Thursday, March 5, 2009

That’s Why They Call It Duty

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.


  1. This Lt. Easterling has earned his Courts-Martial.

    But he will never have his day in court.

    The Army will not be allowed to give him his day in court.
    President BO will not take a chance that the Courts-Martial will demand the State of Hawaii to produce records.

    The Lt. will be Discharged for the good of the service.

    If he actually exists.

  2. I regret that this man is named Scott. If he exists. If he doesn't exist, then I regret my first name was used in such a horrible way to cover a piece of fiction.

    "President BO will not take a chance that the Courts-Martial will demand the State of Hawaii to produce records."


  3. Why yes, I do remember sedition still being a crime for those covered by the UCMJ. You know, if not that, I believe the actions of questioning the authority of a commanding officer and instigating your fellow officers and enlisted to join you in questioning that authority is also mutiny and insubordination. You know, unless you can make it stick, like removing them from command. But I think he's on shaky ground here with, you know, the Chief Justice administering the oath twice now.

    You may also want to say something about when you're given an order you believe to be illegal, and what the possible ramifications of that are (as I remember, they're very similar).

  4. S.M. It has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with President Obama's birth record. Nor does the President determine if the Lt will be court martialed or not.

    It is a strictly a matter of good order and discipline and conduct unbecoming, specifically Articles 81 (Conspiracy), 83 (Fraudulent Enlistment), 88 (Contempt Toward Officials), 94 (Sedition), 117 (Provoking Speech), 133 (Conduct Unbecoming an Officer), and 134 (actions which bring discredit upon the service).

    Even if he's right and Obama is a fucking Martian reptile in a rubber human suit - the Lt is still guilty of a gross violation of the UCMJ, Army Regulations, and his Oath of Office. WE DON'T PLAY POLITICS, our job is to serve. He can write whatever likes, anonymously, he can send money to support the cause - but once he puts his name, rank, and uniform behind it, he's a dishonorable scumbag who doesn't not deserve the privilege of leading Soldiers.

    If this is a true story, and the Army leadership doesn't do something about it - then they give tacit approval, and that way lies chaos, juntas, and everything we stand against.


    Steve, that was covered in the Military.com article.

  5. Yeah, I think this guys has bought some serious trouble - if he's real. This Dr. Titz, or whatever, might have ginned him up just to be pallin' up with Keyes to rouse up some support for another run at the Big-er White House next term... She's got that Palin gleam in her eye...

    Go here and scroll down - the words are weirdly familiar but are not from Easterling. If he's real, I think she put him up to it. Just sayin'

    We actually had a 'block of instruction' (on several occasions) to dissect this oath so that we could discuss potential unlawful orders and when an order might be questioned. Some of the guys had to have it hammered in... It's very straightforward.

    Easterling should be brought before a Brigade formation (Battalion, at least), literally stripped of rank and insignia, and have his ass shipped back to wherever he came from - dishonorably - if his offense doesn't warrant jail time, that is.

  6. Where do these people come from? And why do they live here?

  7. Jim, is there a penalty for making up a letter pretending to me from military personnel? Or can all we do is point and laugh?

    Vince, because no other country would tolerate their bullishit?

  8. The SF writer in me who has never actually served in the military is screaming at me that this guy sounds like a lieutenant in a story, and not like any of the lieutenants I've met In Real Life.

    Just sayin'.

    Dr. Phil

  9. Wait, she's a dentist?

    And an attorney, among other things. We've seen this type somewhere before around here - the Dr. Esq. who engages in serial litigation over conspiracy theories, I mean.

    As to the Lt himself - I suspect he is a construct, created whole cloth if not by this site, then by somebody supporting this agenda.

    See, here's the thing - if he is who the site says he is, he has committed a serious criminal offense. Technically during time of war he could face a firing squad for sedition (unlikely, but still). For the army to ignore such an act seriously begs the question.

    However, this supposed Lt has options. He's an officer, all he has to do is resign his commission (he'd have to do it prior to, or after, deployment, not in the combat zone). Then he can say whatever he likes. He's a supposed 42 or so year old 1st Lt, with maybe two years of service, it's not like he's going to retire anyway - not many infantry officers make it to sixty five on active duty, just saying.

    There's a lot of things about this story that just don't add up.

    Of course, DefendOurFreedom is all about obtaining valid documentation of President Obama's citizenship and birth, I'm sure Dr. Taitz Esq would be happy to produce validating documentation of Lt. Lugnut's actual bonafide existence...

  10. Michelle, not that I'm aware of.

    There are laws against falsely pretending to be a member of the military, but none that I know of that specifically forbid you from creating a fake letter purporting to be from a member of military.

    However, I think - if it were determined that this is indeed a case of falsifying such a letter or knowingly presenting a false letter as genuine (Which I'm not saying it is) - a case could be made because the site is soliciting funds. Obviously Eric would be better suited to address the specifics. Additionally, I know there is something at the federal level about inciting or encouraging mutiny within the military as a civilian - it falls under sedition as I recall, but I think you'd have a damned hard case with that. Then again, there's those secret provisions in the Patriot and Protect America Acts. Be awfully ironic indeed if this president were to use those to ship this batch of dipshits off to Gitmo for a while, wouldn't it?

    And on that note I'm going to bed. I just drove sixty miles from Anchorage in truly horrible road conditions because my fucking idiot governor is too busy spending my money flying around bitching about the President instead getting the fucking plows out on the road in order to take care of her own goddamned state.

    But really, more on that tomorrow.

  11. Jesus, Karl, thanks for that link. There is some seriously crazy shit there. Crazy and damned near illiterate. And the comments are worse.

    However, the similarities between that post and the Lt. Easterling letter are positively striking.

  12. I'm sorry, but wasn't this question resolved legally and completely, oh, like LAST YEAR some time???

    Must be fuck-nutz week somewhere again.

    Geez. The scary part is there are way too many people that believe that crap. I have a long-time friend that is a fairly reasonable person, loverly wife, great kids. He's got a CPA & MBA, but I don't hold that against him.

    But I had to send him a note recently asking him to stop the deluge of political emails and links to the GOP fanatical raving lunatic fringe he's apparently supporting, you know, because we're all going to socialist, commie hell in a handbasket because his candidate didn't get elected.


    Anyhow, as for Easterling, if he exists, court marshalling, rank stripping and run out of town tarred and feathered just seems too nice. Another candidate for Under the Jail.

    And if Easterling does NOT exist, the attorney filing the suits can be disbarred, stripped of their license and hung out by the courts for fruad, frivolous litigation and could the Army could, in fact, go after the attorney for fraud as well.

    And now, I have to get to work for the attorney that pays me.


  13. Um. Wow.

    This is truly odd.

    I knew better when I was a 19-year-old Seaman Shit-for-Brains...and this guy is an officer and in his forties?

    There is mischief afoot.

  14. Yeah, I thought you'd love the misspelled headers, runon blathering, and generally conspiratorial tone of that site ::retch::

    DDS Esq. heh heh - I just had a Bugs Bunny moment, there...

  15. Karl, she also a dentist in my state. This does not please me.

    Then again, she is in Orange County. Most Orange County residents ARE whack-a-doos. They keep electing Dana Rohrabacher. That guy's a loon.


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