Al Lorentz July 3 2003
I have been hearing a lot of state sponsored propaganda regarding our latest imperialistic foray into Iraq. While there was a thin veneer of justification for the war under the pretense that Saddam had Weapons of Mass Destruction (although his ability and motivation to use them against the United
States of America is highly unlikely), the latest round of "justifications" for this war do not pass Constitutional Muster.
I have heard many of the shouting lunatics of talk radio use a number of rationalizations for their war. They have stated unequivocally that, even if we do not find Weapons of Mass Destruction, the evidence of Saddam's brutality to the Iraqi people is justification enough. Never mind that they are saying it is okay for the government to deceive us, so long as it is for good reasons. Somehow good intentions and high motives excuse deceit and needless war.
No it doesn't.
Here is the oath of enlistment taken by all members of the United States military.
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
I do not see anything within this oath that says a soldier is supposed to engage in war to liberate another nation, to provide humanitarian aid and comfort or even to enforce international law. I do not see a requirement to wear the uniform of the United Nations or to serve under their commanders, to serve in a "peacekeeping" capacity or in short to do anything but to support and defend the Constitution of The United States of America.
But what about "the orders of the president of the United States"?
While it is true that the office of president has been convoluted into a sort of monarchy whereby the president rules as a feudal lord ("Stroke of the Pen, Law of the Land), it should be noted that this is an illegal activity of the presidency. The problem is that the people of America have become so ignorant of the Constitution that they say and do nothing when our president ignores the Constitution, bypasses the Congress and mocks the Senate by declaring himself to be the embodiment of all three branches of government.
As a soldier I am trained that, if given an unlawful or illegal order, I am NOT to obey this order, regardless of who gives it. I know this comes as a shock to the "experts" on the military who have never served a day in uniform and whose notions about the military come from comic books and Hollywood movies but it is true nonetheless. In fact, if I witness an illegal or unlawful order being issued or worse, obeyed, I as an NCO am required to stop this activity. This is the essence of law over the ruler, namely that no individual is allowed to issue an illegal order because to do so would be an attempt to overthrow the law and impose their own will.
Presidents and others with authority in America also have limitations on their authority, again, I realize this will not settle too well with some whose understanding of the Constitution and the law is limited to what they learned in public school or from watching television but it is still the truth.
We fought a bloody war over 200 years ago to do away with Kings yet by our ignorance we have subjected ourselves to them once again. Civilization has realized that in order for there to be life, liberty and prosperity there must be a system of laws that stand above any and all rulers, a system known as Lex Rex or Law over the Ruler. Sadly, too many Americans are willing to allow and support the president imposing his will above the law, provided it is THEIR president.
The President is the Chief Executive, his duties are to Execute the law. His duties do not include writing the law, interpreting the law or in any way operating outside of the strict limitations of his power as defined in the United States Constitution. Again, just because presidents have been doing so for several decades does not and should not imply that they are acting legally. Therefore when a president orders a member of the military to engage in anything that falls outside of their oath of enlistment, he is in effect abusing his office and committing fraud, waste and abuse. An illegal order from the president is just as illegal as one given by the lowest Corporal.
While soldiers, especially National Guardsmen have from time to time been ordered to perform humanitarian missions at home but this is vastly different from doing so in a foreign country. Certainly this is nothing on the level of engaging in war against a sovereign foreign nation as we have done in Iraq. The mission of the military is not to establish peace in Iraq nor is it to liberate the people of Iraq. While these are no doubt laudable and commendable goals, they are not within the venue of the military of the United States and no president who respects our Constitution or the rule of law would dare use them otherwise.
The words "National Interest" do not appear in the Constitution either and this phrase has become a sort of holy grail to foreign policy wonks. Our military is deployed, ostensibly to defend our "National Interests" but this is not a valid or Constitutional use of the military. National Interest is simply a word to help excuse an imperialistic worldview that is anathema to the writings of the Founding Fathers and to our system of laws, checks and balances. The only "National Interest" worth fighting and dying for lies within the borders of our United States and the Constitution of this great Republic.
Al Lorentz is a Fundamentalist Christian, father and devoted husband, state chairman of the Constitution Party of Texas. Al has served as a Marine Sniper and later as an Airborne Ranger in the Texas National Guard. He welcomes your comments at email@example.com