It is said that politics makes for strange bedfellows. I am not always sure that is true, but you can see how it might happen. If say we Dirty Freaking Hippies have some opinion and some other group has a similar opinion there is common ground for working together, right? Well, not always. The thing is there has to be real common ground, not just the appearance of it.
Let’s take a look at a fairly new fringe group called the “Oath Keepers”. They are a self-described group of currently serving military, veterans, peace officers, and firefighters who are proudly proclaiming that they will not obey 10 orders that they consider to be unconstitutional. Below are the 10 orders they pledge not to obey:
1. We will NOT obey orders to disarm the American people.
2. We will NOT obey orders to conduct warrantless searches of the American people
3. We will NOT obey orders to detain American citizens as “unlawful enemy combatants” or to subject them to military tribunal.
4. We will NOT obey orders to impose martial law or a “state of emergency” on a state.
5. We will NOT obey orders to invade and subjugate any state that asserts its sovereignty.
6. We will NOT obey any order to blockade American cities, thus turning them into giant concentration camps.
7. We will NOT obey any order to force American citizens into any form of detention camps under any pretext.
8. We will NOT obey orders to assist or support the use of any foreign troops on U.S. soil against the American people to “keep the peace” or to “maintain control."
9. We will NOT obey any orders to confiscate the property of the American people, including food and other essential supplies.
10.We will NOT obey any orders which infringe on the right of the people to free speech, to peaceably assemble, and to petition their government for a redress of grievances.
Looking at this list, the way things are stated, I find I could agree with 2, 3 and 10. But if you look at the whole list, things start to go off the rails pretty quickly.
Number 1 is more than a little strange. It speaks of the American people as a whole, and does not seem to leave room for things like a group of gang members who have a weapons stockpile. After all, they are Americans and police might be ordered to confiscate those weapons.
Numbers 4-9 all seem to deal with something that I don’t see happening in any case. The last time a “state of emergency” or “martial law” was held on an entire state was in Hawaii from the attack on Pearl Harbor until Oct. 24th 1944.
The last state of emergency was during Katrina in New Orleans. It was never martial law and the intent of Mayor Nagin was to stop looting. The emergency lasted less than a month.
Yet the folks in the Oath Keepers seem to think that there might be some set of circumstances which this would come about. The clearest example would be if one or more states tried to secede from the United States. At that point there would indeed be a state not normally seen, but it would be a state of war, not emergency.
What is troubling about this group is how much of their rhetoric is based around the Wingnut idea that guns are going to be confiscated. Not only does this ignore the fact there is no move to take guns away from anyone not accused of a crime, but also the fact that there are 200 million firearms presently privately owned in this country. While there might be some (very limited) ability to take away specific types of weapons, there is exactly zero chance that all 200 million could be rounded up. It is just not in the realm of the possible.
Now lets take a look at the detail on the points that I find I could agree with;
Number 2 :
One of the causes of the American Revolution was the use of “writs of assistance,” which were essentially warrantless searches because there was no requirement of a showing of probable cause to a judge, and the first fiery embers of American resistance were born in opposition to those infamous writs. The Founders considered all warrantless searches to be unreasonable and egregious. It was to prevent a repeat of such violations of the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects that the Fourth Amendment was written.
We expect that sweeping warrantless searches of homes and vehicles, under some pretext, will be the means used to attempt to disarm the people.
Note that they are not worried at all about the sweeping electronic hoovering up of e-mails and calls that has been going on for years. No, they are concerned that someone is going to come and try to take away their guns.
The international laws of war do not trump our Bill of Rights. We reject as illegitimate any such claimed power, as did the Supreme Court in Ex Parte Milligan (1865). Any attempt to apply the laws of war to American civilians, under any pretext, such as against domestic “militia” groups the government brands “domestic terrorists,” is an act of war and an act of treason.
Again, they are more worried about the government coming and breaking up their militia than they are with the idea of people like Jose Pedilla being named an enemy combatant and held for years in military custody.
Here there is actually nothing that I disagree with:
Tyrants know that the pen of a man such as Thomas Paine can cause them more damage than entire armies, and thus they always seek to suppress the natural rights of speech, association, and assembly. Without freedom of speech, the people will have no recourse but to arms. Without freedom of speech and conscience, there is no freedom.
Therefore, we will not obey or support any orders to suppress or violate the right of the people to speak, associate, worship, assemble, communicate, or petition government for the redress of grievances.
That is until we get to the bottom where the site says:
The above list is not exhaustive but we do consider them to be clear tripwires – they form our “line in the sand,” and if we receive such orders, we will not obey them. Further, we will know that the time for another American Revolution is nigh. If you the people decide that you have no recourse, and such a revolution comes, at that time, not only will we NOT fire upon our fellow Americans who righteously resist such egregious violations of their God given rights, we will join them in fighting against those who dare attempt to enslave them
These folks are not about trying to protect the rights of the people of the United States, they are all about protecting the fringe that believes there will be violent insurrection. What they fail to understand is that such insurrection is a crime. While the citizens who commit those acts would still be citizens with rights, they would be the same as the gang members I mention above. Once you cross the line into illegality then you are in a different rule regime. This has always been the case in this nation and it is the same today.
The Oath Keepers are also serving notice that they are going to only keep the part of the oath they think is valid and discard the rest. The military oath of enlistment reads:
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 will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.
This oath makes it clear that orders are meant to be obeyed. The legality of the orders is always required, but military law states, under Article 90 of the UMJC:
(iii) Relationship to military duty. The order must relate to military duty, which includes all activities reasonably necessary to accomplish a military mission, or safeguard or promote the morale, discipline, and usefulness of members of a command and directly connected with the maintenance of good order in the service. The order may not, without such a valid military purpose, interfere with private rights or personal affairs. However, the dictates of a person’s conscience, religion, or personal philosophy cannot justify or excuse the disobedience of an otherwise lawful order. Disobedience of an order which has for its sole object the attainment of some private end, or which is given for the sole purpose of in-creasing the penalty for an offense which it is expected the accused may commit, is not punishable under this article.
(iv) Relationship to statutory or constitutional rights. The order must not conflict with the statutory or constitutional rights of the person receiving the order
Note that an order would have to have a military purpose and it can’t violate the constitutional rights of the person ordered to carry it out. It says nothing about the order violating the constitutional rights someone else.
While you may be in legal jeopardy for carrying out an order that does violate someone’s rights, you are also in legal jeopardy if you fail to do so. Now, if the order is manifestly illegal, like murder or torture, you have no protections. If the order is in a gray area, you are up a creek if you don’t obey.
This is what the so-called Oath Keepers are saying, “we will obey orders that we like and ignore others”. That to me is not keeping an oath; this is being selective when you don’t like the current government.
For all their talk about patriotism, and supporting the Republic, the fact is this is a group that believes they are going to be called on to rebel against the government of their nation. They are fueled by paranoia and are associated with those who believe that the United States is a “Christian Nation”.
So, in the end, though this group seems to have some positions that might attract a DFH like myself, I think I will pass. What they worry about and espouse has no place in the America I want.
The floor is yours.