There is something scary in the water. Presidential candidates are talking about banning an entire religious group from entering the United States. Another one is saying that there should be a three year moratorium on allowing refugees to enter the United States from countries where ISIS is present. What has happened to us?
Harvard law experts have identified that the ban would clearly violate the first amendment of the Constitution. Which begs an intriguing question, how should service members respond if these kind of decisions were made by an acting president?
The Oath of Enlistment is fairly clear on the matter. The first line states that [you] “do solemnly swear to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic…” It goes on to discuss the following of orders, but the principle element is to support the Constitution. Does this mean that service members should rise up and overthrow their government? Of course not.
What it does mean, is that a service member has a duty and an obligation to the principles of the country as detailed in the Constitution over the individual who is temporarily serving as its leader. When put into this awkward position, it is the responsibility of service members to recognize illegal, immoral, or unethical orders, and refuse to follow them. This is the simple premise that was argued against German service members during World War II. Even though they may have been ordered to participate in atrocities, they should have known to disobey the order and refuse.
There are a lot of unknowns in this area for service members. Just because they disagree with a decision does not give them the right to violate an order. A reserve unit in Iraq refused to conduct a patrol on October 13, 2004, stating that delivering fuel would be a suicide mission, and they were 99% likely to make contact. The military disagreed and detained 18 of the platoon members. On the other hand, on September 8, 2005, the New Orleans police superintendent ordered the police, National Guard, and US Marshals to “confiscate all personally held firearms” after the Hurricane Katrina disaster. Over the next 14 days, more than 1,000 legally owned weapons were confiscated before it was deemed unconstitutional. In this case, the order should not have been followed.
The challenging question is how does one know when something is illegal, or when something just doesn’t sound right to them. Thankfully, the military has legal members that can be called upon for verification. The simple answer though is that if a service member feels that the order does not meet the legal, moral, or ethical criteria, they are obligated to object.
At the end of the day, service members have an obligation to honor their oath of enlistment. Even Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer has begun to speak out against these comments, identifying that he served alongside brave and honorable Muslims overseas, and fought to get his interpreter here into the United States.
Politicians need to do better. We as a country need to do better. Fear mongering serves no purpose. We need real leadership, and the military needs leaders who recognize the value of the Constitution they too are representing.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.