Rebuttal: Here’s Why I Do NOT Believe American Soldiers Will Fire on Protesting American Citizens

American-Flag-ArmyThe Organic Prepper – by Daisy Luther

Last week, Dave Hodges wrote an article called The Psychological Reasons Why American Soldiers Would Fire On American Citizens.  Mr. Hodges used experiments by behavioral scientists to support his hypothesis. His evidence was the Asch experiment, the Milgram experiment, and the Stanford prison experiment. All of the experiments proved one thing: under certain circumstances, people would perform acts of cruelty that were aberrant to their normal behavior.

Let me preface my argument by saying that Dave Hodges puts out some great information – none of this is a personal attack on him or his work.  This is a rebuttal to a specific article he has written.   

Are American soldiers the bad guys, the new tools of tyranny, ready to coldly spray a protesting crowd with bullets?

I don’t believe that they are the enemy. I don’t believe they are deserving of this disrespect.

I am the daughter of a veteran, a patriot who was honored with a military 21 gun salute at his funeral. I’m also the grandaughter of 2 veterans, the niece of 6 veterans, and the cousin of still more veterans. For 3 generations, members of my family have served. They’ve fought in both World Wars, Vietnam, Korea, the Gulf, and Afghanistan.

When someone makes the choice to join the military, they may not really know what they’re getting into. But when they make the decision to stay in the military once their initial time is up, they are well aware of what that decision means.

It means:

The possibility of leaving family and loved ones

The possibility of being stationed in some of the worst hellholes on the planet

The possibility of seeing horrible things that you can’t unsee

The possibility of coming home disabled

The possibility of never seeing home again, and returning in a pine box

People who choose a career in the military face risks the rest of us never even considered. And they do it so we don’t have to. They do it because they feel that we have a country worth fighting for, and because someone has to do it. They do it because they believe in America. No one could possibly consider this an easy lifestyle.

Having grown up in a family with such a strong sense of duty, when I read Mr. Hodge’s article, I felt sick at the thought that others look at my loved ones, with their patriotism, courage, and good intentions, and believe that these men are threats instead of guardians.

I feel it’s imperative that people differentiate between the members of the military and the military industrial complex.

In his farewell speech, President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us about the risk once money began to be made from the military.  He said:

Now this conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet, we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved. So is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocation, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.

This hunger for money and power that Eisenhower warned about is the real threat to our well-being. I can very easily see how the military industrial complex (MIC) would be interested in crushing and subduing the public. In fact, they are so powerful that they are the kingmakers. Through their support, our members of Congress and everyone right up to the President find themselves hoisted upon golden shoulders into office. The price for these appointments (we can hardly even call them elections anymore) is to keep lining the coffers of the complex.

Now, compare this with the life of a person who dedicates himself to defending the country. People don’t get rich serving in Afghanistan. They might be sweating out 10 pounds of fluid a day in the desert over there, but it’s certainly not a luxurious spa. It’s a life of sacrifice and duty, and they see nothing of the billions that the folks in the MIC.

You can be vehemently anti-war and anti-interventionism (as I am) and still respect our soldiers and veterans. The two are not mutually exclusive. In any group, you have honorable people and dishonorable ones, but the military people I know are patriots, devoting their lives to the protection of our country. When they are used to do the bidding of the MIC, you can be assured that isn’t the reason they signed up.


Now that we’ve defined our cast of characters, let’s go back to Mr. Hodges’ article.

In the scenario he describes, Mr. Hodges believes that one day, chaos will erupt on the streets of America and our military will be called upon to restore order. No one can deny that there is always the possibility of civil unrest – we saw how thin the veneer of civilization was recently in Ferguson Missouri.  He believes, though, that the military will be called upon to open fire on citizens randomly protesting in the streets. He wrote:

This scenario and the resulting public execution of American citizens for engaging in protesting has happened many times in our past. For those old enough to remember, the 1970 Kent State massacre should come to mind as the Ohio National Guard opened fire on protesting college students on the campus of Kent State University. But for those who believe that this was merely an anomaly, let’s examine what the field of psychology has discovered about the answer to this question.

Some our citizens are deluded into a false sense of security by the group known as Oath Keepers. It is a well-intentioned effort to remind both law enforcement and the military to uphold the Constitution and to disobey unlawful orders which would bring harm to American citizens. Under this false sense of security, many in the American public really believe that American troops will not fire upon American citizens. Unfortunately, the field of psychology demonstrates why only a minority of soldiers will actually resist committing atrocities against the American people.

The situation at Kent State was tragic, but what Mr. Hodges doesn’t point out is that the National Guardsmen who fired into the crowd were actually NOT following orders.

One former Guardsman who fired on the students, Larry Shafer, told the Kent-Ravenna Record-Courier on Tuesday that he never heard any command to fire and that “Point!” would not have been part of a proper command anyway. (source)

First, we must also keep in mind that there’s an enormous difference between a protest and a riot. These are two different scenarios, which would result in two different responses. For our purposes, we’re going to go with Mr. Hodges’ example that this is a protest. You know, signs, chanting, maybe some yelling.

It’s highly unlikely that in the type of situation Mr. Hodges describes, a commanding officer is going to give an order to mow down a bunch of civilians, regardless of how angry they are.

But even if such an order was given, Mr. Hodges discounts the repeated training that all soldiers receive that instills in them that it is their sworn duty to DISOBEY unlawful orders. He disregards the ethics that are reinforced throughout their training. Any person in the military will agree that they are reminded repeatedly throughout their careers of this duty.

Military discipline and effectiveness is built on the foundation of obedience to orders. Recruits are taught to obey, immediately and without question, orders from their superiors, right from day-one of boot camp.

Military members who fail to obey the lawful orders of their superiors risk serious consequences. Article 90 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) makes it a crime for a military member to WILLFULLY disobey a superior commissioned officer. Article 91 makes it a crime to WILLFULLY disobey a superior Noncommissioned or Warrant Officer. Article 92 makes it a crime to disobey any lawful order (the disobedience does not have to be “willful” under this article).

In fact, under Article 90, during times of war, a military member who willfully disobeys a superior commissioned officer can be sentenced to death.

Seems like pretty good motivation to obey any order you’re given, right? Nope. These articles require the obedience of LAWFUL orders. An order which is unlawful not only does not need to be obeyed, but obeying such an order can result in criminal prosecution of the one who obeys it. Military courts have long held that military members are accountable for their actions even while following orders — if the order was illegal.

I was only following orders,” has been unsuccessfully used as a legal defense in hundreds of cases (probably most notably by Nazi leaders at the Nuremberg tribunals following World War II). The defense didn’t work for them, nor has it worked in hundreds of cases since. (source)

But the training goes even further than that. Insubordination is that fine gray area between using your own judgement and following lawful orders.

A service member may not disobey a lawful order given by a superior officer. This includes specific orders given to a service member by his direct superior officer (under Article 90 of the UCMJ) as well as general orders or regulations that govern the service member’s unit (Article 92 of the UCMJ).

An instruction from a superior officer is considered an “order” which must be obeyed when:

  • It contains a command to take or refrain from taking a specific action (general recommendations to “perform your duty” are not orders);
  • It was directed at an individual;
  • It pertains to that person’s military duty;
  • That person had knowledge of the order; and
  • The order was lawful.

Of all of these requirements, “lawfulness” is the most difficult, and the most important, to figure out. An order is “lawful” when it does not conflict with the U.S. Constitution or its laws, other military or admiralty laws, or international treaties. Also, a lawful order is one which doesn’t interfere with an individual’s constitutional rights. All orders are presumed to be lawful (except patently unlawful orders, such as deliberately killing innocent civilians), and any service member that refuses to obey an order may be properly court-martialed.

However, if an order is unlawful, the service member that receives the order has a duty to disobey it. A commander who issues an unlawful order is essentially ordering his subordinate to commit a crime, and the subordinate that obeys the unlawful order is just as guilty of the crime as the commander. That is the reason that the defense that soldiers “were just following orders” when they committed war crimes almost always fails. (source)

Just to confirm that the rules mentioned above were legitimately impressed upon soldiers, I contacted  a Chief Warrant Officer in the Army and combat veteran, Graywolf from Graywolf Survival, to ask about the training they receive on this topic.

“I joined the military back in the Cold War and spent many years as an enlisted Soldier before becoming a commissioned Warrant Officer. I’ve been deployed to several combat zones under many different Rules of Engagement, so I have some idea about the training and mindset of the military when it comes to dealing with civilians.

The idea of following lawful orders and requiring the disobedience of unlawful orders is not only instilled in every Soldier through countless official and unofficial training opportunities, it is pounded into their heads over and over again. It’s a discussion that happens regularly among both officers and enlisted personnel before, during, and after combat. It is a part of required training at every leadership school and at every unit. This is a part of the everyday thinking and training of every Soldier – more so by far than at any time in history.

The ONLY way a Soldier would fire on ANY civilian would be if their life were threatened or if they were saving the life of someone else, and they would gladly put their own lives in danger to do so. In countless situations, Soldiers and commanding officers put their own in danger overseas by not firing back when cowardly enemy combatants used civilians as human shields while they attacked.

Why on Earth would they do any less for their own citizens?”


Now, on to the experiments. Those horrifying (and many say unethical) experiments saw average everyday people doing horrible things to their fellow man. The subjects blithely followed orders and suddenly became as sadistic as the guards at the most evil of concentration camps.

Or did they?

Some studies say that the results of the experiments were skewed. For example,  the Milgram experiment had a subject obediently kept increasing what they believed to be the voltage of electric shock to a person screaming in pain. An astonishing 65% of the subjects continued to up the voltage, just because they were told to. However, half of the subjects refused to even participate once they found out the parameters of the experiment. So in reality, the 65% number that the experiment touts is very inaccurate.

Philip Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison experiment had students role-playing parts of both prisoners and guards. The question was, how did those two roles affect a person? According to documents and videos, the guards became increasingly brutal and dehumanized the prisoners. While it’s irrefutable that bad things happened during that experiment, later evaluation of the studies by Professors Alex Haslam and Stephen Reicher suggest that this was not, as Zimbardo concluded, blind compliance.

The study generated three findings. First, participants did not conform automatically to their assigned role; second, they only acted in terms of group membership to the extent that they identified with the group; and finally, group identity did not mean that people simply accepted their assigned position—it also empowered them to resist it.

Although Zimbardo and Milgram’s findings remain highly influential, Professor Haslam argue that their conclusions do not hold up well under close empirical scrutiny. (source)


Mr. Hodges concludes:

This has dire consequences for the ability of uniformed personnel to resist orders from their commanding officers to fire upon American citizens. People will act according to the role that they have been assigned to play. Finally, based upon the Zimbardo Prison Experiment, what kind of treatment could you expect at a FEMA camp?

Will American soldiers fire upon Americans in times of civil unrest? The evidence has been presented to you, what do you now believe?

What do I believe?

I’m glad you asked.

I believe that the question is too broad and open to interpretation and the whims of myriad situations. If you narrow it to Mr. Hodges’ original scenario, then NO – I don’t believe that soldiers will open fire on protesting citizens, as he implies.

I believe that this random assortment of studies says that people – any people – can be capable of bad acts. That goes for you, me, the couple next door, and the preacher that lives on the other side of them. This is not “evidence” of anything more specific to the military than it is to anyone else. Members of the military are no more likely to participate in something horrible than any of us.  In fact, due to their training and mentality, they are probably less likely.

I believe that if we measure patriotism by our actions and not by our words, the men and women who serve in the military have proven that they are red, white, and blue to the core. They have walked the walk – and done so all over the globe, in whatever conditions they are required to.

I believe this essay is insulting conjecture. It demonizes the wrong people and creates a culture of mistrust. It reminds me of the veterans who returned from Vietnam, and instead of a welcome, were greeted with disrespect and derision.  It belittles the sacrifices made by combat veterans, POWs, those who died serving, and those who missed Christmas with their children.

To all of the veterans I know, and also the ones I haven’t met, thank you for your service.

About the author:

Please feel free to share any information from this site in part or in full, giving credit to the author and including a link to this website and the following bio.

Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor.  Her website, The Organic Prepper, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her at

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16 thoughts on “Rebuttal: Here’s Why I Do NOT Believe American Soldiers Will Fire on Protesting American Citizens

  1. I agree with the author. I don’t believe it’s our military we need to worry about.

    Mainly because Obummer keeps shipping them overseas, so there likely won’t be many left here when he lets loose the dogs of war.

    1. OK that was covered well by both presenters, however on thing was not covered. Obama’s private army and may consist of Blackwater and other mercinary thugs. They will kill anyone and everyone in a heartbeat for they are killers and not discriminating in any way. Look at what the military did in Boston they did have automatic rifles and they did point them at the citizens. What if they failed to come out of their homes? There is the unknown. Remember the training pictures of them firing on pregnant women. I have to say it is an unknown until the time comes.

      1. The military are not the ones to fear in this country right now.When the SHTF the DHS will attempt to lead law enforcement which has been militarized for this very purpose and they WILL kill citizens and are doing it right now. I also think that there is a segment in the military that will shoot citizens if told to blindly following orders. This is never going to be resolved where we have our country back with out a fight and that’s just the cold reality of it.This group of traitors have no intent on anything but total control.When I look back over my life time and see what use to be and what is here now its a different universe and not a better one at all! I’m also a retired veteran and what they have done to my country should get them all a firing squad.We have to look no farther than Ruby Ridge,The Branch Davidians,Katrina,Boston,to see what cops and authority will do if told to and its marshal law period anyway you cut it. Shelter in place and free speech zones are total BS as are constitution free zones.A free society has none to this and force is the way they get away with it so force is the only thing that will ever stop it too!

  2. Now, if Hodges would have cut the crap and said that soldiers would fire on peaceful protesters because they were foreign (and I think they will almost certainly be foreign..remember in the 29 Palms survey 75 percent said they would NOT fire on civilians…Hodges only brings up the 25 percent that would), then I would take his article seriously.

    And when I say “foreign” troops, I think that must include troops from the illegal alien community, including MS-13 types, which might be one reason Obama is so keen on letting these psychos into the country.

  3. Ya know, AJ has a lot of depressing stuff on his site, but it’s not ALL bad. Lew Rockwell has articles that are well balanced both positive and negative, various other sites are the same, some good stuff with a lot of depressing stuff. However, Dave has NOTHING good to say. EVER. He really bums me out when I am already bummed enough being awake as it is. Being awake to all the BS is enough to deal with. Don’t need Dave and his constant desire to send people into a panic. Thank you Daisy for some reason in an insane world. Nuff said.

    1. I agree with Shay. Dave Hodges articles are interesting food for thought. However, they are always downbeat, basically saying you might as well give up now. That attitude makes me question Hodge’s motives. His radio show guests are always touting and emphasizing their high-level but secret sources, and they are interesting speakers, but way, way too wordy, saying not much really. And there is something I haven’t quite put my finger on yet, but his stories come out too early, as if they are trying to spin a story before the narrative solidifies. I am glad Daisy rebutted him.

  4. “But even if such an order was given, Mr. Hodges discounts the repeated training that all soldiers receive that instills in them that it is their sworn duty to DISOBEY unlawful orders. He disregards the ethics that are reinforced throughout their training. Any person in the military will agree that they are reminded repeatedly throughout their careers of this duty.”

    While I agree with the author, we must not forget that Barry is weeding out those members of the military who disobey his orders whether they are unlawful or not, meaning the book of ethics is thrown right out the window and replaced with the book of Communism. So that mixed with the foreign troops and probably MS-13 and drug cartel gang members that Barry will possibly throw in US military uniform down the road, I can probably say that there will be at least SOME people disguised as military members who will shoot on Americans because they AREN’T REAL Americans in uniform. Hence, why they put one foreign person or even one DHS weasel in a group of patriotic men in order to psychologically make them think twice about disobeying any of Barry’s orders for fear of being ratted out and discredited and thrown under the bus.

  5. During the American revolution the King George (German transplant King) recruited large numbers of German speaking troops so they would have no reluctance to shoot on English speaking colonists. This principle always applies. The Tiananmen square protesters were killed by Chinese troops from outlying provinces because Chinese troops stationed in the capital were reluctant to shoot on their own.

  6. They WILL shoot on orders from their superiors. At least many will, but not all.
    Those of you that do not think so are actually wishful thinking, believing what you WANT to believe, not necessarily what is prudent and logical to believe. But I sincerely hope that I am wrong!

    1. Yes, Rick, some will. But empirical evidence (29 Palms survey) suggests most will not–which is why Obama is bringing in MS-13 and others and then making them “citizens” ASAP.

      More empirical evidence: in 1917 during the February Revolution (not the Bolshevik one in October/Novemeber), Russian soldiers were ordered to fire on protesters in front of the Winter Palace in St. Petersberg. The protesters included women and children. The soldiers refused, and went home.

  7. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
    He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
    he leadeth me beside the still waters.
    He restoreth my soul:
    He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
    Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
    I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
    thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
    Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
    thou anointest my head with oil;
    my cup runneth over.
    Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
    and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

  8. “Last week, Dave Hodges wrote an article called The Psychological Reasons Why American Soldiers Would Fire On American Citizens.”

    Good article, Daisy, but here’s my rebuttal:

    Dave Hodges is in the fear-mongering business, and he publishes a similar article at least every week. He’s a paid shill working to dissuade people from standing up for their rights by continually trying to convince them that they can’t win, it’s futile to resist, the government is all-powerful, their technological marvels will kill us all, etc. etc. etc.

    You know he’s working for the enemy because if he was sincerely working for our side, he wouldn’t be constantly trying to convince people they can’t win. You can determine a writer’s true motives by simply reading what he has to say. All Dave Hodges does is try to scare people away from exhibiting any kind of resistance. That fact alone tells you all you need to know about him.

  9. This was many months ago, maybe even a year. But I spoke with a lady marine who is in Germany. She says most soldiers coming from the middle east come to Germany before coming back to the states for paperwork etc. She does the paperwork etc. She says most of them are complaining and that they are going to finish their duty and get out…This is why the POS are focusing on veterans.
    And yes, I do believe it is the younger police officers that are a threat. Low IQ, shoot anything, dont get in trouble, and israeli trained. The veterans will not stand by idle. I just wish they would quit committing suicide, we need them. Damn VA and pharma drugs. Orchestrated? ya think?

  10. Yep Hweinhard, I do believe this is all orchestrated. I want to thank you for posting the Lord’s prayer. It’s always been a comfort reading and reciting the Lord’s prayer and I for sure need to remember it more often.

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