Against All Enemies Foreign & Domestic
The recent discovery of the President’s push to provide a legal framework to further utilize UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) in the War on Terror made me stop and think. Once stopped I started to piece together other bits of information; some from the past others more recent regarding terrorism and its definition. I went back to our Founding Documents as a starting point. Article II, Section 1 of the United States Constitution requires the President of the United States to affirm his own oath. This oath is unique to the President; the Vice President, members of the Cabinet, federal judges and all other civilian and military officers affirm a different 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 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]”.
This oath is implicit in its assumption that those swearing to it have honor and integrity to “bear truth faith” to the Constitution. This is obviously not always the truth since humans are flawed and sinful by nature. But what have those who serve(d) in our government really swore to protect? The Constitution? The existent power structure? American’s Imperialism? All worthy topics to delve into. Here for this purpose I wish to hone in on my original concerns about the abuse of power by our government at the behest of our individual Constitutional protections. I would argue this is neither supporting or defending our Constitution as the oath requires. The oath is not to the President, or Congress, or the Joint Chiefs of Staff – it is to the enumerated power and amendments of the United States Constitution.
So what makes you an enemy? A foreign one? A domestic one? The former is easier to define than the latter and I will quickly outline it as an individual or group who seek harm to the citizens and securities of the United States of America outside our own boarders. Likewise the former is a more nebulous task – to define a domestic enemy. The greatest example is America’s History is Benedict Arnold, a defector during the American Revolutionary War. Clearly a native of Colonial America who sided with the British whom he reasoned would win the war. Currently today, the domestic enemy buzzwords are; “Radical Extremists”, “Terrorist”, “Domestic Terrorist”. Unfortunately our willfully ignorant media, who have chosen to ignore history, have began labeling the 2010 grass-root Tea Party movement with these buzz words. Why? I will proclaim it is an attempt to paint an implicit picture against those who have chosen not to align with the State and Its authority.
The aftermath of September the 11th 2001 left the United States is relative chaos, the proverbial “crisis” that can not be wasted. Wasted it was not, we allowed for the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. A natural reaction to fear is to trade freedom for security. The damning truth is that however much freedom you trade; and in some countries they have traded all of it, security can never be guaranteed. The security of the blessings of liberty can only truly come from individual independence, self-reliance, consent of the governed and representative government.
In 2008, then candidate Barack Obama on the campaign trail made the following remarks about the need for the development of an auxiliary national security force equal to that of the military. It is my understanding that the military was and is erected for the defense of foreign enemies. What equal force is required on the domestic side to secure “our” national security? This statement should have been very alarming (along with many others since 2008); unfortunately, our society is more interested in American Idol or ESPN.
Couple this statement with the news of the Department of Homeland Securities purchase of bulk ammunition in the neighborhood of 1.6 billons rounds within the past ten months. Also couple that with reports of a litmus test for military leadership willing to fire on civilians, inclusive in this is the report of civilian women and children targets behind purchased by DHS. Just a training exercise? Diversionary to say the least. I am not a person that seeks out conspiracy theories at every turn, but I do have a hard time ignoring some of the obvious isolated pieces of information. Especially when that is mixed with the experience of history studied outside the public classroom.
The leaking of the intent of the Executive Branch, the Justice Department, to develop a “legal” framework around the use of drones on American citizens is another one of those isolated pieces of information. The FAA has already laid the groundwork to the public to expect ~30,000 drones within American airspace by 2019. To me that spells Orwellian Police State and “Thought Police”. Additionally, the notice of the provisions provided for in the 2012 version of the National Defense Authorization Act Section 1021 allows for indefinite detention of foreign enemies without trial; of course the fear is that section could be adapted to include domestic enemies. My default position of government power is that the government, especially at the federal level, is not out for my best interest and my safety and happiness. In my opinion, they are out for their self-interests and that is to keep the power structure just like it is. History proves me out on that as well. Charles Montesquieu elegantly describe despotic government in his treatise “The Spirit of the Laws” that “Despotic governments has fear (as opposed to virtue) as its principle; and not many laws are needed for timid, ignorant, beaten-down people”.
The history of the world and past superpowers are rich with examples of government and counties who have turned on its own citizens because a portion did not fall in line with the power structure as it naturally tighten down freedom. Once this process embarks, that is already the end of the republic. The government’s “will to power” preys on the negative aspects of human nature and destroys itself only to try and keep itself alive and in power. I will leave you with three quotes, two from Benjamin Franklin and one from the Declaration of Independence. At the conclusion of the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia, the site of the drafting of our Constitution, a woman approached Franklin and asked him what they have been doing for so long and what they had created, he replied with “A Republic, If You can keep it”. Franklin also made a wise statement about the true nature of our rights and where they come from,
“A nation of well informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them cannot be enslaved. It is in the region of ignorance that tyranny begins.”.
So, how ignorant have we come? How isolated are we from the freedom we were given just 226 years ago? What have we allowed our government to construct around us? Have we allowed a domestic government to create the same tyranny that we fought our Revolution to be free from? Where are our rights? What are our rights? Where does our real power come from? I will close with a passage from the Declaration of Independence to highlight their struggle,
“Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying foundation on such principles and organizing its power is such a form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”.