“Obama’s decimating our military. Surely the top brass can see it. When are they going to do something about it?”
It’s not an exact quote, but it’s pretty close, mainly because I’ve seen about four or five variations of it on my Facebook newsfeed the last couple of weeks.
First off, I’m not one of those who believe President Obama is woefully inept. Any one of his apparent “shortcomings” would be indicative of ineptitude. All of them combined tell me he knows exactly what he’s doing, and the number of rounds of golf he’s getting says he likes the results.
Now, as a veteran petty officer in the U.S. Navy, my response to question above has been pretty simple: When are YOU going to do something about it?
Steve, I, and other authors on this website have said many times over the years that we get the government we deserve. Or, better stated (in a very Stan Lee kind of way): with great freedom comes great responsibility.
By extension, you also get the military you deserve.
If you want something to be done about the Usurper-in-Chief in the White House, you need to do something about it. You cannot expect the military to “do something” – which, by the way, implies you’re encouraging a military coup – when it would require the U.S. military to violate every principle its members hold dear.
Augustine of Hippo and Thomas Aquinas have largely been influential on the matter of just warfare. And as an extension of that philosophy, our nation’s Founders were keen to have a small, limited standing army that fought only when necessary, but served the interest of national security along our western frontier borders.
That small standing army was built up as needed with the use of state militias and later, the National Guard (founded in 1903). Not to dumb it down too much, but when the Just War Doctrine was invoked, it was the military’s job to blow things up and kill the bad guys, while the civilians in control determined what was to be blown up and who were the bad guys.
It was a system that worked quite well for the U.S. from its infancy all the way through two world wars.
Even though liberal-socialist-progressive-statism has taken over in most aspects of the “American way of life,” the U.S. military still operates in a system enshrined on the premise of civilian supremacy in all branches. Yes, there are checks and balances between the legislative and executive branch to prevent either from misusing the nation’s military power, but ultimately, the military answers to “We the People.”
Don’t believe me? Here’s the Oath of Enlistment and the Oath of Commissioned Officers. They were instituted by a forward-thinking First Congress, which was dominated by veterans of the Revolutionary War. They wrote it to ensure the military would never be used against the populace.
Notice, the military – both enlisted and officers alike – swear their allegiance to the Constitution, to a document that begins with the words “We the People.” But, the U.S. is a constitutional republic, not a democracy, where the interests of the people are supposed to be protected by their elected representatives.
So, unless you stand up and say something, Congress is going to act in its own self-interest with regard to the military (as it seemingly does on almost every other issue). If Congress refuses to act, an unscrupulous President can take advantage of the leadership vacuum to misuse and/or abuse the military however he sees fit.
You can be certain most current active duty members of the military don’t like what’s going on right now. They would love for it all to stop. But for the most part, their hands are tied, by both military tradition and regulations.
But it’s up to you now. When you see the military being misused or abused, it’s up to you to do something.
Specifically, you must speak to your elected officials, and get every like-minded American to speak up, as well. As we have learned time and again with our current Congress, they will fight tooth and nail whenever an issue becomes vital to their self-interest of political preservation.
It’s time to put the fear of God in Congress. Just don’t expect or ask the U.S. military to do it for you. There’s a lot we’ve done and will do for you and the freedoms you hold dear. But asking us to violate the most important promise we’ve made is just a bridge too far.
The men and women of the U.S. military have far too much honor running through their veins for that.