"...do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic..."

"For the good of the Air Force, for the good of the armed services and for the good of our country, I urge you to reject convention and careerism..."
- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Maxwell AFB, April 21, 2008

"You will need to challenge conventional wisdom and call things like you see them to subordinates and superiors alike."
- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, United States Air Force Academy, March 4, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

Of Pigs and Priests

There is somewhat of an interesting debate in the comments section of Tom Ricks' recent blog post where Ricks states that he thinks it's sometimes necessary for the U.S. government to assassinate Americans citizens, ostensibly without charging them for a crime, and without putting them on trial, and without concern for their location or whether or not they provide an imminent threat to anybody.

In the comments on that blog, one military Judge Advocate lawyer provides his Priestly legal perspective, along with his Pigish command for non-lawyers to "stay in their lane" when considering the law. You see, we cannot understand the law ourselves as military officers, let alone American citizens. We require a Priest to tell us what the law means and what actions we can and cannot do, just as the Priests of old advised their Kings, and translated the Word of God to the masses unable to read it for themselves. We are just everyday Americans, so we cannot be trusted to think for ourselves and to determine the rightful actions of our government. We are not qualified to understand America or its laws, just as we require the Banker or his representative to tell us about derivatives.

They are educated in their technical crafts, and as George Orwell tells us of the Pigs on the "Animal Farm:"
The pigs now revealed that during the past three months they had taught themselves to read and write from an old spelling book which had belonged to Mr. Jones's children and which had been thrown on the rubbish heap.
With this knowledge, after the animals had risen up to rule themselves, they created Seven Commandments and painted them on the side of a barn. They created law. Orwell tells us that when it came time to run the farm, "the pigs were so clever that they could think of a way around every difficulty."

One difficulty was that many of the animals did not have the mental capacity to learn the Seven Commandments, so the pigs broke it down into something they could understand. "Four legs good, two legs bad!" Orwell tells us the sheep would bleat this simple maxim repeatedly, never tiring of it.

On the topic of food, it was decided the pigs would eat the apples and milk, since they were "brainworkers" who ran the Farm. The pigs made it clear they did not want to eat these desired foods, and many did not like them, but stated to the other animals, "It is for your sake that we drink that milk and eat those apples." Like a bailout to the banks, it was done for the sake of the many.

The issue of electricity on the farm came up, and one pig, named Snowball, favored building a windmill to provide it, while another did not. The advocate of the windmill was a hero who had been awarded a medal for his bravery in defending the Farm against a human advance. In the debate, the pro-science Snowball articulated a vision that swayed the other animals, but before he could finish, another pig, Napoleon, had "nine enormous dogs wearing brass-studded collars" chase him off the farm. Many of the animals were troubled, but the brightest among them who began to speak met growls from the dogs. Another pig then spoke of a new arrangement:
"Comrades...I trust that every animal here appreciates the sacrifices that Comrade Napoleon has made... Do not imagine, comrades, that leadership is a pleasure! On the contrary, it is a deep and heavy responsibility. No one believes more firmly than Comrade Napoleon that all animals are equal. He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where would we be? Suppose you had decided to follow Snowball, with his moonshine of windmills--Snowball, who, as we now know, was no better than a criminal?"
One animal spoke up and mentioned that Snowball had fought bravely in battle for the defense of the Farm. The pig replied:
Bravery is not enough... Loyalty and obedience are more important. And as to the Battle of the Cowshed, I believe the time will come when we shall find that Snowball's part in it was much exaggerated.
The story continues to show that the Pigs who ruled began to break the rules set about for the good of the whole farm. Rule by rule of the Seven Commandments was changed or interpreted to mean something other than its original intent. The rule that "No animal shall sleep in a bed" became "No animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets," once the pigs had moved into the once verboten farm house.

The story tells us that Snowball, who had escaped the farm, was declared a traitor and the death sentence was pronounced upon him. Not all animals believed him to be a traitor, and one stated so, remembering his bravery in defending the Farm and his wounds in battle. This was met with one Pig's response that they had "secret documents" that showed this not to be the case, and that "Our Leader, Comrade Napoleon...has stated categorically, comrade--that Snowball was Jones's agent from the very beginning--yes, and from long before the Rebellion was ever thought of." The animal was convinced, "If Comrade Napoleon says it, it must be right."

Several days later, Napoleon called a gathering and had the dogs suddenly seize four animals who had previously protested one of his decisions. They confessed to treason and admitted they had been inspired by Snowball. They were slaughtered on the spot, and several other animals were also put to death in succession. The animals who lived were "shaken and miserable." According to Orwell:
A few days later, when the terror caused by the executions had died down, some of the animals remembered-or thought they remembered-that the Sixth Commandment decreed "No animal shall kill any other animal." And though no one cared to mention it in the hearing of the pigs or the dogs, it was felt that killings which had taken place did not square with this...Muriel read the Commandment for her. It ran: "No animal shall kill any other animal without cause." Somehow or other, the last two words had slipped out of the animals' memory. But they saw now that the Commandment had not been violated; for clearly there was good reason for killing the traitors who had leagued themselves with Snowball.
The rule of law is important, and in America we have many Pigs and Priests who are only concerned with themselves, and their ambitions for power and money. We also have a great many Sheep and collared-Dogs, many who delude themselves into thinking they are Pigs to justify their cowardice. It's time to treat these Pigs and Priests as their characters deserve. That starts by recognizing them for what they are. George Orwell's, "Animal Farm" should be considered required reading in that endeavor. Then we can see Priests like the JAG on Ricks' blog, for what they are...Pigs holding a paint can, debasing our Constitution and rule of law.

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