(NOTE: I wrote this early last evening after some long talks over the past few days with current-serving military personnel -- my son wasn't one of them, although I believe he would wholeheartedly concur. I waited until morning to re-read it in the cold light of day and having done so, I have changed very little. I will admit I was asked to write this piece, but as it happens I believe every word. If I have been a bit non-specific about exactly who I am talking about, it is for the same reason that the Baptist preacher while denouncing sin does not point out individual sinners in the congregation. If you are convicted in your heart, fine. Go forth and sin no more. If you're not guilty, what are you worried about? Don't you have some reloading to do?-- MBV)
Take not counsel of your fears.
"In planning any operation, it is vital to remember and constantly repeat to oneself two things: 'In war, nothing is impossible provided you use audacity,' and 'Do not take counsel of your fears.'" -- General George S. Patton Jr., Letter of Instruction, March 6, 1944.
Soldiers are in most ways no different than the population they spring from. They are men and women, the same as the rest of us. They pull their pants (or their panties) on one leg at a time just as we all do. There are craven soldiers who would steal from their buddies. There are cowards, misfits, drug addicts and go-along-get-alongs who haven't even heard of the U.S. Constitution. Statistics say there are fewer of those in the military than in the general population, but they certainly exist.
I do not worship soldiers as a class, because it is, to paraphrase Martin Luther King, the content of their individual characters and not the color of their uniforms that define them as men or women, and I judge people individually not collectively.. And so it is with the armed citizenry and those who support us -- the 3% and the 10% that define the fighting and working portion of what many call "Patriots." (The enemies of the Constitution call themselves "patriots" but that's for another day and another essay.) We too run the gamut of human behavior, experience and potential and we resent it when the enemies of the Founders' Republic lump us into one mass for political purposes. Why, then, some of us are judging our own military men and women collectively is beyond me.
I am distrurbed (as are many soldiers who are paying attention) by the fact that some on our side are assuming in advance their collective defection in the cause we all hold dear. So hold onto your pews, parishioners, here comes the fire and brimstone.
I'm going to say some harsh things right now, but they need to be said. It is time for some of you to do a gut check, a common sense review, or take a Dale Carnegie course on how to win friends and influence people and some of you need all three.
I am sick and tired of all this "woe is us!" pity party crap about Homeland Security training exercises and military involvement in same, and I am especially sick and tired of folks blaming ordinary soldiers for it and assuming that one day soon, they are going to violate their oaths to the Constitution. "They," with a capital T, some say, are going to order "them," small t -- meaning men and women in uniform, to do whatever it is we fear that day -- pick up our guns, force vaccinations upon us, as if they are mindless automatons who input data and slavishly obey all commands.
What most of us who DON'T listen to short wave figured out a long time ago is that if we act like these honorable military men and women who DO value their oaths are going to be our enemies BEFORE they act like it, well, then, they will be.
Haven't any of you read the Homeland Secuity report on "Right Wing Extremists"? If we act like paranoid conspiracy nutters, we make our enemies' problem much easier. We in fact play right into their narrative, which is to say, right into their hands. There are two strategic uncertainties the collectivists in power face, and they are critical to their operational planning:
First, what will we, the armed citizenry, do if they ever push us too far?
Second, when that happens through intention or idiocy, will the military carry out their orders to suppress us?
The fact is that most of the teeth of the armed forces, the combat arms' tigers, ARE US. They are OUR sons who take the ground, and yes, even our daughters who fly the choppers over it. So, when we take counsel of our fears, we are saying that we don't trust OURSELVES to obey the oaths WE took. To the extent that we doubt our own, they have cause to doubt us AND to believe the lying administration that seeks to divide us and use them against us.
We also, by the way, cause our enemies to sneer at us and despise our ability to reason and sort through real facts from fevered rumors, which of course encourages them to be more aggressive. Talk about self-fulfilling prophecy.
Like it or not (and I assure you I don't), the Congress has encroached on Posse Comitatus for decades, using first the drug war then the WMD threat. Most of us have protested this in various ways and yet both political parties have shoved it down our throats. Most of us have also prepared in mind, body and logistics for what happens if, as and when this trend becomes tyranny. But if you want to blame somebody for allowing this to happen, look in the mirror, don't blame a soldier.
And yet, these ARE real threats. The Islamo-fascists may one day get the bomb, or a virus, or a delivery method for VX in this country. Only the military has the ability to respond to that. What began with NEST teams and is now expanding to encompass flu pandemics are, or at least can be, legitimate military CIVIL operations in support of over-stressed, yet legitimate state and local governments.
I hesitate to offer you a novel to support my line of reasoning instead of hard factual footnotes, but if you want to read what the best of our military would do in a time of disaster -- man-made or otherwise -- I suggest that you read The Last Centurion by John Ringo. As foul-mouthed as it is, it captures the ethos of the American fighting man in a time of great danger to his country and the world. The military is non-political. It is SUPPOSED to be non-political. The Founders, ever suspicious of a standing army, insisted upon it. Would you want it any other way? Why then are you blaming them for the drift of our politics into tyranny? That's not their fault, it is ours.
The military has always been used and abused by craven politicians. With the exception of certain of the corporation generals of the West Point Protective Association, they have always resented it it and resisted it. But NEVER have they faced Stauffenberg's Choice before. (See Sipsey Street, 21 July, http://sipseystreetirregulars.blogspot.com/2009/07/stauffenbergs-choice-es-lebe-unser.html)
They may have to one day soon.
So don't make it hard for them. Don't make the Constitution's enemies' job any easier, either.
There's going to be an exercise in your area? Great. Study it. Learn from it. Where it seems aligned with genuine concerns to protect the country's people and is consistent with the Constitution, support it. If it strays into what Oath Keepers calls the Ten Orders We Refuse to Obey, then trust the soldiers, sailors and airmen to keep their oaths when push comes to shove.
And if you're concerned that more needs to be done to make that happen, then join and promote Oath Keepers. Don't just wring your hands at the latest breathless email from people who wouldn't know disinformation if it bit them in the ass, and worse, who make money by passing along each and every discrediting rumor.
If worse comes to worst, after a certain point, everyone will have to choose a side. But if you assume that our military are going to be our enemies before they are, you will make it harder for them to choose the right side. You may in fact make them your enemies without wishing to do so. And you will have only your own inability to control your fear to blame.
The men and women who serve in our military, especially the combat arms folks, are well aware of the excremental end of the stick that they are often handed. But do you know what they DON'T do? They don't take counsel of their fears, they don't pass around hyperventilated disinformation, they don't invent boogeymen, they don't blame their buddies and they don't feel sorry for themselves. They await events, react only to realities, then they get off their dead-tired asses, drink water and drive on.
Most importantly, they don't jump at shadows and they don't call their family members names.
Now if everything I've said just chaps your ass, then I suggest you fill out this Department of the Army form and file it where it seems most appropriate:
Keep your powder dry, your fears in check and your rifle clean. And don't piss off your natural allies. Don't borrow trouble. It will seek you out soon enough.
Thus endeth the sermon.