Obama and the Military’s Moral Dilemma
By Robert Klein Engler | Published 06/18/2009
There is now reasonable doubt that Mr. Obama meets the U.S. Constitution’s requirement of “natural born” citizenship. This means that there is also reasonable doubt that he is qualified to be President of the United Sates and commander in chief.
The Kenyan citizenship of his father, the age of his mother, the lack of a birth certificate, the ambiguous nature of a Certification of Live Birth, the possible forgery of birth documents, the inability of the press to view passport and college records, and even his own statements, all add to the uncertainty many have about Mr. Obama’s qualifications to be President.
Even the often quoted “proof” by Janice Okubo only adds more gasoline to the fire of doubt. She said: “Therefore, I as director of health for the State of Hawaii, along with the registrar of vital statistics …have personally seen and verified that the Hawaii State Department of Health has Sen. Obama’s original birth certificate on record…” Notice that she does not say that this document proves that Mr. Obama was BORN in “Hawaii.”
Until proof of U.S. citizenship is presented beyond a reasonable doubt, it is reasonable to say that Mr. Obama is probably a usurper to the office of President. Yet, for many Americans, this is irrelevant. They believe that holding the office is proof that one is qualified for the office.
Even if the Supreme Court declared upon the examination of the evidence that Obama does not meet the Constitution’s qualifications to be President, what can be done? The chief justice of the court is not going to the Oval Office with a broom and sweep it clean.
The same can be said for many other American institutions. The people have voted. The man is popular. What Constitution? We prefer the thrill up our leg. These are some of the arguments put forward to support the current regime.
The Military and the Constitution
There is one American institution, however, that has a moral responsibility to support the U.S. Constitution. That institution is the U.S. military. The Constitution is the bedrock upon which military order and discipline is founded.
Colonel Anthony E. Hartle claims in his book ”Moral Issues in Military Decision Making,” that “When military members pledge to the support and defense of the Constitution, they commit themselves, by logical extension, to the principles and values that form the basis of its provisions.”
In their paper, ”Divided Loyalties: Civil-Military Relations at Risk,” DiSilverio and Laushine write: “The commissioning of military officers is another source of legal support for the Constitution as the primary legitimate authority.”
“The commission from the Commander-in-Chief states, ‘this officer is to observe and follow such orders and directions, from time to time, as may be given by me, or by the future President of the United States of America.'”
DiSilverio and Laushine continue: “The requirement to follow orders also applies to those officers appointed over the subject officer. As Anthony Hartle contends, the fundamental law of the United States is the Constitution, and the commission confirms the supremacy of the Constitution…”
“Hartle goes on to say that if a President were to issue an unlawful order, military officers would be obligated to disobey it, and that this obligation derives its moral basis in the commissioning oath.” This same obligation to disobey also holds against an order issued by an unlawful or usurper President.
Add to this, all entering the U.S. military take the following oath: “I, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States…”
The writer of the ”Natural Born Presidency Blog” reminds us that, “Military personnel are subject to a world unlike anything a CIVILIAN would ever understand. It is an anachronistic, rule oriented, self contained society which doesn’t react amiably when confronted with a breakdown of good order and discipline.”
Then he cautions us. “It should be noted…a significant gray area exists regarding whether an ineligible President can render a ‘lawful order.’ There exists a strong probability the court will reinterpret the Constitution to allow Mr. Obama to hold the office. If such occurs, the military, as a WHOLE, will nod affirmative…”
If a person is clearly not a natural born citizen, then it is hard to imagine how Congress or the Supreme Court can make him one. Furthermore, members of the U.S. military have a moral obligation NOT to follow his orders. As Hartle states, “this obligation derives its moral basis in the commissioning oath.”
If Obama is not qualified to be President from the start, then he simply is not President. The only gray area is in the hearts of his supporters. He cannot even resign. He can only be removed.
To complicate matters even further, The Uniform Code of Military Justice may be invoked to get at the truth. Writing in the Huffington Post, Martin Lewis wanted to use this Code to remove George W. Bush from office. If he is right, we can turn the tables and use his argument against Mr. Obama.
Lewis writes, “Article 7 of the Uniform Code Of Military Justice specifically says…’Any person authorized under regulations governing the armed forces to apprehend persons subject to this Code may do so upon reasonable belief that an offense has been committed and that the person apprehended committed it.'”
Removing Obama from office, in Lewis’ words, “would not be an action to undertake lightly…However, given the current imperilment of U.S. troops…you have a greater responsibility to your nation, your code of honor, and to the U.S. Constitution.”
The Constitution is a document with some flexibility. However, the military is an institution that abhors flexibility. Discipline, order, and the chain of command are not flexible. Neither is the line between life and death, honor, and victory.
The Chicago Connection
Barack Obama claims to be a Chicagoan. He is no more a native Chicagoan than Sammy Sosa, who allegedly took illegal performance-enhancing drugs to play baseball. In spite of this, there is a Chicago connection to the moral issues raised by Obama’s uncertain natural born status.
In 1815 the land that was to become Chicago was Federal Territory. Fort Dearborn, located by what is now Michigan Avenue and the Chicago River, was commanded by Captain Heald. Captain Heald was ordered to evacuate the fort by General Hull, who commanded Fort Detroit.
What documents we have about Chicago’s early history tell us that Lieutenant Helm and Captain Wells, who came up from Fort Wayne, tried to discourage the evacuation. Some historians believe that the order itself was vague and allowed for mitigating circumstances.
It seems that there were enough supplies at the fort to outlast a siege. The native forces outnumbered the U.S. forces almost ten to one. What to do? Question a vague order and save your command, or have a drink and press forward to Ft. Wayne?
Opinions differ as to the character of Captain Heald. Some argue that he was a conservative yet inept a career officer. Regardless of his character, he chose to follow orders, and evacuated the fort on the morning of August 15, 1812.
The result of the evacuation was the Fort Dearborn Massacre. It occurred on the shore of Lake Michigan about a mile and a half from the fort.
The moral dilemma faced by these Ft. Dearborn officers, at what was then a relatively unknown outpost, is no different from the moral dilemma faced by U.S. military officers today. In light of the reasonable doubts concerning Obama’s status as Commander-in-Chief, what to do?
Captain Heald and Lieutenant Helm survived the massacre, but Captain Wells did not. Nor did Ensign Rohan, a young officer stationed at Ft. Dearborn. Ensign Rohan was the first graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point to die in battle.
Duty, Honor, Country
The motto of the U.S. Military Academy is “Duty, Honor, Country.” These words are imbedded in the academy’s coat of arms. It is the duty of an officer to be a moral agent and to support the Constitution. Honor and country mean nothing if duty is ignored.
The crisis in military discipline and order created by the doubts that swirl around Barack Obama’s status as a natural born citizen can be easily resolved. A simple birth certificate showing birth in Hawaii, along with college and passport documents released to the public, is all it takes.
Up to now, Obama has done little to dispel once and for all the reasonable doubts about his status. He has created, instead, the greatest “moral issue in military decision making” in the country’s history.
Given doubts about Obama’s natural born citizen status, the Joint Chiefs of Staff have a moral duty to investigate Obama’s qualifications to be President. They must then report their findings to those under their command and the American people.
Anything less looks like a violation of their oath and a disregard for the Constitution they swore to defend. If we expect a soldier to die for the Constitution, then he must expect his officers to live by the Constitution.
This is not an issue of legitimate succession to office of Commander-in-Chief, but an issue of usurpation. The moral duty here for military officers is clear: Demand proof, or serve without honor, or resign.
Citizens and servicemen alike should be mindful that once the Constitution is made void, the United States disappears. Who wants to fight and die for nothing? Ensign Rohan did not die for nothing.