"...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

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Stress of Foreign vs Domestic Battle

My career can be neatly divided into two parts.  The first ten years were spent in combat operations, while the second ten are better characterized by battling for the integrity of good government.  Oddly enough, the last ten years have been the most difficult and stressful of my career.

This may partly be due to air power and the relative safety of altitude.  My time in combat was spent trying to protect the guys on the ground who were truly in combat, and therefore my experience of war is limited.  In my first ten years I had one deployment flying missions into Bosnia, and eight deployments flying missions in Afghanistan and Iraq.  I flew a dangerous mission on the first night of OIF, and got to experience being shot at by SCUD missiles while making my way to the aircraft in chemical ensemble, only to hours later be shot at while in the air.  We were all familiar with the fate of Spirit 03, and we all knew that our community had lost more people than any other during the first war in Iraq.  We were all familiar with that piece of history.  Later in the war, I got to experience the blast wave of a mortar that exploded on the open airfield yards away from me and my crew, much closer than the typical nightly mortar barrage.  The toughest part of war was witnessing great Americans wounded and killed in combat, and being unable to stop it.  Fortunately that was exceedingly rare when we were overhead.  And thankfully, I was able to play a role in saving American lives and removing our enemy from the battlefield in a very direct manner.

In total, I spent more than two years in combat operations overseas.  But my domestic battles best characterize my service to this nation.

The last ten years, outside of remote combat operations, have not involved combat and have instead been spent defending the Constitution and myself from bad government.  Sometimes people will hear me rant about our rights and the importance of defending them, and will ask me how I can be a part of government when I hate government so much.  I explain to them that I do not hate government.  Rather, I hate bad government, and I am a part of good government.  In the past ten years I have spent a great deal of my time and my personal wealth, supporting and defending the Constitution against domestic enemies.  This has included a lawsuit against a police officer who unlawfully pulled me over and arrested me, and who lied in his attempt to justify his unlawful actions.  It has also included my refusal of a deadly serious unconstitutional order, and having to face removal from the service with more than fifteen years in uniform, even after tendering the resignation of my commission.  And it has included a lawsuit against Border Patrol agents who violated the fourth amendment, and who contacted the military to cause damage to my career through their false claims.  The uncertainty of keeping my job after refusing to commit treason, having my loyalty challenged by those without a single shred of loyalty to the American people, and having to change retirement plans in order to pay legal bills, has taken a toll.  Much more than being shot at.  But such is the life of a faithful public servant who took an oath to support and defend the Constitution and bear true faith and allegiance to it.  Nobody said it would be easy, and as I have learned, faithful public service ain't no chump game.

The several videos in the playlist above detail my latest act of service, a battle fought within our third branch of government, via Rynearson v. United States of America, et al.  I still find it odd to read the title of the lawsuit.  As far as I'm concerned, I am acting on behalf of the United States of America, not against it.

I am good government trying to correct bad government.

That is a difficult task.  Fortunately, I learned from previous experiences and began recording my interactions with law enforcement and even those in my line of work when they gave me reason to doubt their integrity.  I can prove the truth of events in this latest fight.  Now, I simply need good government to hold bad government accountable, and to uphold our law and give it teeth.  It's stressful waiting on good government to do right by the nation.  Good government and accountability are so rare, and yet faithful public service is incredibly vital to our nation.

Fighting against domestic enemies of our constitution is done with words, money, community and creativity, rather than with the bullets and bombs used against foreign enemies.  But, in my limited experience, these domestic battles can leave far more painful scars.  We expect our foreign enemies to do us damage.  But it really hurts when those among us, those who we pay to protect our rights, do more damage to us and our constitution than a foreign enemy ever could.  That truly hurts.  And it makes the memories of brothers who have fallen on foreign lands, that much more painful as the value of their sacrifice seems less clearly established.

As public servants, we can never allow ourselves to be on the wrong side.

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