neither instance does he listen to any of it, explicitly referencing the people they hurt as the reason he's punishing them in the first place.
In Dead Rising 3 , Adam Kane is a villain due to this trope. His last words are the trope name. In Tyranny , Barik runs on this trope. Once he's assigned to the Fatebinder he'll stick to you, even if you end up fighting his former unit, because his assignment is to be "your shield". If you try to fight Graven Ashe without Barik having sufficient Loyalty or Fear to you, Graven Ashe will throw this attitude back in his face when Barik tries to defect back to him, claiming that his moral cowardice has already cost numerous Disfavoured their lives.
Pekoyama claims that she was just "Fuyuhiko's tool", with no will of her own, after she has been already voted as the culprit. Therefore, Monokuma could rule that Fuyuhiko was the real mastermind behind the murder, and thus allow him to "graduate" and get away scot-free while everyone else gets executed.
William Howe of The Dreamer. Florence is well aware of the problems that can arise from blindly following orders. Florence accuses an Ecosystems Unlimited guard of this with great passion when she thought he was aware of the effects of Gardener in the Dark. Schlock Mercenary had the eponymous amorph explain fine details of "I'm just doing my job" to a bureaucrat who was going to take advantage of a strip search of Dr.
Bunnigus, required of all doctors arriving in Haven Hive. In Escape from Terra a UW gunner who incinerated a defenseless Cerean homestead tried to use this excuse, after the superior who ordered the attack had assured the gunner he'd be taking full responsibility. The court did not see it that way-he and the ordering officer were both executed, though his death is a bit quicker than the officer's.
Not only does he blame that he was just following orders, but as a strong believer in fate, he insists that he never had a choice to begin with. So naturally, his punishment in Hopkin's Ironic Hell is to be a character in a pre-destined comic strip drawn by the devil. Stand Still, Stay Silent: In the prologue, Iceland, that found an excuse to close its borders several days before the Apocalyptic Gag Order downplaying the seriousness of the Rash was lifted, eventually resorts to a form of Quarantine with Extreme Prejudice in which the rest of the world is considered a contaminated area and the country itself is safe.
Circumstances also mean they are getting a lot of refugee boats that they have no other choice but to bomb. The Iceland segment of the prologue focuses on a coast guard ship and on a low-ranking radar reader who decides to quit and become a sheep herder due to having Bad Dreams. In one episode of Johnny Test , Johnny, his friends and enemies start to have a drag race but are stopped by the sheriff. The General tries to fast-talk their way through before yelling, "GO around him!
In "The Enemy Below", one of Orm's followers tried to offer the "just following orders" excuse to Aquaman. He was not impressed. In "Flashpoint", Captain Atom is ordered by his Air Force superiors to keep Superman and Huntress from taking the Question from the Cadmus facility where he was being held. He even justifies his action to Superman by saying that he has his orders, "legal and proper. In Rick and Morty , when Morty got injected with the blood of a warrior's arm, Morty's arm was possessed by the memories of the severed arm's owner, which by random coincidence, also remembered the guy who killed him when he was alive and unfortunately was there watching Morty's matches.
In a pathetic attempt to save his life, the guy tried to blame his boss for his actions, but Morty's arm went to burn him for revenge anyway. At the Nuremberg trials, it was established that "just following orders" is a valid defense, but only below the rank of lieutenant, and only if the orders in question are not clearly illegal.
Many times the accused said that they followed orders because it was either work in the camps or the front line.
In a subversion, the Nazis who gave birth to this trope weren't the ones who were Just Following Orders but the ones who impressed their superiors enough with their enthusiasm to be assigned to running concentration camps. The ones who were just following orders ended up at the Russian Front, and usually didn't survive to reach Nuremberg in the first place.
Some historians who have interviewed ex-Nazis, or supporters or collaborators of the regime, have reported that the subjects are very often proud of what was done and either don't use this defence or only used it as an excuse if they don't want to attract bad attention. Notably, some of those same historians have also interviewed former Soviet and Japanese soldiers who also took part in atrocities and generally conclude that this trope suits them better, since in the former case you could be sent to the Gulag or shot if you were suspected of being "un-revolutionary", and in the latter case one's superiors savagely beating their subordinates and treating them like dirt was the rule rather than the exception.
In contrast, while in some cases not following orders could get you sent to the very dangerous Eastern Front, the majority of SS and Wehrmacht killers were often not severely punished and very usually had no problem with what they were doing; indeed, in many, many cases, they exceeded their orders and many atrocities were initiated at ground-level by officers. Since conquered Jews, Poles and other victims were forbidden to work slave labour aside yet were now part of the Greater German Reich, they became an economic burden, and since deportation was increasingly impractical, mass murder was often seen as cheaper and easier.
The majority of Holocaust victims were shot, in thousands of separate instances; roughly half of its millions of victims were dead before Auschwitz opened its gas chambers. As it happens, Adolf Hitler hated giving orders and liked to keep them as vague as possible, leading to what historian Ian Kershaw called "working towards the Fuhrer", i.
A common problem, even in the early days of the regime, was that the SA, the SS and the more ideological members of the Party and the army would assault or kill more people than the leaders intended and had to be reined in this was one of the reasons the SA was purged on the Night of the Long Knives, as they were considered too unruly compared to the "disciplined" SS.
The initial plan for the occupation of Poland — then Eastern Europe — was to kill a certain percentage of various Polish social groups e. Jews, academics, officers, lawyers etc. Eventually, for many, committing genocide simply became normal. Older Than They Think: Henry Wirz, commandant of the notorious Andersonville POW camp during The American Civil War , claimed that he was only following orders when the victorious Union finally put him on trial.
It didn't work any better for him than it did for the Nazi officers at Nuremberg eighty years later; he was hanged after a trial whose probable unfairness was made a moot point by the fact that he probably wasn't under orders to be that nasty anyway. Critics have also pointed out a hypocrisy in this, as many Union prison camps were also hell holes, but naturally the commanders there were never punished for mistreating POWs. The US Military specifically states that following an order you know to be illegal such as shooting civilians denies you the use of this defense: It's failure to follow lawful orders that gets you punished—if an officer has to use a gun to make the troops follow orders, it's clearly not lawful.
The Canadian Forces have a very similar law as the US example above about only following lawful orders. A soldier given an illegal order is basically put in a no-win situation: Well, this used to be the case, and occasionally is in some third-world nations, still. For most UN member nations and all NATO countries without exception, soldiers refusing an order can't be punished beyond being suspended with pay until a tribunal actually rules on the legality of the order.
Superior officer retaliation is often functionally impossible and usually illegal under national-level law, too. Essentially, modern law is specifically designed with averting this situation in mind. If a soldier does injure or kill the commanding officer in charge though, they can usually be cleared simply because those orders don't put you in a good position, and doing the right thing helps everybody else when the military court will agree it was the right thing.
A cynic might observe that war criminals aren't really punished for what they did; they are punished for losing the war. When top SS officer and Holocaust organizer Adolf Eichmann was brought to trial in Israel in after 15 years on the lam, he used the Nuremberg defense. Depositions from other SS officers, however, shot holes through even that defense. The Christmas Truces in World Wars I and II were proof that many soldiers on both sides had no interest in killing each other outside of being ordered to do so. Many of these truces actually had the armies from both sides venturing out into No-Man's Land together to bury fallen comrades, exchange gifts, play football, and even sing carols.
The slogan on their sign was the name of this very trope. Analogues to Nazi Germany were not far behind. Stanley Milgram's infamous psychological experiment in obedience, which tested whether people would willingly administer what they thought were painful or even harmful electrical shocks to another person if ordered to do so by an apparently knowledgeable authority.
Over and over again, the majority of subjects were seen to follow the experimenter's instructions through to the end, although the "victim" voiced their protests, and even claimed to have a heart condition that could kill them if the shocks got too strong. It was originally thought that obedience to authority led the participants in said experiment to act the way they did, however newer evidence suggests that identification with the experimenter and his research goals led them to continue with the experiment. Or to quote the authors of this essay: Also, the belief that it is for a higher good, be it science or an ideology , motivates people to transgress moral norms.
Those Wacky Nazis were particularly good at setting up a system that rewards ideological fellowship over blind obedience: In the Nazi bureaucracy, orders often weren't formulated explicitly. Instead they vaguely formulated goals and had their subordinates do what is necessary to achieve them. Another famous experiment, the Stanford Prison Experiment , appeared to demonstrate that even ordinary people given authority over their peers can become Drunk On Power , even when they go back to normal lives outside of the prison.
This means they won't get in trouble if caught and are unlikely to lose much even if they do. Or they hate the job so much they just don't care. Anyone who has ever worked in any of the positions just listed will tell you that this cuts both ways. Because, say, a traffic warden, a staff manager, a low-level security guard at an airport, or a DMV teller is held in contempt by the public, this sometimes gives members of the public the idea that they can order you around or that normal rules don't apply to them.
In places where the business owners hire all sort of illiterate goons as bouncers or security guards , they quickly become textbook examples of this. Usually the patron or client is a guy or girl with money, schooling and appropriate appearance rednecks hardly go to nightclubs and luxury shops and knows he or she faces a semi-literate goon, so consciously or not will treat him with contempt. When the said bouncer or guard has reasons to employ his power , things get ugly. The job doesn't even need any kind of power or prestige.
This is the only real defense bottom-rung employees such as cashiers, waiters, and the like have against rude customers. I bit whomever he asked me to bite. Interestingly, the people whose orders they followed suddenly turned out to be Good All Along , and promptly executed the Ceausescu couple as an act of justice. Nobody else was brought to trial for their atrocities. Many of the torturers in S prison were brainwashed teenage boys whose families were being held hostage by Pol Pot. They were told to either follow orders or they and their whole families would have the same fate as the prisoners.
In later interviews, this trope is their justification, saying that they too were prisoners. It falls apart when one of the few survivors confronts his captor. James Fred Blake was only a bus driver in Alabama. One day in , a black woman called Parks boarded the bus and paid the fare. She then moved to her seat, but Blake told her to follow city rules and enter the bus again from the back door.
Parks exited the bus, but before she could re-board at the rear door, Blake drove off, leaving her to walk home in the rain. Understandably, Parks didn't like it. On December 1, they encountered each other again when Blake ordered Rosa Parks and three other black people to move from the middle to the back of his Cleveland Avenue bus in order to make room for a white passenger. Rosa Parks defied his orders , prompting the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Commenting on the event afterwards, Blake stated: She was in violation of the city codes, so what was I supposed to do?
That damn bus was full and she wouldn't move back. I had my orders. Most riders were black and the bus companies didn't want to offend their primary ridership. They only started enforcing the rules once Alabama police began boarding buses and arresting drivers for ignoring it. There was at least one incident of an employee cutting off some branches from a couple of trees, damaging the cars parked underneath them in the process.
The employee claimed he was ordered to cut the branches and had no other choice but to follow the orders, and his boss is responsible for everything. Lawyers by law and ethical norm are required to use a version of this. While lawyers can resign from service usually of any particular client, an attorney is expected, within certain outer limits, to engage in whatever morally-questionable-but-legal tactics will best serve his clients' interests.
This could include making a child witness cry so as to convince prosecutors to give your client a better deal to protect them from you or it could include burying the other side in discovery to make pursuing a case against your client extremely time consuming. The justification is built into the ethical norms of the profession: This ethical weirdness is the origin of the Amoral Attorney trope.
This was the defense line of the soldiers and officers implicated in the Malet coup of For instance, Captain Borderieux stated: At once, I gathered my company and marched it to the Luxembourg. One hour later, I was told that the orders given to my colonel were illegal and I was told to go back to my barracks; I did so at once.
How am I responsible? The first recorded instance of a "just following orders" defense being used by US military personnel was relatively mundane but still legally important. In the US was involved in an undeclared war with the French Republic , and Congress passed a law allowing the Navy to seize ships bound for any French port.
President John Adams issued an executive order to the Navy that exceeded this authority, telling them to seize vessels traveling to or from French ports. The Supreme Court even weighed in, declaring that Navy officers "act at their own peril" when obeying illegal orders, even when those orders come from the President. In the aftermath of the My Lai Massacre , one of the most heinous atrocities during the Vietnam War where between and unarmed civilians were butchered by US forces, Lieutenant William Calley Jr. This defense was rejected and he was sentenced to life in prison for 22 counts of murder.
Then the sentence was commuted to three and a half years under house arrest at Fort Benning, and no-one else was convicted of any charges in relation to the massacre. It still makes for an interesting examination of the trope; though Oliver decries calling the IRS "Gestapo", one can see the similarity; most of the people who made the Nazi regime work were overworked bureaucrats. IBM even sold them the computers they used.
Just Following Orders - TV Tropes
Computers follow their orders to the letter, exactly as written. They have no common sense at all, and so rely entirely upon their given orders. If those orders end up causing a system freeze or loss of data, it's not the computer's fault, as it's just following the directions given in Exact Words. This is also why developing A. As Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal put it: Computers suck because they don't do what you say. Computers suck because they do exactly what you say.
In his attempts to reform the town and bring democracy to the people by treating them with respect and decency, Joppolo comes into conflict with his commanding officer, a hard-nosed general who eventually has Joppolo transferred because of his refusal to follow orders. Bell for Adano, A. Software improvements now allow a retailer to better follow orders through the entire process of shipping merchandise directly from a vendor to a consumer. The message is clear: Court junks double murder case vs Kapunan over Olalia slay. Almost men, many of them Scots, were court martialled, jailed and stripped of their medals for refusing to follow orders when they landed at Salerno, Italy, in I don't believe the personnel that refused to follow orders should be catered to.
Whatever happened to military discipline?
- Nuremberg defense - RationalWiki.
- How the Nazi’s defense of ‘just following orders’ plays out in the mind | PBS NewsHour!
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Occasionally, the Nuremberg Defense is referred to as the Eichmann defense. Article 33 of the Rome Statute,  which established the International Criminal Court , allows the Nuremberg defense to relieve an individual of criminal responsibility provided:. Hinzman and his supporters argued that because the war in Iraq may be in breach of international law, it could possibly end with him and other troops being tried for war crimes. Although he was denied refugee status, one Justice presiding over the case stated, in reference to personal responsibility during wartime:. This has, however, long been the established rule for questions of the legality of war.
A soldier is responsible for just conduct in war, and policy-makers are responsible for the just cause for war. However, if it can be found that policy-makers are pushing or forcing subordinates to act unjustly in war, they can be responsible for that as well.
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Even soldiers who are fighting in an unjust war must still be treated as legal combatants, and not held responsible for the war itself. United States v - t - e. It was my misfortune to become entangled in these atrocities.