The short answer is: Don’t do it.
The medium answer is: You better have your ducks in a row.
There is a whole curriculum of ethics for how to resolve discrepancies between directions when you should feel that they (discrepancies) exist. It has been many years since ROTC sessions on military ethics, but allow me to share with you my resultant set of guideposts.
You are expected to hold a bias that an order is lawful
you took the paychecks, now take the walk
People will take care of this at the ballot box
So I have nothing nice to say about the man, and don’t feel I have to. I feel that he himself is in violation of his own oath and so forth, but the reasonable course, the most effective course, is to take a damage control mentality, hold on to what we still have, and work to restore that which has been lost.
These idiots refusing orders and giving interviews about it are part of the problem, not the solution. I said the ethics curriculum is taught, but it is obviously not always learned.
Finally, in making this point, I have glossed over the differences between the oath of enlistment and the oath of office. The differences are profound, (for example, the passage you cited above) but I have tried to stay on mostly commonly arguable territory, as of course officers are expected to include orders from a superior as part of their decision making, and enlisted have no small expectation to refuse or resist plainly unlawful orders.
None of which gets these order-refusing prima donnas off the hook for their stupidity. They knew the deal and they took the paychecks. The door was right there, but they didn’t walk until told to go to a hot place. Seems to me there’s a good case for charges of cowardice. See how they like that little bit of tradition.
Meanwhile, there’s the recent case of the Marine getting tossed for online postings which violate the UCMJ. He bagged on the COmmander-in-Chief in public, and issued statements about which orders he would and would not follow. The problem is that the way he did it was simply picking a fight with the entire chain of command. Dumb, dumb, dumb.
Stein said his statement about Obama was part of an online debate about NATO allowing U.S. troops to be tried for the Quran burnings in Afghanistan.
In that context, he said, he was stating that he would not follow orders from the president if it involved detaining U.S. citizens, disarming them or doing anything else that he believes would violate their constitutional rights.
I’m glad they’re juicing him. There is a right way and a wrong way to go about getting rid of a dictator, but this young man is in the wrong place to use public statements against the President. In following an oath, you must strive to satisfy all of it at once, not in pieces. In order to invalidate the “orders of the President and the officers appointed over me” clause, he would have to make the case (to himself, and certainly later to others) that every single officer in his chain of command was some combination of incompetent and unethical in order for him to be justified in being the first link to part from the chain.
An SOB in command is still in command, and this Marine lost sight of that
A little more willingness to hold people accountable earlier on could have saved us this trouble now.