Friday, July 31, 2009

Take not counsel of your fears.

"Just because black helicopters exist doesn't mean they are out to get you." -- Mike Vanderboegh, 1995.

(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,

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.

Mike Vanderboegh


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the "sermon". In these days of ratcheting tension, it's nice to have a leading figure pointing out the subtalties (sp?) & nuances, not to mention the downright obvious, in an attempt to calm things down.

Whatever happens from now on, the "sin" is not on your head.

B Woodman
SSG (Ret) US Army

Anonymous said...

Great post.

My ideal world is one of Hoppe's 'Myth of National Defense' where all security is paid for in the market and there is no standing army, but this does not change the fact that Mike is correct about our folks in the military. They are us.

They are my cousins, uncles and friends that have served and currently serve. I will say that the majority of them despise the gub'mint.

If you see a black helo in your pasture it doesn't mean you are important enough for anybody to be concerned about. It just means they are on a training mission or having a good time. I have a friend that repeatedly buzzed a guy with a C5. Think about that. A C5 is the size of a mountain. Shits and Grins.

I used to fly out of a small airfield in DC's 5 mile circle of doom. I have met folks that are prominent in TSA and the FAA as well as the military. Whenever we get to bitching about government nobody has a good thing to say about it. There is a story about the head of TSA getting shaken down at Dulles security that is priceless....

Government is an uncaring and unfeeling best. Just don't get in front of it.

You can't burn down city hall but you can surely piss on the steps and run!


Anonymous said...

Great sermon Reverend Mike. By the way, The Tigers Way by H. John Poole is a great book. Opened my eyes up to a whole new way of thinking.

Doc Enigma said...

Good points, Mike!

Worrying about the military's intentions won't do us a bit of good, nor should we.

My belief is the reason things haven't just gone 'nightmare' on us is because the military still has a majority of troops who WILL honor their Oaths, and, as the infamous 29 Palms questionaire pointed out in a few of the answers, the troops just might "shoot the officer who gave the order" to fire on American citizens!

Just my .02

Uncle Lar said...

Glad to see The Last Centurion made an impression on you. John Ringo is former airborne and now one of the leading lights in military science fiction. He does tend to use "colorful" soldier talk in some of his novels, but always in appropriate ways, not just to spice up the words. And in books intended for a more general audience he does substitute made up cusswords for the real thing.
TLC is available as an electronic e-book directly from for six bucks, or it's been out long enough that the paperback should be hitting the used book stores. I especially liked how the book combined climate change, a pandemic, and an out of control POTUS in a truly "hit the fan" situation for the country.

Anonymous said...

The infamous 29 Palms questionnaire showed the majority of troops WOULD fire on US citizens if ordered to. Combat troops are trained to follow orders immediately. They may think about it later but it may be too late by then. We have just cause to fear these products of public education.

ParaPacem said...

Loved the post. Excellent!
The point is well made. While it is a fact that there ARE some strange and secretive locations within the USA ( check out the sub-levels and the demented / diabolical death murals under the Denver International Airport - all for real and all accessible) I have generally thought that if an insane, despotic US government wished to roundup / confine / inter citizens in such places, then that government would have to recruit foreign or UN type troops to make the effort. Adn we all know how that would turn out - with a mountain of shattered blue helmets.
Of course, if the dementia ran deep enough, such a government might EXPECT the US troops to actually behave like zombie SS and mindlessly do whatever they are told... but my experience with the US military is, the only mindless order followers are way up in the chain; the grunts ain't ABOUT to turn on their own! and only a fool will expect that kind of action.

Like the inestimable Mike says - let's not assume folks are our enemies unless they demonstrate it. We have plenty else to deal with.

shiloh1862 said...

Great sermon Mike. I concur whole heartedly!


Anonymous said...


Why is it that most hypothetical scenerios involving our freedom and the statists that you read about always end up with U.N. troops on our soil? Precisely for the very reasons that Mike discussed. The vast majority of our trooops will not take arms against us so others with no such compunction must be found by the statist. Others without the current of freedom, liberty, and individualism coursing through their veins. Precisely those people who are to be founf in the U.N.

Even if you don't agree philisophically with a standing army or our foreign policies, as many of my RKBA brethren don't, I can assure you that I TRUST THE VAST MAJORITY OF MY BROTHERS IN ARMS AND OUR VETERANS IMPLICITLY! They are some of the last best vestiges of this once great country! As of course you all are as well!!!

suek said...

Sounded like an interesting Christmas present - so looked for it and found this:

Looks like a good source!

Sean said...

I think you have the right idea, Mike. We certainly will be better off,if, when the critical moment is reached, we finesse our way rather than bludgeon. And in order to do that, we need to have ourselves, our lives, and our sacred honor in order. A wise king has a multitude of counselors.

Jennifer Sensiba said...

Mike, where did you get this photo?

Is that logo really on the helicopters or was it a photoshop?

It's the logo of the evil terran empire on Star Trek.

Anonymous said...

"You can't burn down city hall but you can surely piss on the steps and run!"

Well, someone recently threw a brick at his city hall. It isn't quite pissing on the steps (which is quite a bit more expressive), but if that kind of thing spread it would send quite a message. Besides, it costs more to clean up than a little piss. Either way I'll have a grin on my face.

Dutchman6 said...

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Take not counsel of your fears.":

"The infamous 29 Palms questionnaire showed the majority of troops WOULD fire on US citizens if ordered to. Combat troops are trained to follow orders immediately. They may think about it later but it may be too late by then. We have just cause to fear these products of public education."

You must not be familiar with the study you quote. a. It was carried out by LTCDR Cunningham, one of the founding members of Oath Keepers, (proud to say I met him at Lexington this 19 April) and he did it precisely to show the deleterious effect on "unit cohesion" that attempting to use the Marines for nefarious purposes would have.

b. the number of Marines who indicated they would obey unconstitutional orders was about 25% +/- not "a majority." And most of those were entry level EMs. Let their gunnery sergeants get ahold of their attitudes for a few minutes of corrective instruction in a crisis and many would see things differently.

All in all the Cunningham survey was deviously crafted and cunningly executed. An outstanding piece of agitprop that the Clinton administration took to heart.

Believe me, Cunningham is a Three Percenter. -- Vanderboegh

Anonymous said...

I think you're spot on.

If anything we should be prepared to stand next to them. The military is not the opposing team.

drjim said...

Another great post, Mike.
I'm thankful you post all this information. It helps a rookie like me get my facts and gear in order, and my head screwed on straight.

Anonymous said...

Last night, I saw the documentary movie Burma VJ. The Burmese soldiers who are the sons, brothers, cousins, etc., of the Burmese people beat and shot those who are the same as them, with no problem at all doing it. I have traveled in Burma and know the truth of the movie. This is the same situation as in China. The armies always come from the people - nothing new there. Even the Nazis came from the people. But soldiers do as they are told in most cases. It is something to carefully remember rather than wishing it were otherwise and blaming others for being concerned. No thumbs-up from here on your article.

HerbM said...

The general thrust of this blog is correct, but soldiers (as a group) ARE DIFFERENT from the population, especially in America.

First, they joined the military which self-selects a group with at least somewhat different attitudes towards service and patriotism.

Second, the (US) Army TRAINS soldiers explicitly on both following lawful orders and on the duty to reject unlawful orders.

This training has real effects.

It is not however a guarantee against unlawful actions. The Milgram experiment ( warns us that what people THINK or SAY they will do is quite different from what they will do when faced with orders from authority, and among peers who are obeying such orders.

Remember, the soldiers will not only need to refuse to obey unlawful orders, they will also need to DECIDE that the orders are unlawful.

We do however have the reassurance provided by the fact that our solders ARE DIFFERENT, but are the sons, brothers, sisters, daughters, etc of the population which will matter a great deal.

This explains the usual reliance on UN soldiers as a plot device in fictional accounts.

Things will go bad some places; soldiers will do the right thing in many others.

Anonymous said...

Re: the 29 Palms questionaire, voire dire, etc. Why tell them ahead of time who target? If you say you will not follow evil orders, view jury nullification as your duty, will follow your conscience, etc, the Neue Reich knows who NOT to send out to kill dissidents, put on a jury in a political trial, or trust to support them. Say what they want to hear and let it be a surprise when the defendant is acquitted or gets a hung jury, the officer giving the illegal orders takes a round in the back (Ooops!?!), or patriots refuse to murder their spiritual kin.

Daniel, not anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
The infamous 29 Palms questionnaire showed the majority of troops WOULD fire on US citizens if ordered to. Combat troops are trained to follow orders immediately. They may think about it later but it may be too late by then. We have just cause to fear these products of public education.

Thank you Mr. Vandagrift. I really enjoyed the sermon. I spent 21 years in the Army and I currently work for the Army training these young men and women. What many don't realize is that if a soldier disobeys an order, especially under the curcumstances mentioned, it is the Death Penalty. So if they are to break out from Military Discipline, they have to know that the population will help them and change will occur. Unlike you Anonymous, who can spit, jeer, throw rocks and not suffer anything except maybe a night in jail. In my position I speak quite often with these young soldiers. They also are worried about the nation, they speak exactly how those on this site speak, they are young Americans and have no problem with disobeying orders, although at first it will probably be like in N.O. where instead of taking individuals guns they were asking if these old people were armed and then telling them to hide the guns and keep their mouths shut. Matter of fact those individuals responsible for removing the guns were police officers from other states especially California. But on the other hand, put these young soldiers in a line in front of a Mob who is spitting and yelling and even I wouldn't have a problem pulling the trigger. Anonymous spoke of Burma and China, read a little more carefully from the mass media and you will see many ocassions where the soldiers did not shoot. I have read how there is the 3 percenters, I will tell you in the Military it is more like the 15 percenters. Will actions occur? You bet. But many of these soldiers, and their officers, talk of Ruby Ridge/ Waco, just like us. These young soldiers are buying firearms and disobying orders by storing them off base, why? Because they are also afraid of what is coming. But you can bad mouth, spit, throw rocks at these young men/women and make them your enemy or? Remember they are also Americans and get angry themselves, because regardless of what Anonymous stated, probably due to wathching T.V., they are not automatons, they are your Sons, Daughters, Fathers, Mothers, and Americans all.

PavePusher said...

Re: Anonymous, August 1, 2009 4:54 PM

Sir or Ma'am, may I respectfully point out to you that the civilian culture, education and military training/discipline of our nation are vastly different than that of Burma, China, Nazi Germany, etc. In this instance, I don't think you can make an accurate or fair comparison. For starters, can you name me another military that specifically includes annual training on unlawful/unconstitutional orders?

Consider me one of the military who will not follow unlawful orders against my countrymen.

Anonymous said...

So you are "sick and tired". What would have been productive is posting the name, address and schedules of criminals in our government and industry that need fixing. The dummies that signed up as cannon fodder and to be exploited by Zionist swine, the cops arresting Mary Jane smokers are all the enemy..and you can be tired and sugar coat reality till blue in the balls. Put a uniform on a dimwit, throw in a few "attaboys" and the tool will kill momma's and babies all day and night..including his own momma. F you Mike for giving jagoffs in uniforms credit where NONE is DUE. Major Cook has my respect for rejecting illegal orders from the interloper in the WH. You Mike, are a major disappointment.

Anonymous said...

The whole point of these exercises is to acclimatize these soldiers to patrolling American streets. No different than the acclimatisation that takes place in our public school system, which by the way, is working very well.

"If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State." -Joseph Goebbels

"Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger." -Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials

"Today, America would be outraged if U.N. troops entered Los Angeles to restore order. Tomorrow they will be grateful! This is especially true if they were told that there were an outside threat from beyond, whether real or promulgated, that threatened our very existence. It is then that all peoples of the world will plead to deliver them from this evil. The one thing every man fears is the unknown. When presented with this scenario, individual rights will be willingly relinquished for the guarantee of their well-being granted to them by the world government." -Henry Kissinger

Got your "patriotism" on?

By the way, this Islamic Jihadi Hajji stuff ... someone forgot to tell the government and the military that we are still exporting these people into the uSA by the thousands and that our borders have been wide open for YEARS.

Yea, I am sure "something" will happen and be blamed on Islamic Jihadi Hajji's ... see above.

Anonymous said...

It's not like the Joint Chiefs of Goldman Sachs are going to order the military to suppress the citizenry out of the blue. No indeed; a massive propaganda campaign would necessarily precede such a thing.

It would be arranged for "Right Wing Extremists" to claim some choice victims -- military and/or LEO families, for instance, kiddies and all -- with a media and Capitol Hill furor/circus to follow.

I suspect it wouldn't take too many iterations of false-flag attacks before (anti-)Patriot Act N is on the books, and the hearts and minds of many in uniform are rather confused and out to "get the militia bastards".

But I don't think it will go down like this. I expect an incremental tailspin for this country ('s middle class taxpayer), gradual enough and with enough bones thrown to the Obama-voting welfare class to keep things from boiling over. And with a "death of a thousand cuts" on the rights erosion front, nothing so singularly blatant as to initiate revolution.

As for what orders the uniformed services would or wouldn't follow, let us agree that history (and some nifty psychological experiments) is crushingly and overwhelmingly in favor of the most shocking orders being carried out.

Lest we think that America uniquely stands above the lacking morality that plagues humanity now and always, we need only recall such minor indiscretions as this:

and, gosh, Katrina.

In sum, I have every expectation that, given appropriate information manipulation and an economic incentive as times get leaner, the military and LEOs will do whatever the hell they're told. And, at the same time, I highly doubt it will come to that anytime soon.

(Great blog btw.)

Anonymous said...

I have read how there is the 3 percenters, I will tell you in the Military it is more like the 15 percenters. Will actions occur? You bet. But many of these soldiers, and their officers, talk of Ruby Ridge/ Waco, just like us.

One wonders whether military units have people reporting to spooks, identifying future troublemakers. When you talk of Ruby Ridge, who all are listening?

Taking a page from the generic socialist dictatorship military playbook, we can only look forward to MCOs -- Messianic Compliance Officers -- being embedded within squads. Those disparaging The Change or faltering in the crispness of their Fist Bump will be sent to North Dakota for political reeducation.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes those fears are justified, Mike. Who, exactly, do you think will be the focus of the work done by these Internment / Resettlement Specialists in the Army?

Anonymous said...

I'm not worried about our young men and women in the armed forces or the U.N. What is coming will be way beyond that. I just hope there will be enough left to start over.