Sunday, December 01, 2013

An appeal to my brothers in arms:

By John P. Smith
Freelance Writer
Quality Engineer
Computer Programmer
Staff Sgt., USAF, 1982 - 1990
EMT, Fayetteville, Ark., 1996 - 2000

“If once the people become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress and Assemblies, Judges and Governors, shall all become wolves. It seems to be the law of our general nature, in spite of individual exceptions.” -- Thomas Jefferson.

Surely we can come up with something better from Thomas Jefferson. Try this one.

“Experience has shown, that even under the best forms (of government) those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.” -- Thomas Jefferson.

It’s said to be bad form, or just laziness, to start an article with a quote.  But I say Thomas Jefferson is rarely wrong.  He was a brilliant statesman, politician and soldier.  He saw this coming 240 years ago.  Despite his efforts to prevent it, here we are, balanced on the precipice, doomed to fall, but with some choice left as to where we land.

How about something a little more recent:

“To be patriotic is to be able to question government policy in times of crisis. To be patriotic is to stand up for the Bill of Rights and the Constitution in times of uncertainty and insecurity. To be patriotic is to speak up against the powerful in defense of the weak and the voiceless. To be patriotic is to be willing to pay the price to preserve our freedoms, dignity, and rights. To be patriotic is to challenge the abuses of the PATRIOT Act.”  -- Sami Al-Arian  (Here’s a guy who seriously got sent up the river by the Patriot Act.)

To All Officer and Enlisted military, Police and Constables, Agents, Rangers, Marshals:

The day has come to pass that will force you to choose exactly where your loyalties lie. Perhaps not at this very moment, but soon enough, you will have to decide whether you’re one of us, or one of them.
One of us is a citizen, a patriot, an individual of good character, who sees this country and the values we, and our fathers, fought to preserve being trampled underfoot and casually tossed aside like some relic of a distasteful history.
One of them is the people who find our Constitution an inconvenient obstruction standing in the path of usurping our way of life.
Are you one of us, or one of them?  This will not be an easy question to answer.  Nor should it be.  But when you are at that crossroads, I want you to think, really think, for yourself.  This may not even come naturally.  Your training and indoctrination as part of the enforcement arm of the establishment has prepared you to act instinctively, doing what you’re told, as soon as you’re told, without question.
Remember: You have a choice.  You have to question.
Here is your moment: You’re ordered to go into a U.S. city and forcibly suppress an insurrection by hungry, angry citizens.  The young officer in charge, faced with overwhelming odds and red-faced angry colonels barking orders to get the crowd under control, calls weapons free.  Someone starts shooting.  Do you? Do you fire on the citizens you swore to protect?  These are people who have had enough tyranny and not enough food.  Do you shoot them?
Ask yourself why you’re in the military, why you’re a cop, why you’re an agent, or why you became a Forest Service Ranger or TSA Agent?
Is this it?  Did you sign up to murder your friends and neighbors?
Probably not.
And you don’t have to.

Remember -- the Berlin Wall.

This is a great story from  A former East German Army Lieutenant Colonel, Gunter Spens, tells how the East German military refused unlawful orders given by the Communist Party to crush peaceful mass protests and simply stood down, staying on the base.  Without the support of the military, the communist party and their Stasi secret police were powerless.  Once the military refused orders to stop the mass protests on November 7, 1989, the secret police knew the gig was up and stripped off their uniforms, trying to melt into crowds or pretending to be normal soldiers.  Two days later, the Berlin Wall fell.
The article continues:  “Our military should be expected to do AT LEAST as well as the military of East Germany when/if orders come down to oppress the American people.  That is what we should expect of them, and what we should demand of them.  If they simply remember their oath, and refuse unlawful orders, tyranny cannot come to America.  And if, God forbid, an American President were tempted to try to “suspend the Constitution” and declare “martial law” (which is nowhere in our Constitution), our military should simply stand down and, regardless of how unlawful the commands, resist the temptation of military coup in response, which has been the bane of many a Republic.”  

I was in the military when the Berlin Wall fell.  There were some tense moments, when it looked like that same old thing, where the people would get fed up the government’s crap and march on the capitol in protest.  And the government, Communists at their best, would not hesitate to bring in the military and order them to open fire on their own people.  Remember Tiananmen Square?
But in 1991, I was out of the service, when the Soviet Union toppled.  The most tense, dynamic image from that moment I remember was during the coup attempt, Boris Yeltsin standing on the front of a tank asking everybody to just wait.  I do not know exactly what was said, but I know he was addressing the crowd that had barricaded the Russian Parliament building and the soldiers in the tanks. That was a pivotal moment in history: The Soviet Army refused to fire; and the whole world changed.  

The Fully Informed Jury Association lobbied and educated for years to let jury members know that if they disagreed with a law, they should always vote for acquittal, even if the defendant was clearly guilty of breaking that law; because the law was wrong.
And let’s face it; there are just some stupid bad laws out there.  Every day, more are being passed or, worse, enacted by Executive Order.  Here’s the thing: Any time a law is passed, enacted or signed into being, it takes away liberties and freedoms.  Government doesn’t EVER pass legislation to add rights or liberties; only to limit, block and infringe.  The only way to legislate more freedom into being is to remove current legislation.

Remember -- Oath of Office.

Oath of Enlistment
I, (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.

Officer’s Oath
I, [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; 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.

You’ve sworn to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States and follow the orders of the President and officers appointed over you.  But, what if those orders coming down are contrary to what the Constitution allows?  Know now: “Just following orders” is not an excuse, as determine by the war crimes tribunals of World War II and later cases.  According to military courts, “the justification for acts done pursuant to orders does not exist if the order was of such a nature that a man of ordinary sense and understanding would know it to be illegal."

Remember -- Our Young People

As a soldier or policeman, you have to wonder what kind of evil, tyrannical government would need you to protect its members from an angry mob.  On the other side of that fence: What kind of tyranny would drive otherwise-peaceful people into the streets to face armed soldiers and police rather than accept any more crap from the government which is supposed to serve them?
We are Americans.  Yes, we’re soft, lazy and non-confrontational, generally, because most of the stupidity going down in the world isn’t worth being mad about.  We’ve also been indoctrinated into the mindset that non-compliance leads to punishment and ostracization.  Actually, that’s not just a mindset: That’s what happens.
Then, again, we’re Americans who are being pushed to our limits.  More than one politician has discovered that once we get backed into a corner, we’ll fight. And we’re damn good at it.

-- Conclusion

To sum up: As a soldier or law enforcement officer, you have a responsibility to the Citizens of this country. If you know that what you are defending, supporting or protecting is not in compliance with the stated aims of Constitution you’ve sworn to protect; if you understand it is illegal, immoral or just plain wrong; regardless of where the orders originated, and you choose to support it nonetheless, then you are part of the problem. If you’re standing on the wrong side of the barricade; you’re one of them.

This is a shout out to Josie the Outlaw, who put it on video:

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