"...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

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Ranger Tabbed West Point Grad Faces Felony - Antonio Buehler

Antonio Buehler graduated from West Point, graduated from Army Ranger school, was then educated in combat operations overseas, and still later graduated from Stanford graduate school. He is now getting a PhD in false charges for exercising the Constitutional rights he fought for in Iraq. Not a bad resume for a middle school teacher in Austin, Texas.

It's understandable that he would have such an impressive resume given the incredible record of the family that raised him. His father was an enlisted infantry soldier in the Army with three tours in Vietnam. His mother was also military and served in Somalia. His brother, also a West Point graduate, did three tours in Iraq before graduating from a Harvard graduate program.

Antonio simply met the standard of an exceptional American family, and he has continued to do so after separating from the service. As the news broadcast above shows, on New Years Eve in Austin Texas he saw police arresting two females and he heard screaming from one of them, so he began taking pictures to secure evidence. One police officer then walked over and arrested him while Antonio screamed, "why are you touching me?!"

The officer later claimed that Antonio had spit on him, and charged him with a felony that carries with it years in prison if found guilty.

Fortunately, due to some very creative networking and internet leverage, Buehler was able to get the word out and he has had multiple witnesses come forward. Those witnesses - concerned citizens like him who were video taping the incident - have helped him overcome the Austin Police Department's refusal to release dash camera footage. Buehler's education, dedication to the Constitution, and resourcefulness remind me of former Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) pilot, John Robb, who blogs about such creative technology and tactics being used to fight against oppressive governments. Watching Buehler master some of the techniques Robb blogs about on his Global Guerillas site makes me think the military lost out when Antonio Buehler departed our ranks.

On the other hand, perhaps America lost nothing as this military officer continues to battles for freedom and defend the Constitution here at home, in hand to camera combat where liberty truly lives and dies. As a veteran with two lawsuits myself, one against a Texas police department, and another against the Department of Homeland Security, I truly appreciate veterans who honor their oaths even when they separate from military service. Such an example of American courage is rare and should be celebrated. And it is financially very costly for us little people - justice takes money as I have unfortunately learned.

For those interested in learning more about this great American, you can visit his Facebook Page and you can help defray the costs of his defense against a clearly fabricated felony by donating to his defense fund using PayPal. Keep in mind, a felony equates to never being able to own firearms, get a government job or assistance, and even means not being able to vote in certain states. Don't let a man suffer further degradation of his Constitutional rights simply because he exercised them. We all lose in that case.

Read, Think, Write...Even Blog

Interesting speech given by Admiral James G. Stavridis about the need for officers to read, think, and write in order to out-brain our enemies. The admiral says that we can no longer count on our superior values or resources to win wars, we have to out think them. And to do that, officers need to start reading, thinking, and writing more - even though there may be career risk in doing so.

Next, let me share some thoughts about writing. Because after you read, and think, I would argue you must write. Writing is easy for some and hard for others, but it is essential in communicating what we have learned, as well as allowing others to challenge our views and thus make them stronger. You will write plenty here for the faculty. But I would strongly encourage you to set a goal of publishing an article somewhere as a result of the work you have done here.

Share your ideas in print—a scholarly journal, a military magazine, a literary journal, or even a blog post. Get out there with your ideas. Nail your whispers to the wall. Conclude the trilogy of read, think, and write—and try to publish. Is there "career risk" in publishing? I suppose. It hasn't hurt me too badly over the years. What matters more is testing your ideas on the field of intellectual battle, so to speak.

Ron Paul Supporter in Uniform

The video above shows a soldier at the Iowa Caucus in uniform supporting Congressman Ron Paul. He has a tattoo of the Twin Towers on his neck and he provides his opinions to Dana Bash from CNN before the feed goes sour. Later that evening, Congressman Paul invites him onto the stage during a speech. Unfortunately, the soldier agrees to speak.

I'm certainly a fan of military members exercising their rights and expressing their opinions and attempting to strengthen America. God knows we have some serious problems and everybody needs to pitch in for this nation. While I certainly appreciate the passion this particular soldier shows for a man he believes to be a solution to the political problems of America, the soldier was wrong to express that passion while in uniform on a national stage. Not only is such uninformed political action prohibited by military regulation, such action also sends a dangerous message. It's a matter of symbols and messages.

The military uniform is a symbol of sterile and impartial service to elected officials. It's a symbol that garners respect, deserved or not, from civilians in airports and at restaurants. People see the uniform and automatically attribute service and sacrifice. The military uniform in other countries throughout history, however, has been seen as a symbol of oppression and occupation and the violent machinery of the state against the People. Consider the redcoats in the earliest days of America. Uniforms in some countries signify the backing of a politician or King. In some countries in South America, the uniform is a symbol of a rigged election backed by violence.

In America we believe in a civilian controlled military. Our military doesn't back any particular candidate, it doesn't stare down voters in the voting booth and it doesn't seek for any vested interest in the political process. Rather, it stands by impartially to serve the will of representatives elected by the citizenry.

This soldier sent a poor message when he took the stage to back Ron Paul. Imagine if he had been joined by a few of his comrades. Imagine if an entire company showed up to stand in formation behind Ron Paul. What if a candidate showed up to the caucus on top of a tank with a formation marching behind it? What message might that send?

I think this soldier did his candidate's campaign a disservice by not thinking a bit more about the role of the military in civil elections.