Archive for category Veterans

The War On America’s Military Veterans, Waged With SWAT Teams, Surveillance, And Neglect

Honor Guard

This post comes from westernjournalism.com

Also posted on oathkeepers.org

Opinion

America has done a deplorable job of caring for her veterans.

by John W. Whitehead

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”—John F. Kennedy

Just in time for Memorial Day, we’re once again being treated to a generous serving of praise and grandstanding by politicians and corporations eager to go on record as being supportive of our veterans. Patriotic platitudes aside, however, America has done a deplorable job of caring for her veterans. We erect monuments for those who die while serving in the military; yet for those who return home, there’s little honor to be found.

Despite the fact that the U.S. boasts more than 23 million veterans who have served in World War II through Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, Iraq, and Afghanistan, the plight of veterans today is deplorable, with large numbers of them impoverished; unemployed; traumatized mentally and physically; struggling with depression, thoughts of suicide, and marital stress; homeless (a third of all homeless Americans are veterans); subjected to sub-par treatment at clinics and hospitals; and left to molder while their paperwork piles up within Veterans Administration (VA) offices.

According to the National Veterans Foundation, the VA has had a backlog of as many as 1.2 million unprocessed claims in recent years, in addition to the fraud and mismanagement within the VA and its network of offices across the country–and secret lists containing thousands of names of veterans who were forced to wait months just to see a doctor.

While President Obama has now declared that he “will not stand” for the mistreatment of veterans under his watch, the time for words is long past. As Slate political correspondent John Dickerson observed, these inexcusable delays represent “a failure of one of the most basic transactions government is supposed to perform: keeping a promise to those who were asked to protect our very form of government.”

Then again, as I detail in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, the government has been breaking its promises to the American people for a long time now, starting with its most sacred covenant to uphold and defend the Constitution. Yet if the government won’t abide by its commitment to respect our constitutional rights to be free from government surveillance and censorship, if it completely tramples on our right to due process and fair hearings, and if it routinely denies us protection from roadside strip searches and militarized police, why should anyone expect the government to treat our nation’s veterans with respect and dignity?

Indeed, in recent years, military servicemen and women—many of whom are decorated—have found themselves increasingly targeted for surveillance and censorship, threatened with incarceration or involuntary commitment, labeled as extremists and/or mentally ill, and stripped of their Second Amendment rights, all for daring to voice their concerns about the alarming state of our union and the erosion of our freedoms.

Read more here.

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Stewart Rhodes Speaking in Grass Valley, California – February 19, 2013

Grass Valley Rally

 

 

Stewart Rhodes, Chuck Shea, and John Oetken will be gathering with the Oath Keepers in the area to formalize a Northern California Chapter. Please get the word out and spread this information and share the picture.

We will also be fundraising for the Oath Keeper Billboards to put up near Beale AFB California.

https://www.facebook.com/events/417066241709857/

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The Economic Abuse Of Veterans In America

Homeless Vet

By Brandon Smith of Alt-Market.com, Assistant Editor of Oath Keepers

Article originally published at Alt-Market.com

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Volunteering to join the military has always been a process rife with internal and external conflictions.  A vital aspect of one’s ultimate decision to do so often depends greatly upon the era in which one becomes eligible.  U.S. citizens leaped at the chance to defend their country at the onset of World War II because the enemies were indeed a legitimate and obvious threat to the freedom and sovereignty of all nations.  During Vietnam, the waters were muddied (at least in the view of millions of citizens), and many Americans did not see the fight as their own.  The line between our system, and the enemies we were supposed to despise, had become progressively more foggy and disjointed.  For any wise and honorable man to go out of his way to risk his life, the fight must be clearly just, otherwise, he may feel that his death will serve no purpose.

No matter what era of war an American soldier happens to take part in, his desire is usually simple and honest; most seek to defend the underlying principles of freedom which have guided the soul of this country for generations.  They seek a righteous cause, and transparent leadership.

Unfortunately, for decades, sincere leadership by our government, from Washington D.C. down to the good-old-boy networks of county politics, has all but been erased.  Not even a trace of truth permeates the bedrock of our legal or bureaucratic structure anymore.  The system has become so corrupt, so leprous and putrid, that it now actually influences originally honorable men and women to do great evil just to survive and to thrive.  Our administrative structure encourages and even breeds thieves, murderers, and tyrants.  It is a self-perpetuating monster machine.

U.S. soldiers are in a unique position in the middle of this plague of political power gaming.  They are usually the first to bear witness to the blunders (or crimes) of government.  They get to experience up close on the ground where decisions go wrong and how.  They are among the first to witness the changes of mood within our political dynamic, and the first to know when a government has gone rogue.  When these soldiers leave the service as veterans, many have seen the ugliest of the ugly faces of the officialdom running the show.  They become a liability to the carefully crafted image of the U.S. government and the military industrial complex because they know the ultimate truth.

The mistreatment of veterans is often examined with shock and dismay, primarily because the general public cannot fathom why federal, state, and local governments would work against men and women who once served their interests.  However, when one understands that the establishment system views veterans as a political and social threat, a cultural base that is respected by average citizens and carries weight when exposing corruption, the abusive actions of the oligarchy make perfect sense.

I could delve into the disparaging world of Veterans Hospitals and the horror stories surrounding the dime-store-style socialized medical care that men and women receive there (I could also point out that this is a perfect active example of what medical treatment would be like under Obamacare).  I could write for hours about soldiers exposed to chemical and biological warfare from Vietnam to the Gulf War; soldiers who went on to suffer recurring health problems, and who were quickly swept under the rug by Washington.  I could even outline the numerous instances in which the DHS, the Bush Administration, and the Obama Administration, have all attempted to categorize veterans as “possible terrorists” who present a danger to national security:

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/apr/16/napolitano-stands-rightwing-extremism/

While it is absolutely imperative that veterans and current serving military alike research every aspect of these issues, I would like for a moment to focus on a far less discussed crisis that looms over former military; financial subversion.

Today, most people are suffering an economic loss of one kind or another, and the knee-jerk response by those in financial dire straights might be to question why they should care at all about veterans being squeezed by the system.  I would point out that while the credit crisis is certain to strike the vast majority of average Americans, it has crashed like a ten-ton sack of bricks upon the heads of veterans in particular.

While the U.S. Interagency Council On Homelessness did launch a program called “Opening Doors” in an effort to reduce veteran homelessness, claiming a 12% reduction in 2011, the official number of homeless former serving still stands at 67,000.  This, unfortunately, is a misleading stat, and only counts veterans who have are considered “consistently without shelter”.  In reality, it is estimated that 200,000 or more veterans are homeless on any given night:

http://www.military.com/benefits/veteran-benefits/homeless-veterans-programs.html

That is large population of people under consistent poverty (23% of overall homeless by some measures), and this is not even counting those veterans that just scrape by.  Approximately 40% of these homeless veterans suffer from war related psychological disorders, including Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, and are not responsible for the difficulties they face in the job market.

The unemployment rate for veterans continues to be epidemic, with official numbers between 8% and 9% (and we all know how the Labor Department undercuts real unemployment statistics).  For younger veterans, especially those involved in Gulf War II, unemployment has skyrocketed to 30%:

http://www.businessweek.com/finance/occupy-wall-street/archives/2011/11/the_vets_job_crisis_is_worse_than_you_think.html

One would think that a military background with years of training and command experience in the midst of the most chaotic environments the world has to offer would translate well in the business and working world, but the numbers say otherwise.

Government programs to aid veterans are tossed to the public every year like trick-or-treat candy, but in most cases, they are only a half-hearted attempt to pay lip service to the problem, falsely reassure Americans, and place a band-aid on the gaping wound.  This has become painfully apparent after the 2008 derivatives bubble implosion, which has now triggered the bankruptcy foreclosures of over ONE THIRD of all veteran households:

http://www.veteranstoday.com/2011/11/30/banks-targeting-military-families-for-illegal-foreclosures/

A homeowner’s mortgage assistance program under the U.S. government does exist, but only covers active duty military.  Veterans are forgotten.

The most active banks foreclosing on veterans include JP Morgan, Bank Of America, Wells Fargo, and PNC.  All of these institutions have been cited for using illegal and hidden fees to increase mortgage liability.  This tactic has been specifically and violently applied to veterans in particular, and over 30,000 cases of possible banking fraud against veterans were exposed in 2011 alone:

http://articles.cnn.com/2011-02-10/politics/congress.military.mortgages_1_military-orders-active-duty-service-member-returns?_s=PM:POLITICS

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/05/veterans-bank-fees_n_996422.html

Why would banks place such priority on aiming their crosshairs at veterans?  There are a multitude of reasons.  Most veterans have made a career out of following a chain of command and paying heed to authority figures.  Often, this mindset is carried over into the civilian world, where new authority figures like lawyers, judges, bailiffs, even bank representatives, are given far too much credence and are approached with a subservient attitude.  Many veterans also spend so much time within the unique legal structure of the military system that they lose familiarity with civil law, and become frustrated with its operations and complexities.  Some find it impossible to adapt.  To put it bluntly, corporate banks see veterans as easy targets.

To make matters much worse, local bureaucracies have been more than happy to aid major banks in their criminal enterprises, and veterans have been principle victims.  Instead of providing relief and aid to those in financial distress as was originally intended when the bankruptcy court apparatus was created, it has now become a network of parasites honing in on the fiscally weak and using their despair and confusion to rob them of every last possession.

I have WITNESSED this first hand while examining the case of Warren Bodecker, a Montana local and WWII hero who helped to liberate over 2000 prisoners near execution from the Los Banos prison camp in the Philippines.

Bodeker’s 89 years of life have been filled with amazing accomplishments and a certain level of success.  It is saddening that in his old age, during days in which he should be allowed some measure of peace, he has come under attack by so many despicable circumstances and people.

Warren’s wife, after battling cancer for a decade, had finally passed.  Her body was put to rest on the family farm, but her medical bills were not.  With debt and interest payments mounting, and Warren living essentially alone, the stress and fear of insolvency ruled his waking moments.  He then made a terrible error; he trusted his fate and his home to the bankruptcy system.  Warren’s story in his own words can be found in the video interview below, conducted by the founder of Oath Keepers and Constitutional Lawyer Stewart Rhodes:

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I analyze and write about legal corruption on a regular basis.  I have uncovered and outlined banking criminality for years.  But, to watch this tyranny wrought upon an individual right in front of me, a man I know to be good hearted, a person who absolutely does not deserve it, is difficult to endure.

What I found most disturbing in this case was the number of deviants who came out of the woodwork to claim their pound of flesh.  The Trustee, Christy Brandon, has gone out of her way to intimidate Warren, which puzzled me until I learned that she had also appointed HERSELF lawyer for the estate.  If proceedings became “adversarial”, under the law, she would be conveniently awarded a percentage of the bankruptcy loot.  Warren’s former son-in-law (whose motivations remain mysterious and suspicious) wrote secret letters to the courts accusing him of deliberately hiding gold and silver assets.  Warren’s own lawyer advised him little, and in some cases very poorly, pushing him to waive his homestead exemption and feeding Warren to the wolves as it were while he quietly collected his salary.

The vet was surrounded by frenzied piranha.  With little understanding of bankruptcy law or what was expected of him, he didn’t have a chance.  The system, his lawyer, and the Trustee all asserted the same lie; that if he just quietly rolled over, all would be well.  He has now lost everything, including his home.  He will be forced to exhume his wife’s body from the land he also planned to rest on, with no conceivable future beyond homelessness and regret.

The system not only failed Warren, it hunted him down and mauled him.  At every level, the legal structure sought to harm him, not protect him, or to conduct fair justice.  It became clear to me after speaking with Warren, even more so than before, that there is no recourse through the legal realm.  It is utterly broken, and beyond all possible repair.  If a veteran and WWII combat hero can be treated so egregiously, what possible chance do the rest of us have?

Warren is just one example of a detrimental and sometimes organized crippling of veterans and their economic safety across America.  Sometimes it is done out of mere greed, sometimes it is done out of idiocy, sometimes it is done with downright malicious intent, and sometimes it’s a combination of all three.  In light of this, and as Warren Bodeker’s situation proves, there are no solutions within the bounds of the establishment anymore.  The problem, then, goes to those of us who are aware, and to those who also share a military background.  It is up to the Liberty Movement to rally around veterans, and for veterans to rally around each other.  The enemies they face today are much more insidious than any they ever faced on the battlefields of the past.  There will be no relief or comfort unless we support each other.

If you would like to make a donation to the Warren Bodecker Fund, please visit the link below and scroll to the paypal button at the bottom of the article:

http://oathkeepers.org/oath/2012/06/15/wwii-veteran-forced-out-of-home-and-forced-to-exhume-wifes-body-needs-your-help/

If you would like to question Christy Brandon, Trustee for this case, on her side of the story, or if you wish to ask her why she is handling the situation in such a manner, you can use the contact information she provided on her publicly released court documentation (please remain courteous):

Attorney Christy Brandon
Brandon Law Firm, PLLC
P.O. Box 1544
Bigfork, MT 59911
Phone: (406) 837-5445
Fax: (406) 837-5420

Christy@brandonlawfirm.com

You can contact Brandon Smith at:  brandon@alt-market.com

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Veterans And Troops Support Ron Paul

Veterans And Troops Support Ron Paul

Ron Paul continues to garner vastly more financial support from our troops than all other Republican candidates combined. The key to understanding this is in an understanding of history.

If a foreign nation came into America and assassinated some of our political leaders, bombed buildings, incited riots, spread massive propaganda programs across our society, and took down the duly elected democratic government, you and I would be quite angered, as would anyone anywhere.

What Ron Paul’s detractors fail to realize is that just six years after the CIA was created it did just that kind of mischief in Iran. The year was 1953.  We did it at the request of  BP (British Petroleum).  The United States initiated that aggression, for British interests. Twenty-six years after we installed a U.S. puppet (The Shah), Iran threw off the American puppet government and took the hostages which ended Jimmy Carter’s tenure in the White House.

The CIA has never left Iran, as evidenced by their exposure of several of our CIA spies in Iran recently.

Ron Paul believes that the way to get along in this world is to trade with other nations, not destroy their countries or take down their governments. I know this sounds quite simple to most readers here, but for some reason, most Republican candidates somehow fail to grasp how being respectable would be a better foreign policy. Consequently, the neo-cons in the Republican Party still believe that America was attacked on 9/11/2001 because radical Islamists hate America’s lifestyle.

The truth is that we’ve been “over there” militarily and with our clandestine Intelligence agencies for half a century, killing, bombing, assassinating, and in other ways abusing those people as a matter of  “foreign policy”.  Our secret wars and dirty tricks on those people have only caused the Arab world to hate us. Ron Paul says we should bring our troops home where they belong and quit inciting other nations, cultures, and peoples.  Apparently, many of our troops agree. Enjoy the video.

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Howard Nemerov: A Veterans Day Tale of Woe

Gun RightsGun Rights

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A Veterans Day Tale of Woe

by Howard Nemerov

http://pjmedia.com/tatler/2011/11/11/a-veterans-day-tale-of-woe/

This unpleasant experience began with a simple inquiry: Were we coming to the banquet honoring veterans, being held at the local high school?

I had previously declined a Tea Party invitation to speak at this venue, asking promoters: How can we celebrate Liberty when the law makes us felons if we don’t agree to void our Second Amendment rights? (It’s a third degree felony in Texas to bring a firearm into a school’s premises.)

I expressed doubt about attending, based upon this reflection.

Their response was that this was “not so much celebrating liberty as it is recognizing those who have served in our military.”

But how can the two be separated? The mental compartmentalization resulting from rationalizing is a great concern of mine. Experience has taught that humans are not so much rational as rationalizing.

My reply: Veterans offered their lives to protect our once-in-history Constitution that actually acknowledges Divinely-endowed inalienable rights, and that the government is supposed to serve the People. Why should we then turn around and let the government tell us we are the servants, and that we may not enjoy the God-given rights that so many gave their lives to preserve? I cannot in good conscience support such a dishonor against those who have honor, foisted upon us by those without honor in the name of safety and security. We either honor the words of the Founders and reject the illusion that the government, even if it wanted to, could provide security at the expense of Liberty, or we dishonor those who served to uphold those Founding principles.

Unfortunately, they chose to label themselves Patriot–implying I’m not–and tell me that considering my attitude, my presence “would be an insult to those who served.”

Disheartened, I submitted to the Oath Keepers for judgment on the matter.

Stewart Rhodes, Oath Keepers’ Founder and President, replied:

“It’s disgusting and disturbing to have an event supposedly honoring     veterans for their service “in defense of freedom” but also insisting that they disarm when they attend the event. Public schools are now nothing more than little Petri dishes of how the elites would like our whole nation to be – Bill of Rights free zones where only those in official power have the full rights of citizens, including the right to bear arms.”

It’s a sad day, when we start rationalizing to justify support for government infringement of our God-given, Constitutionally-acknowledged, and honor-defended Liberty.

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Michael New – Mercenary, Or American Soldier?

Michael_NewMichael_New

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One Soldier’s Story – Every Soldier’s Nightmare: When orders conflict

with the Oath of Allegiance.

By Elias Alias

In November 2009 the Montana Chapter of Oath Keepers presented a startling documentary at the Bozeman, Montana, public Library on Main Street. The film was The Michael New Story. This film is making its way around the nation.

Mike New’s story is indeed disturbing, for it exposes a dilemma in which today’s Federal government is deeply mired. And Mike’s story shows clearly that the government’s dilemma shall reach down into a soldier’s life, personally, and challenge his patriotic conscience. Why this is disturbing has to do with American idealism, in which our young women and men join our military services to actually serve the Republic. It is an honored tradition. Let’s look into that by reviewing the Michael New story.

At the website devoted to the Michael New story we read the following:

On October 10, 1995, the 1/15 Battalion of the 3rd infantry Division of the U.S. Army came to attention at 0900 in Schweinfurt, Germany. All but one of the 550 soldiers were wearing a sky-blue baseball-style cap with a United Nations insignia on the front. One was wearing the olive-drab flat cap that is authorized to be worn with the Battle Dress Uniform. With this simple act of disobeying a direct order, Spc. 4 Michael New set the stage for a legal battle that has profound implications for the future of American soldiers into service of the United Nations without the constitutional permission of Congress.

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More excerpts from the Mike New website –

Meet Michael New. In February of 1993, 20 year old Michael New enlisted in the United States Army and took an oath to defend the constitution of the United States. His Army Recruiter, in Conroe, Texas, never mentioned UN command, foreign officers, or wearing the UN uniform; instead he was told he was signing up for the US military.

On 21 August 1995 Michael was informed that his unit would be required to wear a blue UN helmet, or beret and a UN armband or patch. Michael was told the order to wear the UN uniform was lawful because, “The President says so, therefore it is.” But nobody provided a legitimate, legal or rational basis for the order.

On 10 October 1995, the day his unit was supposed to be in formation in the U.N. uniforms, Michael showed up in his regulation U.S. Army uniform. However, some 549 U.S. Army soldiers did show up in formation wearing a United Nations emblem on their baby-blue caps and U.N. patches on their right shoulders! Michael was immediately removed from the parade ground, where he was informed that he would be facing a court-martial. He was read his rights. And this began the chain of events that continues sending shock waves around the country and the world.

Since that time Michael received a Bad Conduct Discharge (BCD) from the Military, in January 1996, and has begun a life as a private citizen. But that was not the end; …There have been briefs and counter briefs, appeals and appeals of the appeals. As the case slowly [made] its way through the courts, Michael New [did] not back down. And he has the United States government in something of a quandary. If they let him off, then they’ll have to let anyone off who refuses to serve the United Nations. If they hammer him, they have to admit in public that Americans are no longer free to serve their own country exclusively – an admission they do not want to make. No doubt, if he had it to do over again, Michael New would do the same thing.

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So that is the center of the storm known as the Michael New story. I contacted Mike’s Dad, Daniel New, to update the above information. Daniel is friendly and outgoing, a man who knows the gravity in his son’s situation, and what that reveals in America’s present situation. Daniel mentioned to me that the Mike New book is available at their website for $5.00 each, and the Michael New Story DVD is available there for $10.00. The New family pays the postage. Daniel and Michael continue the fight for American sovereignty, and are organized with a substantial body of knowledge.

Daniel also advised me that a Freedom of Information Act suit has finally produced President Bill Clinton’s infamous PDD-25 (Presidential Decision Directive – 25), and are presently analyzing the document. This previously classified secret document marks Clinton’s sacrifice of American sovereignty by ascribing powers to the United Nations to command U.S. troops. Why would Mr. Clinton want to keep that secret?

Daniel New also provided me with this Situation Report, the current status of Daniel New’s story –

SITREP SPC MICHAEL NEW – Mike’s case reached the Supreme Court twice, and the petition for hearing was denied.  That ended the legal battle, [after] some 13 years – and he now has the honor of being the only American ever convicted of wanting to serve his own country!  Mike is working and going to college.  He and his wife have a baby boy, one year old, and they live in Houston, Texas.

One wonders why the Supreme Court wouldn’t touch Mike’s case. Please go to the Mike New website and look over the history of Mike’s legal battle. It’s impressive, and shows how deeply an agenda to subvert American sovereignty has become embedded in the Executive and Judicial branches of government. Mike drew his line in the sand long before he received an unlawful order, and when the moment of truth came, he stood on his conscience, he held his ground. For that he has paid a price.

Oath Keepers honored Mike New at the October 2009 national conference in Las Vegas, where an award plaque was presented at the Oath Keepers awards banquet. Under the Oath Keepers emblem the award plaque reads thusly –

“Former Specialist Michael G. New

2009 Oath Keeper Military Enlisted

Lifetime Achievement Award”.

A friend of the New family and member of the Oath Keepers Board of Directors accepted the award plaque in Mike’s absence. Oath Keepers salutes Michael New’s conscientious courage. Thank you, Michael New, for standing for American sovereignty in the face of United Nations encroachment. Carry on, Soldier! History shall regard you highly.

The Daniel and Michael New website – http://www.mikenew.com/index.html

Contact – Daniel New * P.O. Box 100 * Iredell, TX 76649 * email:  ddnew@mikenew.com

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Buying it from the New family’s website helps the cause of liberty, but for those who cannot do that, the video is online here -

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3415698556870016651

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General Smedley Butler: War Is A Racket

General Smedley Darlington ButlerGeneral Smedley Darlington Butler

Note from Elias Alias:

I am going to use two separate postings to get the whole book into our site, for the book is a bit too long to fit into one textbox here. Part Two is here:

http://oathkeepers.org/oath/2011/09/28/general-smedley-butler-war-is-a-racket_part-two/

As prelude, we’ll look at some of the bio details of General Smedley Butler’s career and also read from one of his speeches from the 1930s.

In 1966 I traveled down from the 3RD Marine Air Wing headquarters at El Toro, California, to San Diego, California, where I joined my new outfit to go overseas to Viet Nam.  I was attached to a Marine Air Support Squadron, which was a high-tech field-ready mobile headquarters for coordinating jet air strikes and bombing runs.  We went over the pond on an old LST (Landing Ship, Tank) named the USS Jennings County. Between San Diego and Chu Lai, RVN, the Jennings County stopped for extended visits at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; Naha Harbor, Okinawa; and Subic Bay, Philippine Islands.

While at Naha Harbor, Okinawa, I took a ride out to a US Marine Corps base, which Marines referred to as “Camp Butler”. It was a modern Marine Corps base, actually, with hospital facilities. The base was named for Major General Smedley D. Butler, USMC.  While my visit to Camp Butler was simply as a tourist, I would return there almost a year later to spend some time in the hospital there.

So I was at Camp Smedley Butler twice during the 1960s. At the beginning of a new millennium in the year 2000 I would learn something about the General for whom that base had been named.  It seems that General Smedley D. Butler was one of the two greatest Marines in the entirety of the United States Marine Corps’ history. He was rivaled only by General Chesty Puller.

However, General Butler did something after he retired from the USMC, something which the Pentagon and War Hawks of the military-industrial complex today would prefer we do not know. He wrote a book. It was a little book, but it was a very damning little book. The book’s title is “War Is A Racket”. Moreover, he followed publication of the book by touring the nation giving speeches on its subject matter.

I am going to share that book with Oath Keepers here and now, with a personal invitation to each reader here to consider somberly what General Butler wrote, and see if it applies to the United States, our military adventures abroad, our foreign policy, and the military industrial complex which another famous General cautioned us about just a few years before I quit college and volunteered to join the Marines and go to Viet Nam. (1965)

There are numerous postings of General Butler’s book online. The book is also available in hard-copy for readers who enjoy collecting actual books for their homes. Thank you for reading War Is A Racket by General Smedley Darlington Butler, holder of two Congressional Medals of Honor and author of the most damning confession ever written by any retired U.S. military General. We’ll begin with a bit of bio.

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Smedley Darlington Butler was born at West Chester, PA on July 30, 1881. Over his parents objections, at the age of 16 he left home and enlisted as a Marine. He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in  1898, just 38 days short of his 17th birthday. He was promoted to   Brevet Captain for his heroic action during the Boxer Rebellion in  China in 1900. Thus began a career that lasted 33 years and saw him become one of only two Marines ever to hold double awards of the Navy  issue Medal of Honor.

Bearing a tattoo of the Marine Corps emblem which covered his entire chest, April of 1898 saw Butler, a newly promoted First Lieutenant, in  the Philippines exchanging “Professional military courtesies” with the insurgent Moros during the Philippine Insurrection.

Less than a year later, serving under Major L.W.T. Waller, Butler was combating the Chinese I Ho Ch’uan, (Virtuous, Harmonious Fists) commonly known as the “Boxers.” This group, attacking Chinese Christians and slaughtering missionaries, was embarked upon a pillaging and rioting spree with the plan of ousting Westerners from the Western enclaves. With the tacit approval of the Chinese Imperial Government during the month of June, approximately 140,000 violent Boxers seized the capital city of Peking and laid siege to the foreign Legations.

As part of the multinational relief force sent to break the siege, Butler and his Marines attacked the blocking city of Tientsen. Fighting his way over the wall Butler opened the gates allowing the entrance of the rest of the attacking forces. During this battle the Marine Officer was wounded twice, yet continued to fight and evacuated other wounded Marines while subjected to vicious enemy fire.

It was during this action that Butler was awarded one of the rarest of American decorations for valor, the Marine Corps Brevet Medal. Awarded to Marine Officers who displayed bravery under fire, (At this time officers were not authorized the Medal of Honor.) only twenty two of these medals were ever issued.

A stalwart leader, while commanding a small detachment of Marines aboard the USS Panther in 1903, the now Captain Butler rescued the U.S. Consular agent from rebels in Honduras. Not even malaria could keep this Marine down. Between 1909 and 1912 he was in Nicaragua enforcing American policy. With a fever of 104 degrees he once led his battalion to the relief of a rebel besieged Nicaraguan city of Grenada.

1914, As a result of an international incident involving a party of Americans ashore from the USS Dolphin in the Mexican city of Tampico, President Wilson and the U.S. Congress retaliated by authorizing the use of military force against Mexico, “…to maintain the dignity and authority of the United States,…” And so began the battle of Vera Cruz. On April 21 Admiral F.E. Fletcher sailed into the harbor of Vera Cruz with a squadron of warships and a regiment of U.S. Marines.

Again, Butler was in the thick of it. The Admiral dispatched Butler on a secret reconnaissance of Mexico City, in the event that a rescue mission for American citizens became necessary. Butler, using several disguises, made it in and out with the information which Fletcher required. He also made it back in time to command his Marine battalion in two days of house to house fighting.

It was here that Butler won his first Medal of Honor. Awarded on Dec. 1915, the citation reads, “For distinguished conduct in command of his battalion. He exhibited courage and skill in leading his men through the action of the 22nd and in the final occupation of the city.”

Haiti in 1915 was again in a dangerous state of political upheaval, and at 5:50 pm on July 28, two companies of Marines and three sailors landed in Haiti. Thus what would become a long involvement between Haiti and the U.S. Marines began. An involvement which, off and on has continued to the present day. As the occupation of this small Caribbean country began, so too did the events which would bring Butler his second Medal of Honor.

The Marines and sailors under Admiral Caperton rapidly reestablished order and an interim government. Police, customs, schools and hospitals were all placed under the purview of the Marines and Naval personnel assigned to the occupation. Roads were built or improved, cities and towns were were refurbished.

The Marines established a law enforcing constabulary, officered by Marine NCO’s who were granted Haitian commissions as officers and leaders of native troops. This group, called the Gendarmerie d’Haiti, was tasked with enforcing all laws of the country and provided a quasi military force. They were backed by the Krag-Jorgensen rifles of the 1st Marine Brigade with 88 Officers and 1941 men garrisoning ten towns.

But even all the improvements in the standard of living in this corrupt country did not settle a group of rebels called the Cacos. On the northern end of the country, skirmishing continued in the villages and jungled mountains. (It was during this same period that Gunnery Sergeant Daniel J. Daly, the other Marine to hold two Navy issue Medals of Honor, won his second award of this highest American decoration.)

In the dark of the night on Nov. 17 1915, Butler, leading a strong force of Marines and sailors surrounded the last stronghold of the Cacos. Fort Riviere, on a mountain to the south of Grand Riviere du Nord. At 07:30 am, Butler gave a signal on a whistle and all the Marines attacked. The surprise was total and the Cacos were taken in confusion. Crawling through a tunnel. Butler and his men were involved in bloody hand to hand fighting. In 15 minutes, more than 50 Cacos were killed.

The citation for Butler’s second Medal of Honor reads, “As Commanding Officer of detachments from the Fifth, Thirteenth, Twenty-third Companies and Marine and Sailor detachment from USS Connecticut, Major Butler led an attack on Fort Riviere, Haiti 17 November 1915. Following a concentrated drive, several different detachments of Marines gradually closed in on the old French bastion fort in a effort to cut off all avenues of retreat for the Cacos bandits. Reaching the fort on the southern side where there was a small opening in the wall, Major Butler gave the signal to attack and Marines from the Fifteenth Company poured through the breach, engaged the Cacos in hand-to-hand combat, took the bastion and crushed Caco resistance. Throughout this perilous action, Major Butler was conspicuous for his bravery and forceful leadership.”

By 1927 Butler was again in China and upon his completion of his tour there he returned to the States in 1929 as a Major General. He was the youngest Marine ever to have been so promoted. However, as a result of a remark made by him which was not flattering about the Italian dictator Mussolini and political maneuvering by civilians unused to Butler’s direct method of action, he failed to be selected for the position of Commandant Marine Corps. By October 1931 Butler had retired form the Corps. He died in Philadelphia in 1940.

http://www.mclm.com/tohonor/sbutler.html

~

From here; link good as of August 05, 2007:

http://www.fas.org/man/smedley.htm

Smedley Butler on Interventionism

– Excerpt from a speech delivered in 1933, by Major General Smedley Butler, USMC.

War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses.

I believe in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else. If a nation comes over here to fight, then we’ll fight. The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.

I wouldn’t go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.

There isn’t a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its “finger men” to point out enemies, its “muscle men” to destroy enemies, its “brain men” to plan war preparations, and a “Big Boss” Super-Nationalistic-Capitalism.

It may seem odd for me, a military man to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to. I spent thirty- three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country’s most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle- man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.

I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service.

I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912 (where have I heard that name before?). I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.

During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.

Links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smedley_Butler

http://www.rationalrevolution.net/war/major_general_smedley_butler_usm.htm

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War Is A Racket

~

from here on August 05, 2007

http://www.lexrex.com/enlightened/articles/warisaracket.htm

also in hard-copy (paperback)

War Is A Racket
by Major General Smedley Darlington Butler, USMC; copyright 1935, 2003 by the Butler Family; publisher: Feral House, P.O. Box 39910, Los Angeles, CA, 90039; www.FeralHouse.com and info@feralhouse.com ; ISBN: 0-922915-86-5.

~

WAR IS A RACKET

by Major General Smedley Darlington Butler, USMC

Chapter One

WAR IS A RACKET

WAR is a racket. It always has been.

It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.

A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small “inside” group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.

In the World War [I] a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. That many admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other war millionaires falsified their tax returns no one knows.

How many of these war millionaires shouldered a rifle? How many of them dug a trench? How many of them knew what it meant to go hungry in a rat-infested dug-out? How many of them spent sleepless, frightened nights, ducking shells and shrapnel and machine gun bullets? How many of them parried a bayonet thrust of an enemy? How many of them were wounded or killed in battle?

Out of war nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it. This newly acquired territory promptly is exploited by the few – the selfsame few who wrung dollars out of blood in the war. The general public shoulders the bill.

And what is this bill?

This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones. Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Depression and all its attendant miseries. Back-breaking taxation for generations and generations.

For a great many years, as a soldier, I had a suspicion that war was a racket; not until I retired to civil life did I fully realize it. Now that I see the international war clouds gathering, as they are today, I must face it and speak out.

Again they are choosing sides. France and Russia met and agreed to stand side by side. Italy and Austria hurried to make a similar agreement. Poland and Germany cast sheep’s eyes at each other, forgetting for the nonce [one unique occasion], their dispute over the Polish Corridor.

The assassination of King Alexander of Jugoslavia [Yugoslavia] complicated matters. Jugoslavia and Hungary, long bitter enemies, were almost at each other’s throats. Italy was ready to jump in. But France was waiting. So was Czechoslovakia. All of them are looking ahead to war. Not the people – not those who fight and pay and die – only those who foment wars and remain safely at home to profit.

There are 40,000,000 men under arms in the world today, and our statesmen and diplomats have the temerity to say that war is not in the making.

Hell’s bells! Are these 40,000,000 men being trained to be dancers?

Not in Italy, to be sure. Premier Mussolini knows what they are being trained for. He, at least, is frank enough to speak out. Only the other day, Il Duce in “International Conciliation,” the publication of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said:

“And above all, Fascism, the more it considers and observes the future and the development of humanity quite apart from political considerations of the moment, believes neither in the possibility nor the utility of perpetual peace… War alone brings up to its highest tension all human energy and puts the stamp of nobility upon the people who have the courage to meet it.”

Undoubtedly Mussolini means exactly what he says. His well-trained army, his great fleet of planes, and even his navy are ready for war – anxious for it, apparently. His recent stand at the side of Hungary in the latter’s dispute with Jugoslavia showed that. And the hurried mobilization of his troops on the Austrian border after the assassination of Dollfuss showed it too. There are others in Europe too whose sabre rattling presages war, sooner or later.

Herr Hitler, with his rearming Germany and his constant demands for more and more arms, is an equal if not greater menace to peace. France only recently increased the term of military service for its youth from a year to eighteen months.

Yes, all over, nations are camping in their arms. The mad dogs of Europe are on the loose. In the Orient the maneuvering is more adroit. Back in 1904, when Russia and Japan fought, we kicked out our old friends the Russians and backed Japan. Then our very generous international bankers were financing Japan. Now the trend is to poison us against the Japanese. What does the “open door” policy to China mean to us? Our trade with China is about $90,000,000 a year. Or the Philippine Islands? We have spent about $600,000,000 in the Philippines in thirty-five years and we (our bankers and industrialists and speculators) have private investments there of less than $200,000,000.

Then, to save that China trade of about $90,000,000, or to protect these private investments of less than $200,000,000 in the Philippines, we would be all stirred up to hate Japan and go to war – a war that might well cost us tens of billions of dollars, hundreds of thousands of lives of Americans, and many more hundreds of thousands of physically maimed and mentally unbalanced men.

Of course, for this loss, there would be a compensating profit – fortunes would be made. Millions and billions of dollars would be piled up. By a few. Munitions makers. Bankers. Ship builders. Manufacturers. Meat packers. Speculators. They would fare well.

Yes, they are getting ready for another war. Why shouldn’t they? It pays high dividends.

But what does it profit the men who are killed? What does it profit their mothers and sisters, their wives and their sweethearts? What does it profit their children?

What does it profit anyone except the very few to whom war means huge profits?

Yes, and what does it profit the nation?

Take our own case. Until 1898 we didn’t own a bit of territory outside the mainland of North America. At that time our national debt was a little more than $1,000,000,000. Then we became “internationally minded.” We forgot, or shunted aside, the advice of the Father of our country. We forgot George Washington’s warning about “entangling alliances.” We went to war. We acquired outside territory. At the end of the World War period, as a direct result of our fiddling in international affairs, our national debt had jumped to over $25,000,000,000. Our total favorable trade balance during the twenty-five-year period was about $24,000,000,000. Therefore, on a purely bookkeeping basis, we ran a little behind year for year, and that foreign trade might well have been ours without the wars.

It would have been far cheaper (not to say safer) for the average American who pays the bills to stay out of foreign entanglements. For a very few this racket, like bootlegging and other underworld rackets, brings fancy profits, but the cost of operations is always transferred to the people – who do not profit.

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Continued in Part Two

http://oathkeepers.org/oath/2011/09/28/general-smedley-butler-war-is-a-racket_part-two/

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Constitutional Sheriff Bill Introduced In Tennessee

County Sheriff_America's Last HopeCounty Sheriff_America’s Last Hope

Constitutional Sheriff Bill Introduced in Tenn.

Written by Joe Wolverton, II

Friday, 16 September 2011

http://thenewamerican.com/usnews/constitution/9012-constitutional-sheriff-bill-introduced-in-tenn

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A new bill making its way through the Tennessee General Assembly states that a federal employee who is not designated as a Tennessee peace officer may not make an arrest or conduct a search and seizure in the Volunteer State without the express consent of the sheriff of the county in which the arrest, search, and seizure is to occur except under certain enumerated circumstances.

The measure, SB 1108, is currently under consideration by the Senate Judiciary Committee (a companion measure offered on the House side has been referred to the House General Subcommittee on the Judiciary).

The primary author of the legislation is a lawmaker familiar with controversy — Senator Stacey Campfield (R-Knoxville, pictured). Campfield received vitriolic criticism by many for another bill he sponsored derisively (and incorrectly) nicknamed the “Don’t Say Gay Bill.”

That bill, as reported by The New American, seeks to forbid public school elementary and middle school teachers from “furnishing any materials on human sexuality other than heterosexuality.” As of today, the amended version of that bill has been passed by the state Senate and is awaiting transmission to the state House of Representatives.

Campfield’s latest offering takes aim at the encroachment by federal officers into what should be the exclusive jurisdiction of state law enforcement officials. This bill and similar measures offered in other states is known as a “Constitutional Sheriff Bill.”

The goal of both Senator Campfield’s measure and the others offered nationwide was described in an article published last year in The New American:

The borders around Montana are being blurred by an overreaching federal government bent on obliterating state sovereignty and assuming all governmental power unto itself. That’s the opinion of Rex Nichols, a candidate for sheriff of a rural county in Montana. Nichols is a retired police officer and he’s on a mission — to stop the freight train of federal absolutism in its tracks and restore power to the state and local governments.

Nichols isn’t alone on his quest. There are dozens of candidates for sheriff nationwide who share his view on the supremacy of state government and the constitutional locus of police power. These lawmen read the Constitution and nowhere in it do they find authorization for the federalization of law enforcement. In fact, they argue, the Constitution’s federal system endows local police with greater authority than any federal agent when it comes to enforcing the laws in their counties.

The specific measure offered by Senator Campfield is written boldly and clearly delineates the constitutional boundary between rightful state police authority and the unlawful exercise of that power by agents of the federal government.

So plain and powerful is the bill that it empowers the county sheriff (or his agent) to refuse permission to the federal officer to “make an arrest or conduct a search or seizure for any reason that the sheriff or designee considers sufficient.” The final arbiter of sufficient cause is the sheriff himself. This is a commendable expression of the sovereignty of the states as intended and protected by our Constitution and the men who framed it.

According to the provisions set forth in Section 1, Paragraph 5 (c) of the bill:

A federal employee who desires to make an arrest or conduct a search or seizure under subdivision (a)(4) shall obtain the written permission of the attorney general and reporter for the arrest, search, or seizure unless the resulting delay in obtaining permission would probably cause serious harm to one or more individuals or to a community or would probably allow time for flight of the subject of the arrest, search, or seizure in order to avoid prosecution. The attorney general and reporter may refuse the permission for any reason that the attorney general considers sufficient.

No vague request will satisfy the mandates of the measure were it to be enacted by the General Assembly of the Tennessee and signed into law by the governor. In fact, the bill explicitly requires that the permission request contain the following information:

(A) The name of the subject of the arrest, search, or seizure;

(B) A clear statement of probable cause for the arrest, search, or seizure or a federal arrest, search, or seizure warrant that contains a clear statement of probable cause;

seized;

(C) A description of the specific things to be searched for or

(D) A statement of the date and time that the arrest, search, or seizure is to occur; and

(E) The address or location where the intended arrest, search, or seizure will be attempted.

Once submitted, the local law enforcement agency to whom the written request was submitted has 48 hours to decide whether to extend to the federal agent permission to make the arrest, search, or seizure for which the petition was made.

The serious and very powerful posture struck by the measure is undeniable. In Section 1, Paragraph (f), the proposed law sets forth the punishments to be imposed upon a federal officer failing to conform to the dictates thereof:

An arrest, search, or seizure or attempted arrest, search, or seizure in violation of subsection (a) is unlawful, and the persons involved shall be prosecuted by the county attorney for kidnapping if an arrest or attempted arrest occurred, for trespass if a search or attempted search occurred, for theft if a seizure or attempted seizure occurred, and for any applicable homicide offense if loss of life occurred. The persons involved shall also be charged with any other applicable criminal offense.

Furthermore, if any county attorney fails to timely and properly prosecute the federal agent accused of violating the law’s mandates regarding arrest, search, and seizure, that attorney is subject to recall by the voters and “to prosecution by the attorney general for official misconduct.”

Gratefully, the state of Tennessee is not shrinking from its sovereign position. Strict constitutionalists will praise Senator Campfield and his co-sponsors for their rigid adherence to the principles of federalism and states’ rights that undergird our federal charter.

To their credit, these state lawmakers specifically cite the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in its concluding paragraph wherein is declared:

Pursuant to the tenth amendment to the United States constitution and this state’s compacts with other states, the general assembly declares that any federal law purporting to give federal employees the authority of a county sheriff in this state is not recognized by and is specifically rejected by this state and is declared to be invalid in this state.

Also, as is so unashamedly stated on a website devoted to furthering the cause of the Constitutional sheriffs and peace officers throughout the Republic:

‘Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty.’ The [Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association] will unite the sheriffs, police, and local officials who are willing and courageous enough to join us in the ‘tempestuous sea of liberty.’ I am asking you to join with us.

‘If we fail, we fail while daring greatly, so that our posterity will never place us among those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.’

Thankfully, there seem to be a growing number of citizens willing and ready to set sail on the “tempestuous sea of liberty” and repair the formerly impregnable walls of sovereignty once erected around all the states in the union.

- end –

Note from Elias: The following is one of the links embedded in the above article at its home site, (see top of page).  It is an accurate insight into the spirit of Sheriff Richard Mack, former Sheriff of Grahm County, Arizona.

http://www.examiner.com/christianity-politics-in-national/sheriff-richard-mack-oath-of-office-and-state-sovereignty

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Afghanistan: Troops Question Policy

AfghanistanAfghanistan

Times poll finds a souring mood among troops

Troops less sure of success in war, disillusioned with military quality of life

By Andrew Tilghman  – Staff writer
Posted at Army Times: Thursday Sep 15, 2011

http://www.armytimes.com/news/2011/09/military-times-poll-finds-souring-mood-091411w/

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After a decade of war in Afghanistan, many troops are losing confidence in the long-term likelihood of success for the U.S. military mission there, and their overall support for President Obama has slipped, according to the latest Military Times annual reader survey.

Slightly less than half of readers said the U.S. is “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to succeed in Afghanistan. The figure is lower among troops who have deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, the survey shows.

That has slipped steadily from 2007, when more than 75 percent of readers surveyed said the U.S. was “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to succeed in Afghanistan.

The war in Afghanistan is dampening support for Obama. Support for his handling of the war has dropped significantly since the last Military Times survey in January 2010, with about 41 percent of active-duty respondents disapproving. That’s up from 34 percent in 2010, shortly after Obama announced a surge of 30,000 additional troops for the war effort.

When asked how Obama was handling his job as president, 53 percent disapproved, up from 51 percent in 2010.

When asked superficially about Obama’s handling of his job as commander in chief, 45 percent of active-duty readers disapproved, up from 40 percent in 2010.

Respondents were split on Obama’s decision in July to begin a limited troop drawdown this year in Afghanistan. Some 37 percent “disapprove” or “strongly disapprove,” while 38 percent “approve” or “strongly approve.”

Obama’s weakening support in the ranks comes at a time when his poll numbers are dropping nationwide. Among the general population, Obama’s disapproval rating reached 53 percent in August, up sharply from 45 percent in January 2010, according to weekly Gallup polls of likely voters.

Growing pessimism

The growing pessimism among troops about the war in Afghanistan may reflect doubts about America’s long-term commitment to the herculean task of executing a counterinsurgency strategy.

“People wonder if we really have the commitment to follow this through,” said retired Army Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Hall, who was the top enlisted service member for the NATO mission in Kabul in 2009 and 2010. “I think everybody knows that we can be successful over there. But it’s going to take time and presence and commitment, and I think folks are worried that we go over there, we sacrifice our families and we work hard — but are we going to follow through? Or is this all going be for naught?”

Doubts about success in Afghanistan are slightly higher among troops who have deployed there. In a series of interviews, some troops say the mission there is fraught with a sense of futility driven by several factors, including a belief that the Afghan security forces are unmotivated.

“A lot of [the Afghan security forces] are just kind of like, ‘Well, we’ll fight with you here today and if tomorrow you all leave, then we’ll just fight for the next guy who comes along,’ said a 33-year-old Army captain who deployed to Afghanistan in 2009 and worked as a mentor to Afghan security forces. He requested anonymity because he said his command discourages talking to the media.

Michael Menning, a recently retired Air Force colonel and hospital administrator, said he became skeptical of the mission in Afghanistan after working with Afghans trying to set up a medical facility.

“They really have no interest in professional development, in learning how to run a hospital,” Menning said. “They really just think, ‘Hey, build us the hospital and we’ll run it the way we’ve always run it.’”

The pessimism is also fueled by a belief that the country is hopelessly corrupt. A 31-year-old Army sergeant who deployed to Afghanistan in 2010 said many troops believe the Afghan central government and many tribal leaders play both sides of the fence.

“Everybody knows that a majority of them still have ties with the Taliban,” said the sergeant, who asked to remain anonymous because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

Many respondents had different sentiments about Iraq. Some 70 percent say the war there has been a success. The figure was slightly higher among troops who have deployed to Iraq.

Similarly, 70 percent “approve” or “strongly approve” of current plans to withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of this year.

Opinions on Obama’s handling of Iraq remain unchanged. About 40 percent of troops approve, the same level shown in the 2010 reader survey.

Still, doubts about the initial decision to invade Iraq remain. When asked, “Should the U.S. have gone to war in Iraq?” 43 percent of troops say yes.

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Nice Article On Oath Keepers At Human Events

The Truth About The Oath Keepers

Sheriff Richard Mack

Sheriff Richard MackSheriff Richard Mack

By Kathryn M. DeLong for Human Events

August 16, 2011

Read the original here –  http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=45542

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There was a time in our nation’s history when the American people came together to rally against a domineering British monarchy. It was during this time that the Founding Fathers produced the Constitution of the United States of America. Intended to serve as the supreme law of the land, the Constitution would be an eternal reminder of the tyranny that Americans had to overcome during the country’s earliest years.

In the eyes of Americans, the Constitution has been a beacon of morality, virtue, and democratic principle. While many U.S. citizens still maintain this outlook, scores of others have decided to turn their backs on the text that once guaranteed them freedom and liberty.

Perhaps the most notable cause of concern is that the federal government and law enforcement officers – meant to act as the ultimate embodiment of constitutionality – have consistently demonstrated blatant disregard for the Constitution.

Stewart Rhodes, a former U.S. Army paratrooper and Yale Law School alumnus, recognized this growing inattention to the Constitution and determined it to be a potentially dangerous approach to governing. In response, Rhodes took it upon himself to establish Oath Keepers in March 2009.

The nonpartisan, nonprofit organization reaches out to active duty military, reserves, National Guard, law enforcement, fire fighters, and veterans who are committed to upholding and defending the Constitution.

There are 10 orders the Oath Keepers will not obey. These include disarming and detaining American citizens as combatants, imposing martial law, forcing Americans into detention camps, and infringing upon the right of the people to free speech.

“Article Six of the United States Constitution requires all government officials at every level – from the dogcatcher to the President – to take the same oath,” said Richard I. Mack, former sheriff of Graham County, Ariz., and Oath Keepers board member. “We’re required by the supreme law of the land to swear an oath of allegiance to the Constitution.”

Despite Oath Keepers’ seemingly genuine interest in restoring the authority of the Constitution, organizations such as the Southern Poverty Law Center and Anti-Defamation League have publicly denounced Oath Keepers as a threat to American society.

In its Fall 2009 intelligence report titled, “The Second Wave: Evidence Grows of Far-Right Militia Resurgence,” the Southern Poverty Law Center labeled Oath Keepers as “a particularly worrisome example of the Patriot revival.”

Mark Potok, a spokesman for the SPLC on issues of extremism, asserted that, while Oath Keepers promotes itself as a group whose mission is to uphold the Constitution, this is simply a façade.

“They say that they are merely upholding the Constitution and re-pledging their oaths to defend it,” Potok said. “We say the reality is [that] they are animated by very specific conspiratorial fears which are absolutely groundless. I think that’s obvious.”

Potok claimed that proof of this lies in the language of Oath Keepers’ ten orders. Aside from this, he was not able to specify any further evidence. The SPLC believes that the references Oath Keepers make to concentration camps and martial law irrefutably confirm that the group is based entirely upon false conspiracy theories.

“The core idea of virtually all militia groups and all patriot groups is that the evil federal government is involved in a plot to impose martial law on the United States, probably with the aid of foreign troops,” Potok said. “Those who resist will be thrown into concentration camps, which either have been or will be built by FEMA, and ultimately, the United States will take all weapons from citizens here and force this country into some kind of socialistic New World Order.”

Rhodes said that those who oppose Oath Keepers misleadingly characterize members of the group as conspiracy theorists. “It’s a smear tactic,” Rhodes said.

“Most of the things that are listed in our ten orders are reflections,” Rhodes explained. “They’re reflections of our Bill of Rights, and they’re also reflections of the history of the Twentieth century.”

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