"...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

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Why We Serve?

I just read some statements from a retired Air Force National Guard O-5, that I think crystallize the problem with the military, and government today.  Why serve?  Why hold a position in the government?  What does it mean to serve?  According to this former A-10 pilot and commander:
...if anyone says they are serving their country because of the things they have an opinion on or believe are true they [sic] it can be logically inferred by those holding a contrary view that what they believe in is wrong and even treasonous.

It is therefore totally inappropriate to drape oneslf [sic] in the flag and use their military service as a weapon to defend their beliefs, whatever side of an issue they happen to fall. Personal beliefs are personal.
Put another way, if somebody serves because of their beliefs, then another person who doesn't believe those things may find those beliefs wrong or even treasonous.  Therefore it's inappropriate to use military service as a defense for those beliefs.

I don't buy the logic, but what troubles me more is the apparent implication that people should "serve their country" for reasons that have nothing to do with belief on what is true, or right, or righteous.

For example, the belief that people have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  Or the belief that all men are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.  Or the belief that government cannot abridge the freedom of the press, or take life, liberty, or property without the due process of law.  And, of course, the belief that a government and society that recognizes these truths above, is worth living in and worth defending by force when necessary.  The retired full bird appears to believe that defending these beliefs is not a good reason to  sign up for military service (though the oath of office requires signing on to these beliefs for expressly that purpose).

To believe that "serving" your country has nothing to do with beliefs, or truth, is to deny serving your country.  It is no wonder our government is failing the American people, and the actions and professions of so many public servants who raised their hands, appear to be made and spoke, without concern for what is believed to be right and true.

It's unfortunate that some who have taken the oath, and been given so much authority and responsibility, "serve" for reasons that have nothing to do with American ideals.

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