"...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, May 20, 2012

NDAA & The Chilling Effect

In my previous blog post, I discussed the judiciary's halting of provisions of the NDAA that would allow the military to unconstitutionally arrest American citizens indefinitely based on mere suspicion, and to unconstitutionally deny Americans the right to a lawyer. Judge Forrest found portions of the NDAA troublesome regarding its effect on the First Amendment, and mentioned the chilling effect the law would have on people, including the journalist plaintiffs. Who is going to speak out and criticize the government if they can be labeled a domestic terrorist, and disappeared without recourse? The fact alone that the government claims the power to disappear Americans without charge or trial, would be enough to make many journalists and concerned citizens become silent. That is the chilling effect on First Amendment rights enjoyed by Americans, and this finding by Judge Forrest reminded me of a documentary I had seen on Netflix, entitled, End of America. Turns out the documentary is available online for free, and is posted above. While the narrator makes a glaring mistake on the origin of possee comitatus, the documentary is very well done and gives an interesting perspective on the chilling effect noted by Judge Forrest.  The documentary includes excellent contributions by several Americans including retired General James Cullen, the former Chief Judge of the United States Army.

It's important for military professionals to stay informed about trends to turn our military apparatus inward, so that we can be ready and prepared to honor our oaths to support and defend the Constitution should there be a conflict between what we are ordered to do, and what is Constitutionally permissible.  This is the reason our profession is different from that of the Wall Street banker, or the Enron employee.

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