Are Enough Oath Takers Oath Keepers?
I just ran across a post from two months back on the CDR Salamander blog, “The Sad Truth About Illegal Orders.” I can’t really claim to know much about the blog or this blogger, but I cite it here because he raises a question that seems particularly suited for Oath Keepers. He recounts an exchange between presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump and Bret Baier of Fox News, specifically on Trump’s endorsement of waterboarding, going “stronger” on terrorists, and targeting their families.
Baier referred to an open letter signed by “almost 100 foreign policy experts,” saying “the military will refuse because they’ve been trained to turn down and refuse illegal orders. So what would you do, as commander-in-chief, if the U.S. military refused to carry out those orders?”
“They won’t refuse,” Trump replied. “They’re not going to refuse me. Believe me.”
“Citizens of a free republic are applauding a man who is telling everyone two things that should disgust anyone who took an oath to ‘support and defend the Constitution of the United States,’” the blogger notes. “1. The CINC will issue illegal orders. 2. His military will gladly follow those illegal orders. 3. Citizens applaud 1 & 2.”
As for members of the military who might refuse?
“The more I’ve thought about it, the more I think my initial instinct is wrong,” CDR Salamander admits. “That might be an internal dialog, but once a senior officer looks you in the eye, and even if you make a protest says, ‘The JAG stated,’ or ‘The Justice Department ruled that,’ there are very few who will resist.”
That goes to the crux of what Oath Keepers is about, noting the oath is to the Constitution and the applicability of the Uniform Code of Military Justice as binding law prohibiting a Nuremberg-style “I was only following orders” defense. That’s the legal basis for “Orders we will not obey.”
And that, of course, is used by subversive “progressives” to label Oath Keepers “anti-government extremists” (and worse). That’s part of the Orwellian “War is peace; Freedom is slavery; Ignorance is strength” contradictions employed by the evil to influence and exploit the ignorant and advance the totalitarian agenda.
But here’s the thing — these are the same people who, at least publicly, decry obeying orders against foreign enemies, but demand they be followed against the domestic population, especially in regard to following orders to disarm the American people.
The former can make for an interesting hypothetical discussion: Must the Constitution be a suicide pact? It’s the Hollywood trope of the terrorist who’s going to set off a nuke in a major city and kill millions – what do you do? And that, of course, opens up an entire slippery slope for where a line can and should be drawn. Or we could make it more up close and personal: Your family is being held hostage. I’m part of the plot, know where they are, and ain’t talking. Unless you act quickly, well, you get the drift. At what point do you start carving?
Fortunately, these seem to be scenarios relegated to “popular” ultraviolence fiction, as opposed to real world dilemmas an Oath Keeper is likely to encounter. The orders to be refused seem pretty unambiguous, legally and morally. So the real question here, going back to CDR Salamander’s contention, is will they be refused by a significant enough number of active duty colleagues to make a difference?
Many here are no doubt familiar with the infamous Twenty-Nine Palms survey, in which Marines were asked, among other things, “if they would be willing to swear to a United Nations code of conduct and if they would fire on Americans who refused to turn over their privately owned weapons to the government.” That’s the kind of abuse the “progressive” gun-grabbers demand from those they expect to perform confiscations on their behalf, and sadly, we saw no small amount of both police and National Guard members who seemed willing to do whatever it took in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina (and some who did not). We even saw “conservative” talking head Bill O’Reilly trying to take Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes to task on confiscating arms during “emergencies.”
So the question being asked here is not would someone who is an Oath Keepers member refuse to obey unconstitutional orders — the presumption is most of you have already given that one serious consideration. It’s what would the military and police personnel who are not members do? I’m asking those of you who have current and former colleagues to share your assessment of their likely actions based on your experience with them.
Would the guys you know and have worked with “just follow orders”? Do you have a feel for the ratio of those who would vs. those who would not? And do you have a feel for how current active duty personnel would respond? Based on all that, have you taken the initiative to act as a force multiplier, to broach the concept of illegal orders with your colleagues, and to encourage them to find out more about what it means to be an Oath Keeper?