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I am today, and I have always been, nothing more than a simple soldier.  I served as a soldier in the United States Army for nearly three decades because I believe in the Constitution of the United States of America.   I took an oath the day I entered the army on February the 5th 1968, and I lived the oath every day I served and I repeated and reaffirmed that oath before an officer every three years up until my retirement in 1996.

Here is the text of the oath taken not only by me but every other soldier, sailor, and airman who ever served and is currently serving in our armed forces:   "I, (state your name), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."

Now here is the text of the oath taken by George W. Bush upon entering the Texas Air National Guard:  I, {insert name here}, do solemnly swear, or affirm, that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

And, here is the text of the oath taken by George W. Bush upon entering the Office of the President of the United States:  "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Please note that each of these oaths contains the following text:  " defend the Constitution of the United States".

Amendment IV to the Constitution of the United States which I and every other soldier, sailor, airman, marine and George W. Bush swore to defend reads as follows:   "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

The Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq reads as follows:  "Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq"

"(2) acting pursuant to this resolution is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations or persons who planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorists attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001."

As Vice President Al Gore pointed out on Monday in a speech to the Media Conference President Bush has violated the law.   At least two of those violations are violations of the constitution that he swore to defend.  In addition to purposely directing the National Security Agency to conduct wiretaps of American citizens in direct violation of article IV of the constitution and in violation of the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) he has also directed the indefinite detention of American citizens, currently years in duration, denying them the right to due process and a speedy trial and he has allowed the torture of prisoners in violation of the Geneva Convention.

I have provided two small examples in the form of extracts from the constitution and the Joint Resolution so that you may see for yourself that both the constitution and the Joint Resolution are quite clear and there is no room for misinterpretation.   Amendment IV to the constitution guarantees a citizens right to privacy and no where in the Joint Resolution does Congress come close to changing that.   Because of that alone it is clear to me that the President is a liar and has violated the laws of this nation.

I find George W. Bush's acts to be particularly vile because by virtue of his position as president he is the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States and he has taken two separate oaths, on at least three occasions, and sworn that he would "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic;" and that he would "bear true faith and allegiance to the same" and he has purposely and knowingly violated those oaths.   I believe that what makes his violations of the law even more horrendous is that as a result of his acts thousands of lives have been lost and thousands of soldiers and civilian men, women, and children have been killed, wounded, and maimed and an innumerable number of American citizen's have had their constitutional rights violated.

Every day American soldiers all over the world take the same oath as President Bush and I did.   Some "solemnly swear" and others "affirm" but each and every one takes that oath and then willingly walks into harms way to uphold it.  Each one is willing to sacrifice their lives and limbs to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.   Each one loving their nation so much that they are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice.  As of today 2,221 soldiers have made that ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and have given their lives upholding their oaths and another 16,420 have spilled blood and left pieces of their bodies in the desert of Iraq upholding their oaths.

Unfortunately and apparently the President of the United States does not share those same values as our soldiers do.   Apparently George W. Bush either does not possess the moral fortitude and courage to live up to his sworn oath as do these brave men and women or he is a despicable, vile individual who would, without remorse, commit crimes against his countries constitution.   One can only come to one of those two conclusions based simply on the facts as they are publicly known.

I for one support Vice President Gores call for a special prosecutor and have already written to my Congressman and Senators urging that they either sponsor and or support such a measure.   I believe it is time for America to stand up and be counted.  We can no longer sit passively by as the Bush administration and neocon leaders of the House and Senate trample our constitution and our individual rights under that constitution.   We can no longer sit passively by as our brave men and women go into combat in a misguided military adventure perpetrated by a dispassionate and morally bankrupt administration.  

PS:  I think he has oath issues.

Those Are The Sergeant Majors Thoughts On That.

Originally posted to SGT MAJOR MYERS on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 02:12 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  recommended (4.00)
    I think Bush has issues with more than just oaths.

    So have a recommend.

    If you vote Republican, you vote for corruption.

    by MN camera on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 02:16:34 PM PST

  •  Very well put. (4.00)
    I especially appreciate your emphasis on his oath to support and defend the Constitution.  I never really thought of this before, but I would have expected the oath to require that he (and you) defend THE NATION.  The oath, as written, puts the Constitution foremost, in effect equating the document, the agreement, with the nation.  Not our soil, not even our people, but the sacred contract forms the basis of our nation and our identity.  You defend that which is most important.
    •  It always has been and to me that is the argument (4.00)
      against the flag burning amendment.  Look understand what the constitution is, an idea, a belief, a set of rules that we agree to follow and govern ourselves by.  The document we all hold so dear is just the physical manifestation of that idea.  Hell, even if someone were to burn the origional, convict them of destroying a priceless treasure, a work of art, whatever, but the constitution is carried in the hearts and minds of the citizens.  THATS what makes it powerful.  That is why those that seek to destroy democracy try to shift the focus from the idea, to the symbol.  ONe it's there, you can do anything you want, as long as the flag flys high.
    •  What is America? (4.00)
      What makes it special, in the way we like to think of it?  It isn't the particularity of its geographic location, or the individuals who inhabit that plot of land.  It is, rather, a set of ideals about how people should order their affairs together, to the greatest benefit of all.  

      A set of flawed but brilliant men came together with new ideas about this problem, and gave us the ideal of America as expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.  Subsequent generations have made some changes and improvements in that Constitution, but it remains the concise, beautiful expression of what America truly is.

      George Bush has seized custody of that set of ideals, and claimed the office of President.  He has shown, day by day and act by act, that he understands nothing of what makes America special.  He has, in the eyes of its citizens and of the world, turned our precious Constitution into "just a piece of paper."  

      More than any other offense, this is why he should be impeached.  He has betrayed the soul of America.  He must go.

      -4.50, -5.85 Lies are the new Truth.

      by Dallasdoc on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 04:07:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks Brother........... (4.00)
    I appreciate the clarity of your words. Recommended.

    Camp Patriot Kuwait

    -5.13,-5.63 IMPEACH...IMPEACH...IMPEACH...

    by rickeagle on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 02:24:11 PM PST

  •  hooray for simple soldiers (none)
    recommended and a big nod of thanks from me.

    The point is clear, the message is simple.

    Claws beat Skin Take Back America

    by polydactyl on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 02:24:13 PM PST

  •  Here's to leadership (none)
    Leadership entails garnering the support and respect of those who are following you.  Bush has managed neither.  Instead he has others attack while he hides behind his vile agents of personal destruction.

    If he cannot be forthright in his associations, why should we believe he has any qualms about violating oaths.

  •  Leadership (4.00)
    is something soldiers understand - and it involves earning (and deserving) the respect of those you lead - and respecting those you lead.  A true leader is trusted to do his best and protect those he leads. A true leader puts the welfare of those he leads above his own.

    Our President is not a leader.

  •  And so... (none)
    ...what does the Uniform Code of Military Justice say about obeying the President when he is in fact a domestic enemy of the Constitution that the military has sworn to protect?

    A conundrum?

    •  Well (4.00)
      I'm just a simple soldier but I think the framers had that in mind when the built in the separation of powers and checks and balances.  I think Congress and the Senate should probably do their job and appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the alleged violations on the part of the executive branch.  For soldiers to do anything would be mutiny I believe and I think the punishment for that is the firing squad.
      •  Thanks... (none)
        ...I too believe that the prosecutor is the appropriate way too proceed. I am just wondering if the military could ever be justified in not following the President's orders. E.g if impeached and convicted and he refuses to move out. I guess in that case he would not be Pres. so the answer is clear.
        •  When Nixon was pretty much. . . (4.00)
          . . . going mad in the White House, Al Haig was asked to talk him into resigning.

          Being a pretty cleared-eyed fellow, he refused, and told the Republican leadership that the politicians needed to do this themselves. If a military man told the President to step down, he'd be committing a coup.

          So yes, we entrust the military to the President, but we entrust the control of the Presidency to the Congress and the Courts (God help us).

          When only the government lacks virtue, there remains a resource in the people's virtue; but when the people itself is corrupted, liberty is already lost.

          by Robespierrette on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 04:14:29 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  And they wrote the 2nd amendment (none)
        into the Bill of Rights, ensuring the right to bear arms so that, if needed, we could overthrow our government again.

        If only they could have imagined the military today, I'm sure they would have paid much more attention to this part of their work.

      •  In Australia... (none)
        ...soldiers are required to prevent the enfocement of illegal order to the point of arresting or if necessary shooting their commanding officer - or it was so in the 70s anyway.

        I thought it was the same in the States, but mayne not.

        Truckle the Uncivil, Nullus Anxietas Sanguinae

        by Truckle on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 09:21:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I seem to recall that it was our duty to (none)
        question orders we perceived to be illegal.

        "Following orders" went out as a defense at Nuremberg

        It is still touchy ground though and guaranteed to end any military career.  Look at Fishback.
        Rumsfeld himself sent out word to kill this guy's career for going public over prisoner abuse.

        I expect lots of people are screwed - even if administrations change in 08.  Seems like new Administrations rarely go back and correct injustices.  

    •  It's not up to the soldiers (4.00)
      According to the Manual for Courts-Martial (MCM), any soldier who
      "willfully disobeys a lawful command of his superior commissioned officer... shall be punished, if the offense is committed in time of war, by death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct..."

      It also places the onus of disobeying an order on the subordinate;

      An order requiring the performance of a military duty or act may be inferred to be lawful and it is disobeyed at the peril of the subordinate..."

      The MCM also clearly states that

      "...the dictates of a person's conscience, religion, or personal philosophy cannot justify or excuse the disobedience of an otherwise lawful order..."

      It is not up to the soldiers to try and enforce the law on the President. It is up to each and every one of us, as American citizens, and our elected officials. We are responsible, and we have to own up to that responsibility.

      The soldiers have done thier duty. Now it is time for us to do ours.


  •  Anyone read (4.00)
    "Be, Know, Do, Leadership the Army Way," by Gen. Eric Shinseki & Eric Hesselbein?

    Very good book. Something the leaders of our country would benefit from reading. Oh, I forgot, Gen. Shinseki is on BushCo's "People who are dead to me" list.

    This book is on the must-read list of Fortune 500 senior execs. It should be on our list, too. Because we're all just common soldiers in the war to take our nation back.

    •  Excellent book (4.00)
      and he is one of my personal role models so that's probably why I write this stuff.  And, why I can't stand the guy that fired him.
    •  the three components of leadership: (4.00)
        forward looking
        Interpersonal skills
        Conceptual skills
        Technical skills
        Tactical skills
        Influencing -- using interpersonal skills to guide others toward a goal.

        Operating -- acting to accomplish an organization's immediate objectives.

        Improving -- striving to leave an organization in better shape then when you found it.

      In a world where no individual can possibly have all the answers, it is the inclusive organization that excels. Leaders of those organizations know they must disperse leadership across the organization, ban the hierarchy, and create more circular, flexible,a nd fluid management systems based on collaborative relationships, the wise use of teams, and mutual respect. ("Be, Know, Do, pg. 21)

      This does not mean ignoring your military commanders while at war in favor of civilian commanders constitute a successful leader. It does not mean treating half the American population as if their values, ideals, and concerns put them on a par with terrorists means you're a good leader. It does not mean the dishonesty of Abrofunds and stolen elections qualify you to lead.

  •  I wish...... (none)
    Protect from foreign and domestic..Domestic crime in our govt is getting huge..Who is going to protect us from our corrupt govt..I wish our soldiers could..protect us from our president...
  •  You mean Guardsman don't take an oath (none)
    to "obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice..."?

    If that's the case, what's to prevent a Guardsman from respectfully declining the President's invitation to the Grand Iraqi Ball?

    God loves atheists, too.

    by GoMommyGo on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 03:27:03 PM PST

  •  I took that oath too (4.00)
    And to be honest with you, I took it about as seriously as GWB apparently did.

    All my life, I had taken this country and the Constitution completely for granted. It just wasn't something I ever thought about. It had always been here. Always would be.

    On July 4th, 2003, as I stood outside watching fireworks, I started crying. I realized that this bunch of crooks and liars are out to DESTROY this country! MY country! Land that I love! I had NEVER considered myself patriotic but I stood there feeling so much sadness and fear about that that it really surprised me.

    I think that the tide is turning against them now. At least we can see a few cracks. I'm not religious either but I still often find myself praying, "God Help Us."

  •  Hear, hear! (4.00)
    Thank you.  The Oath is to protect and defend The Constitution of the U.S.A., not Halliburton's corporate bylaws.

    How hard is that to understand?  

    The future ain't what it used to be. Yogi Berra

    by x on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 04:11:40 PM PST

    •  Well, Bush is oath challenged. (none)
      "It is not the oath that make us believe the man, but the man the oath." Aeschylus

      "One cannot be pessimistic about the West. This is the native land of hope." Wallace Stegner [-7.13 -6.97]

      by Mother Mags on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 08:49:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Should we establish a peoples tribunal? (none)
    I took the same oath you did. It means the same thing to me that it means to you.

    By the terms of our oath it is up to us to preserve protect and defend the constitution whether Congress or the Courts or our fellow Americans see it as their job as well or not.

    I have no idea where in the constitution it says that America shall maintain a standing army or thatthe president shall be be commander in chiefof said army, if its not here under presidential powers.

    "Section 2. The President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States; "

    Thats a limited power because its subject to the condition ...when called into the actual service of the United States; ..."

    which requires what it says here under legislative powers, that Congress shall call him into service, in this case by issuing a letter of Marque or authorization to pursue pirates, in this case people who pirated airships
    and flew them into buildings."

    Section 8. The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

    To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the law of nations;
    To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water;

    To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;
    To provide and maintain a navy;
    To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;
    To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;
    To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
    To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.

    The evolution of the U.S. Army, from its humble origins in the colonial militia through its official creation during the Revolution and the massive bloodletting of the Civil War to the first tentative steps on the path to empire, was slow and uncertain.

    Throughout this long evolution, American citizens wavered between the ideals of a "nation in arms," of a citizen militia, and the stability of a well-trained, professional standing army.

    Safe behind its ocean barriers and supported by the intellectual ideals of its enlightenment-trained founders, America resisted the creation of a large standing military force as both unnecessary and dangerous to its liberty.

    Building on the colonial tradition of defending the expanding settlements from Indians, the American Army could not ignore its vital role as a force in being even if it conflicted with the philosophy of the founding fathers.

    Necessity required such a force; but inclination continued to keep it small, except during the years of crisis of the Revolution (1775-1783) and the Civil War (1861-1865).

    Even in those instances, and especially in the latter case, much of the fighting was done by volunteer formations that were disbanded at the end of the war; the Regular Army grew only slightly during America's first century, even during the horror of the Civil War.

    If for most of our history the Constitution has not been held to require a standing army what requires a different reading now?

    The condition is simple.

    Section 2. ...when called into the actual service of the United States...

    That can only occur when Congress either declares War or issues a Letter of Marque.

    There is no provision that calls for a standing army and for most of our history we have not had one.

    ...when called into the actual service of the United States...
    The President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states...

    Not the least of what this unitary executive power does is allow the President to have the say of what his Defense Department does.

    Thats all well and good but Congress needs to tell him when to stop using force as well as when to begin and it needs to take from him the money he intends to use to go on into Iran.

    If he goes ahead and does that on his own he needs to be stopped and held to account for his crimes to preserve protect and defend the constitution or pretty soon its going to be a meaningless piece of paper.

  •  Terorists are not the threat (none)
    Democracy is the threat to the cabal in the WH.

    They hate us for our freedoms.

  •  Oath Issues. Amen. (none)
    Thank you, Sargeant Major!  

    Well and cogently written.

    Now, when does your compaigan start?  

  •  It's the responsibility of the civilian population (none)
    To hold elected officials accountable.

    I think it is something most Americans have forgotten.

    I really appreciate this post- it is a very important reminder that ALL elected officials in DC take an oath to UPHOLD AND DEFEND THE CONSTITUTION.

    The problem today is that the majority party could care less about that oath.

    I doubt GW has ever even read the Constitution, and if he did, it was decades ago, and even then, he probably thought it was a waste of time (he could have been partying!).

    This GOP and this Admin care about only one thing: Absolute Power.

    Nothing else matters to them, not the Law, not Human Rights, not even the Judicial Branch of govt.

    As far as the PNAC is concerned, they wrote their own version of a constitution which is why they demonstrate nothing but contempt for ours.

  •  Oh hell yes. (none)

    "In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

    by Five of Diamonds on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 07:33:36 PM PST

  •  Lets hope America... (none)
    ...wakes the fuck up by November and takes your words to heart and votes to neuter this congress so we can shine some light in the dark corners. Lets get all the cockroaches out so we can see what they've been eating on our dime.

    Even as he took that oath on that "Goddamned Piece of Paper" he knew he he had already broken his oath numerous times despite the assurances of his yes men lawyers. Yet he put his hand on that bible in 05 , smirking,  and took that Oath again.

    He needs to walk the mean streets of Iraq wearing some of that crappy armor with the escape being a beat up Humvee yelling "Bring it on".

    Diebold, the hand of God
    Oversize Rants Available Overnight at
    The Image Factory

    by Dburn on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 07:55:07 PM PST

  •  I sent this letter... (none) stars'n stripes.

    I'd be intererested in your response.

    A question from an allied national.

    Firstly, I would like to apologise if anyone finds this question offensive, but I need to ask it because I really do not understand and it is troubling me.

    Secondly I would like to put the question in context.  I am an Australian was conscripted in 1970 to fight in the Vietnam war.  Many people claimed they were pacifists and refused to serve, some went to jail for it and some were granted pacifist status.  I strongly disbelieved (and still do) in aggressive wars and felt that Vietnam was indeed a war of aggression  but I am not entirely a pacifist, since I believe people and peoples have the right to defend themselves.  So I went "in" having no legal choice in the matter.  Nevertheless I chose to exercise an option that all conscripts were theoretically granted  - to choose a non-combatant corps.  Rather than this right being granted, I wound up facing a review and a tribunal for spurious reasons.

    During this tribunal the matter of laws, military laws and international laws were brought up.  I pointed out that it was my legal and moral obligation to refuse any order an officer gave that was illegal under the Articles of the Geneva Convention and that I would have no trouble at all with my conscience if it became necessary to arrest or shoot my commanding officer should he issue and try to enforce such an order.  The result was the option of being placed in the signals corps with a domestic posting or an honorable discharge with full benefits.  I chose the latter.  Sometimes (usually) principles pay off.  And so they should because I placed myself in a position where I could be put in a situation of certain death or indefinite military imprisonment.  The legality and honour of my ideals was recognised by to out of three.

    So, now the question.  Why on Earth have your senior military officers not refused the orders of your commander-in-chief or arrested him?  They have now become complicit in his crimes.  Why is no-one in the US military refusing illegal orders?

    I know some will find this offensive and to those I apologise  but I ask you to consider this anyway as I would dearly like to know the answer.

    There is nothing more important than the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America except the Geneva Convention.  Why are none of these things currently respected by military personnel?  Is there no honour left in the USofA or Australia?  Didn't they take an oath to protect these thing form all enemies foreign and domestic?

    Truckle the Uncivil,  Nullus Anxietas Sanguinae

    But remember, please, the Law by which we live,
        We are not built to comprehend a lie.
    We can neither love nor pity, nor forgive,
        If you make a slip in handling us you die!
           --The Secret of the Machines-- Rudyard Kipling

    In the actual letter I supplied my legal name.

    Do you think that if published it may start some people thinking?

    Truckle the Uncivil, Nullus Anxietas Sanguinae

    by Truckle on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 09:14:05 PM PST

    •  I suspect a few are wondering the same (none)
      but as has been pointed out, reality intrudes for many who might take this action.....

      careers ended, pensions lost, blacklisting and even for NSA and spook whistleblowers, prosecutions....

      so you get what you're starting to see.....

      perceiving a changing tide, there are increased "leaks" that add to the growing body of bad deeds.... peopleare acting surreptitiously...

      Yes, it's good to act on principle - but those that do tend to get screwed in doing so.

      •  I am sorry my friend but... (none)
        ...being complicit in muder to keep a job pension or even stay out of jail is simply not an excuse.  It is well past time to put your lives on the line for your beliefs.

        I am not suggesting violence I am suggesting that you must force violence (against you) upon them.

        First they laugh....

        Truckle the Uncivil, Nullus Anxietas Sanguinae

        by Truckle on Thu Jan 19, 2006 at 08:39:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Hey, Sergeant Major.... (none)
    Since I haven't seen you around before now, I just thought I'd welcome you to the growing list of fighting Kossacks.:)
  •  Sgt. Major (none)
    Why don't you condense your diary down to a letter size with the aim of sending it to Stars and Stripes? Make sure that the letter you send is acceptable for length and clarity for their LTE page.

    It would be useful for officers and enlisteds to see and understand your excellent points.

    Unsolicited advice: Leave out all references to Gore and his speech. Simply state you support "recent calls for a Special Prosecutor to be appointed"; leave out references to Bush being "vile" or lacking moral fortitude.

    It will be quite effective and pack a good political punch if you state directly and concisely the fact that he took these oaths, as soldiers do, and then point out (list) the crimes he has commited.

    The Stars and Stripes Letters to the Editor page is the most widely read page. Even the generals read it.

  •  Thank you Sergeant Major! (none)
    As the scandals pile up Pellion on Ossa, this has become my framework:
    The President and others below him have violated their oaths of office often knowingly, and with increasing openness.
    Then, one simply checks the oaths and the Constitution, and sorts through grim news articles accordingly. Thing is, I'm running out of desk space.

    I first learned about the oaths that many federal officers take---not just military, and not just elected---from Richard Clarke's introduction to his book, Against All Enemies. For those who did not know, the oath that Clarke took during his federal service is the source of that title, and I believe also the true key to the message he hoped to convey. It expands on what I take as Paul O'Neill's point in The Price of Loyalty (by Susskind), that hidden agendas can lead to the kind of systematic breakdowns that surely resemble incompetence. At the very least, I think we have learned that authoritarian intentions link naturally to methods that are contrary to the letter and spirit of our Constitution.

  •  We have an obligation (none)
    to cease co-operation with this junta's violations of our Constitution.

    When the Social Compact is dissolved on one side, we serve no purpose in maintaining its forms toward some future reconciliation, but are required -- by Duty, Honor, Country -- to proceed straightaway to remove it from power, and remove our powers from its hands.

    This is not a parody of the 1776 moment, by the Monarchist faction, and our response should not be a parody, or passivity, but an original and effective refusal to the rollback of our Republic.

    If a thousand men were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State...

    by HenryDavid on Thu Jan 19, 2006 at 03:40:45 AM PST

  •  He's an Oathbreaker (none)
    Plain and simple. It dishonors the oath that I took and it shames me. I am not happy about that.

    Somebody really needs to tell the White House that "1984" is a cautionary tale, not a political guidebook.

    by jabbausaf on Thu Jan 19, 2006 at 03:43:43 AM PST

  •  VFP 72 November 2004 editorial (none)
    Written by our chapter President elect.

    Veterans Day 2004: All enemies, foreign and domestic
    "I, ___, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."

    Millions have spoken these or similar words upon enlistment in the Armed Forces of the United States. Most were US citizens, but many were not. Many were volunteers, while others were draftees. Most were men, but many were women. Since the founding of the Continental Army in 1775, the United States military has drawn on people of every race, cultural heritage, religion, and sex to serve the nation in providing for the "common defence". I am one of these millions, and although it has been sixteen years since I first spoke the words of the oath of enlistment, they have stayed with me.

    A number of things strike me about this oath that I took at the age of 21. Most significant to me is that the oath has no time limit placed on it; the Oath does not expire at the end of the term of enlistment. It goes on. My service in the military may have ended in 1993, but my promise is with me still.

    The oath of enlistment makes three vows. The first is to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies. The second is a vow of fealty to that Constitution. The third is an affirmation to abide by the rules and structure of the service the new recruit is about to enter.

    The Constitution. We veterans have sworn an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Who are these enemies of the Constitution? Are there foreign enemies who would destroy our Constitution? Not from what I can see. The leaders of this country have told us that our foreign enemies -- terrorists -- hate our freedom, presumably the freedoms derived from the Constitution, and are attempting to destroy us because of the freedoms we enjoy (not because of any actions we have taken in their homelands). But our overseas enemies cannot take our freedoms from us for themselves, nor can their attacks profit at all by taking away our Constitution.

    In particular, the idea of others hating our freedom does not ring true as our leaders' response to the attacks we have suffered is to beat the enemy to the punch, so to speak, when they themselves restrict the Constitutional freedoms that we have enjoyed for generations. Leaders of the current Administration have taken a nation that was once one huge land of Free Speech, and restricted it to "Free Speech Zones" whenever the President or his Cabinet members are nearby. They have prosecuted people for exercising their rights to Free Assembly and Free Associaton. These leaders have imprisoned people without charge, searched their personal lives without due process, denied them trial by jury, coerced them into self-incrimination, attempted to enforce their religious priorities on the citizenry of the United States, and attempted to halt the self-governance of the people of individual states, apparently violating the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the Constitution.

    Curiously, the oath of office for President of the United States has a clause in it similar to the first clause of the soldier's oath: "preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States." So what is one to do when the President violates his oath? The third part of the oath of enlistment specifically mentions obedience to the President, the Commander in Chief. What a predicament this places on the honor-bound soldier -- his oath in conflict with itself!

    As a veteran, I must take a closer look at this oath that I have held near my heart for so long. Of the three parts of the soldier's oath, obedience to the President is third, placing it in the lowest priority in my mind. Next, being only one of three parts of the oath, the greater weight is obviously given to the Constitution. Finally, unlike the other two parts of the oath, the section requiring obedience to the President is tucked inside a clause about adherence to military regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the only part of the oath specifically about the troop's conduct during the period of enlistment. This appears to be a deliberate tie into the military service of the new recruit, thus the one part of the oath that ends with the term of enlistment. From these, I see my marching orders written on the wall.

    My first allegiance is to The Constitution of the United States; my first duty is to protect it from all enemies, foreign and domestic; and my vow of obedience to the President of the United States expired in 1993.

    Therefore, I stand today opposed to my President, and the anti-American, un-Constitutional, unpatriotic Administration for which he serves as figurehead. I will do my part to voice my opposition, educate the populace, diligently support my political causes, and work with others to restore American freedoms to their former glory.

    As a soldier, I made a promise. As a veteran, I will carry that promise with me to the end of my days.

    Sean T Lewis
    Disabled American Veteran
    Persian Gulf War I
    Portland, Oregon

    Me in full swag

    "The truth is a noble cause".

    by BOHICA on Thu Jan 19, 2006 at 06:13:43 AM PST

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