- April 8th, 2011
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I’ve used the words in my title before. They’re in the oath of enlistment, and even before I left the military I started to wonder if that oath has any actual meaning. My conclusion? No.
I never met an enemy to our constitution in Iraq. I’m not even sure what a foreign enemy to the constitution really entails beyond perhaps an invading force seeking, explicitly, to impose their rule over the United States. No such enemy existed in Iraq. One could make a very weak, and logically unstable, argument that such an enemy existed in Afghanistan but poking such an argument full of factual holes would be easier than lighting a half-empty barrel of gasoline on fire with a blowtorch. I was, however, ordered by the President of the United States and the officers appointed over me to deploy to Iraq (twice) based entirely on fiction. That fiction was supported by a majority of Americans. There is no room to point fingers at any individual party regardless of how Congress voted. The majority of the allegedly empowered people in the United States supported our invasion of Iraq. Period.
That leads to the second key part of the oath of enlistment. It says there must be defense, by those who swear into the armed services, against domestic enemies. Domestic enemies? I’m going to take that to mean groups within the United State who wish to circumvent the constitution or otherwise dilute its position in our government. Those groups have certainly been encountered. The most prolific happen to bear the titles of United States Senate and United States House of Representative. The senators and representatives within those two bodies were elected by the people to act as their representation in government. Instead, they act with no regard for their stated powers or limitations as defined by Article I of the Constitution of the United States of America, or the subsequent amendments. They act with no regard for the often vocal will of their constituents. Instead of acting as a representative body, they meet alone to decide what they will do and what they will not do. There is no room for individuality; the party line is rarely crossed regardless of the very clear will of the people. They act, as our founders feared, as if they are better than the public and are alone in their unique ability to determine any appropriate course for the nation.
Ah, but we have checks and balances right? On paper perhaps, but the Supreme Court does nothing to check the abuse of powers by Congress nor does the President. For as long as I’ve been alive, and indeed for the entire history of this nation, it tends to be the President requesting that Congress circumvent the constitution. So, my question is this: why are there thousands of troops deployed around the globe fighting a non-existent foreign enemy to the constitution but none in the halls of Congress fighting the very real domestic enemies who are busy bickering about who gets to assault the constitution more this year?
There is no easy answer to that question, and frankly deploying an entire division to D.C. won’t change anything. The real problem is the people in this country do nothing to exercise their powers. Oh, sure, people vote. People vote for the same establishment that mocks them every two years. People do not hold their representatives accountable. Most people don’t even bother to educate themselves on what it is their representatives are supposed to be doing. The vast majority of the voting population in this country has never even attempted to read Article I. As such, the people have given up their power entirely – and that is why the out-of-control government is shutting down. Congress failed because the people allowed it to fail. My oath had no meaning because the domestic enemy destroyed the constitution while it ordered its defenders off to fight fictional beasts for decades – and nobody noticed.