Simple facts most soldiers do not understand: The government (state) is not our country; when you fight and die in undeclared wars, you do so for the State and not for our country or our freedoms; when you forsake the Constitution you swore to uphold and defend to follow unconstitutional orders, even from your commander-in-chief, you cross the line from defender of your country to the very real possibility of becoming a war criminal.
The inboxes at my email sites are constantly bombarded with pictures and articles designed to pull at my heartstrings and make me believe there are troops in Iraq and Afghanistan fighting for our freedoms. Many of these have wonderful stirring music intended to make one stand and salute. They picture our soldiers holding young Iraqi children and playing with stray animals — a fit sermon indeed for those who hold membership in the Church of Nationalism and worship its god: the State.
Does the insurgent in Iraq present a greater danger to freedom than the politicians who signed the Patriot Act without reading it? Is al Qaeda to be feared more than the suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus? Is the young Iraqi soldier fighting in the streets of Baghdad more dangerous to our freedoms than the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act, which allows the State to take direct control of any and all National Guard units over the objection of state and local officials to whom they report, through the simple expedient of declaring a “public emergency”? Just exactly who is the greatest threat to our individual rights and freedoms in this country?
In November of 2002, I was asked to present the commencement speech at the graduating class of Military Intelligence Officers at Ft. Huachuca, Arizona. It was a very difficult decision for me to accept this invitation; the storm clouds of war were definitely on the horizon. I had seen what I believed to be tainted intelligence in the media used to garner support for a war in Iraq. I wanted to do or say nothing that might in any way be seen as support for the coming conflict — those who promoted it, or those who would fight it — an almost impossible feat to accomplish in a military environment.
When the day arrived and I was introduced to those in attendance, which included high-ranking officers of the post, graduates, instructors, parents and guests, I began my presentation by asking how many in attendance remembered their oath of enlistment.
Everyone raised a hand indicating they did. I then asked how many could repeat that oath; a significantly smaller number raised their hand. I then read the Oath of Enlistment each soldier takes on entry into the various military branches. I emphasized the following was listed first in the oath and was therefore intended to be the most important:
“I, _____ , having been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of _____ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; …
I reminded them it was their duty to fully understand the meaning of the words and phrases: support, defend, and true faith and allegiance in the context of that oath. I told them that anytime they received orders, no matter the origin of those orders, when such orders were in conflict with their oath, they were honor bound to refuse to carry out those orders. I told them their first allegiance was to the Constitution and not to any politician who became their superior simply because they had tricked a majority of the people into voting for them. By this time the higher-ranking officers on the front row were beginning to squirm in their seats.
I spoke of domestic enemies and how much more insidious they are than those we call "foreign." I explained that when one is ordered by any superior to do that which is a violation of their oath, the entity issuing the illegal order becomes the domestic enemy mentioned in their oath.
I spoke to those gathered of my ignorance of my obligation to that oath during my military tenure, and the obvious offenses I felt I had committed and the unlawful orders I had obeyed. I stated I did not want them to make the same mistakes I had made. When I finished my presentation, the ranking officers on the front row made a hasty departure, but other instructors and soldiers stayed and presented their perfunctory appreciation.
I’m sure many of the young officers in attendance that day did not fully understand the presentation; most were in a hurry to check out, and get started on their leave before their next assignment.
Several days later, my son came to visit and was obviously in a state of anger. He related he had just returned from the Tucson, Arizona office of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) where he was interviewed for his Top Secret Clearance. During his interview the agent conducting his background check informed him that I was both a subversive and a racist; subversive because I had written articles critical of the government and racist because I was a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. At least they had it half right; I had written, and continue to write, articles that are critical of the government, but I have never been a member of the SCV. I qualify for membership in that organization because several of my relatives fought for the Confederacy, but I have never applied for membership.
I relate the incident with the agent of the DIA simply to show that once a person drops his/her support for the collective and assumes their individual God given rights, they become the enemy of the State.
Soldiers serving — and dying in the State’s illegal, immoral wars — do not serve their fellow countrymen, fight for our liberties or bear true faith and allegiance to our Constitution — they serve the collective that is busy stealing our liberties and destroying our Constitution.
Not one opposing force in Iraq or Afghanistan, or anyplace else on this planet, presents a greater threat to our liberty than the collective we call the State or the criminals who control it.
Michael Gaddy [send him mail], an Army veteran of Vietnam, Grenada, and Beirut, lives in the Four Corners area of the American Southwest.