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Of mice and men

It’s time to award two Marine officers the nation’s highest honors. No, I’m not talking about the Congressional Medal of Honor. Frankly, the way Congress has behaved in recent years, with a few exceptions, that proud emblem has been severely tarnished.

I’m talking about a new tribute entirely. Let’s call it the “Citizen-Soldier Medal of Honor.”

I hereby nominate as the very first recipients two brave and honest men — Maj. Shane Sellers and Reserve Maj. Daniel Rabil. Both risked their careers — and more — to call a liar a liar, even if he is the president of the United States and the commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

In a recent issue of Navy Times, Maj. Sellers called President Clinton an “adulterous liar,” prompting the Defense Department to remind all service members that they are forbidden from using “contemptuous words” about the president.

Despite that warning, Maj. Rabil wrote a guest column in the Washington Times last week calling Clinton a “lying draft dodger” and “hypocrite-in-chief.”

“I therefore risk my commission, as our generals will not, to urge” the president’s impeachment, wrote Rabil.

Notice these men are speaking out because the generals are not. The generals are ignoring the way Clinton has contributed to the decline in morale in the military and its state of readiness. Forget about the question of impeachment, they are not even living up to their oaths to support and defend the Constitution. Instead, their loyalty is to a man — a corrupt leader who flagrantly violates and undermines that Constitution.

But there’s a cost to speaking out against an administration that maintains enemies lists and uses them. That’s why these men are courageous. They need to be celebrated for their actions — not condemned.

I don’t see why soldiers should lose their First Amendment rights when they enlist in the armed forces. If they are there to uphold the Constitution, they ought to be able to enjoy and practice their most basic constitutional rights — even if that means calling the president a liar when everyone knows it to be true.

Wouldn’t it indeed be a great tribute to American freedom if more military men, more officers and maybe even a general or two had the guts to do what Sellers and Rabil have done? I think our great republic could withstand the controversy. Don’t you?

Imagine if one by one — every day or every week for as long as this administration continues to be a blight on our country — more soldiers came forward and denounced the dishonesty they see in their commander-in-chief.

I’m putting out the clarion call today for more soldiers to do just that. Come on, guys. I hear from you every week. You write in anonymously — now it’s time to put your life on the line for your country in a new way. Speak out. Stand up. Be counted.

The civilians are not getting it done. They are fat and lazy and they know nothing of sacrifice or the great dangers our country faces in the coming years. Soldiers do.

I believe with all my heart that if our military men confronted the American people with the truth, this nationwide daze might be lifted.

Every day people write to me and ask: “What can we do to make a difference? Our congressmen don’t listen. The newspapers ignore our letters to the editor. How do we make our voices heard?”

Sellers and Rabil made their voices heard because of who they are and what they risked. Now it’s time for others to step into the breach.

So far, Sellers and Rabil have not faced court martial. They have not been dishonorably discharged. They have not lost their retirements. But if nobody else comes forward, they stand to lose everything. But what if dozens of soldiers took the same course? What if hundreds did? What if it became a national phenomenon? What if every newspaper in America were faced with letters and op-ed pieces like those by Sellers and Rabil?

That just might be the kind of peaceful insurrection this country needs to awaken from this nightmare.

So let’s test the system. Let’s see how strong America’s commitment to freedom really is. It’s time for dramatic action. It’s time for risk-taking.

Any volunteers?