I [state your name], having been appointed a [rank] in the U.S. Army under the conditions indicated in this document, do accept such appointment and 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; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter, so help me God.
This is the US Army Appointment Acceptance and Oath of Office – an officer of the US Army must sign the appointment instrument, and swear with his right hand upraised those words. That oath is an officer’s sacred duty, it comes above all else. Note especially the portion that is in bold: I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter.
Now, as an officer either your word, your sworn oath, is good or it’s not. Period. There is no middle ground. Either you are a man of your word, or you are not. If you break your word, even once in the performance of your duties, then your word cannot be trusted. Duty, honor, authority, responsibility, accountability – all the things that we hold most dear in the military – depend on that simple fact, either your word is good or it’s not.
Notice what that oath doesn’t say.
The oath, which all officers swear, does not say that you must agree with the orders you are given. The oath does not say that you may only execute those orders you agree with. Note that the oath does not require your approval in any way shape or form of the civilian leadership of this country.
Notice what obligation the oath does place on you:
You agree, freely, that you will “well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office.” Well and faithfully. If you are a religious person, you’ve given your word to do so before your God, and either your word to him is good or you’re just full of shit when it comes to your religious beliefs. If you are a non-believer than you’ve given your word and have only yourself to account to. Either way, once you sign that paper and take that oath you are personally, personally, accountable for the well and faithful discharge of your duties. You are accountable to the Service, accountable to the Government, accountable to the people of the United States – and especially accountable to the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
An enlisted person gives a different oath, though it essentially binds them to the same ideal. The difference is that an officer must give his or her word freely – i.e. they cannot be coerced. Enlisted can – it’s called conscription. This is an important distinction, because of the ultimate responsibilities of the officer, a commission must be voluntary – officers cannot be drafted. This distinction is clearly and painstakingly spelled to each potential officer – because once they assume the office they will give up certain rights. For those of you who do not have military experience, and maybe even for those of you who do, it may appear that an officer has far greater latitude of action than enlisted – this is incorrect. One of the great advantages of being a senior NCO (Enlisted) is that you can choose to some extent what to know and what not to know – and officer has no such latitude. Allow me to illustrate: two privates and a buck sergeant go out on the town the night before deployment, they get shitfaced and forget about curfew, and stagger back to the barracks at 0400. Enlisted Outcome) The First Sergeant, who has done a post taps roll-call and knows the party boys are missing is waiting for them: First has options, he can call the MPs and throw the book at them for failing to obey orders, or he can (and probably will) tuck them safely into bed – and then wake them up with a fire hose two hours later and make their lives a living hell for the next two weeks with the Company Commander being none the wiser, officially. The First Sergeant will assume responsibility for the idiots, that’s his job after all. No paperwork will ever be filled. Officer Outcome) The Captain greets the party boys upon their return: He has no options. Period. His oath and rank require him to uphold the Uniform Code of Military Justice So Help Me God, those men will be put on report for failure to obey a lawful order, there will be an Article 32 hearing, the buck sergeant will become a private, asses will handed to their owners - and the First Sergeant will get chewed the merry hell out in private by the Major for not taking care of business.
This is how it works. I’m not asking you to agree with it, I’m telling you how it is. And it’s this way for a damned good reason. Because of what we do, a military must have rigid discipline and structure, but because it is first, foremost, and always a human endeavor, military command structures must have some flexibility. Those that lack this flexibility become brittle and break when stressed – you have only to look to the militaries of any third world dictatorship to see this. Those that allow too much flexibility suffer a catastrophic breakdown in discipline and become ineffective mobs – any multinational force under the aegis of the UN is a pretty good example.
The reason I mention it is that I want you to clearly understand that an officer’s options are limited. He gives up certain rights when he takes that oath. He agrees to uphold not only the Constitution but more importantly, at the personal level, the Uniform Code of Military Justice (the UCMJ) and the regulations of his service. (Note: when I say he, I mean he or she, but I’m tired of typing that, substitute the gender or genderless pronoun of your choice whenever I say he). This is not only tradition, it is not only the law, it is not only regulation – it is the very glue that hold military structure together.
Simply put: The officer’s obligations are rigid, but they are strictly voluntary. In peace or in war, in uniform or out, either that officer’s word is good – or it’s not.
And if it is not, if he breaks his word, if he fails to live up the exacting details of service with honor – then he has no one to blame but himself, and he should expect nothing less than the full force of the UCMJ.
Meet 1st Lt Scott R. Easterling, US Army.
Lt Easterling feels that the duly appointed President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, is an “imposter” and “usurper.” Lt. Easterling feels this way because, and stay with me here, he thinks that President Obama has not provided sufficient evidence of his US citizenship. In fact, the Lieutenant feels that until the president provides a “vault copy” (whatever that is) of his birth certificate for verification, Lt Easterling will not consider Obama either the Commander in Chief or the President.
Lt Easterling is an idiot.
However, he is entitled to be an idiot – up to a certain point. That point being this, he is allowed to think whatever he likes, beyond that he is in violation of his oath, Army Regulations, and the UCMJ.
See, Lt Easterling has given voice to his discontent, and has, in fact, put it down on paper as part of a lawsuit by a California attorney, Dr. Orly Taitz Esq, which questions President Obama’s citizenship and legal right to hold office. (Take a gander through her website, Defend Our Freedoms Foundation, read her bio, check out who she keeps company with, read her blog – really, go on, do it. It’s too gobsmackingly rabid to miss. This site may very well be the gooey black carcinoma deep within the NeoCon cerebellum).
The alleged original letter is here. I say alleged because there seems to be some question, raised by reporters at Military.com, of whether or not Lt. Easterling actually exists. I’ve done a bit of checking through my contacts, it’s unclear at this point and I can’t say one way or the other – so we’ll go with alleged and assume that this Lieutenant is a real person.
A real stupid person.
A dishonorable and disgraceful example of an officer who does not understand his oath and whose word is utter shit.
Supposedly, Easterling writes in the last paragraph:
I implore all Service-members and citizens to contact their Senators and Representatives and demand that they require Mr. Obama prove his eligibility. Our Constitution and our great nation must not be allowed to be disgraced.
This statement alone is tantamount to a declaration of sedition and an exhortation to mutiny. Surely no US Army officer, even a pogue Lieutenant, could be that stupid.
If Easterling is indeed a real officer, and if in fact he did write this letter and give DefendOurFreedeoms permission to publish it under his own name – then Lt Scott Easterling should be brought up on charges in accordance with the UCMJ and Court Martialed.
I’ve served under a number of Presidents and civilian leaders I had no respect for, Clinton and George The Simple Minded come immediately to mind. Clinton wasn’t too bad, in retrospect – but Bush was…well, you know what my opinion of George W. Bush is. In fact, I’ve written extensively about my hatred of George W. Bush, I’ve ridiculed him, I’ve parodied him, I’ve accused him of crimes against humanity, and I’ve said here on this site that the only time I would not piss on him is if he was on fire. But I never, ever, expressed such sentiments until after I left the service, and certainly not in print, and certainly not in a public and national forum.
And in or out of uniform, I certainly never engendered my comrades in arms to rise up en mass and question the authority of the chain of command.
When I wore the uniform, I kept my thoughts regarding the Commander in Chief to myself and soldiered on as best I was able.
That’s what our oath is all about.
That’s what duty means.