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I find it interesting that there are no military officers speaking up concerning the proposal for certain civilians to call American soldiers into action inside the U.S.

I served in the Marines for 14 years, having been a non-commissioned officer, staff non-commissioned officer and commissioned officer. When I entered service in 1970, I swore an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic. Not only that, but every time I was promoted, I was required to reaffirm that same oath.

The problem with the oath is that afterwards, there is not a means of instruction within the service that provides guidance as to what it means to defend the Constitution from all enemies, foreign or domestic.

Essentially, the instruction that’s provided is that each branch of service has a civilian at the top of the chain of command that ultimately ends with the president, the commander in chief. Also, we were taught, in passing, about Posse Comitatus. In the Marine Corps, that’s what is taught in Boot Camp and The Basic School. Otherwise, there is no vehicle of instruction, other than personal research, to teach Marines how to apply that oath as defenders of the Constitution, at least not for company-grade officers and below. Granted, it’s been 25 years since I was in service, but I doubt if anything has changed.

My highest rank was a captain. I served in rifle companies, on battalion staff and on division staff. At no time do I recall ever having instruction nor even discussion of what our responsibility as Marines would be concerning application of our oath to defend the Constitution.

It was never an issue of concern. Now, this issue has reared its ugly head, and I’ll bet that it’s still not an issue of concern in the military ranks. They’re clueless.

There was a survey done some 15 years ago or so, where enlisted Marines were asked if they would fire on civilians if given the order. The concern at the time was that 26 percent said that they would. Given the lack of instruction on the Constitution in public schools, it would be interesting to find out how many soldiers and Marines would respond to that survey today.

There are two situations that I can think of where the military was called in to act. One was Harpers Ferry, and that involved a government owned and operated weapons arsenal. With the leadership of Robert E. Lee, that one went quite well. The other was the internment of Japanese Americans in World War II. That one was a crying shame. I do not think that there needs to be any change in the laws concerning deployment of military forces within our borders. America has done quite well operating within the restrictions placed upon the use of our military.

Our law enforcement agencies have always been able to handle the load, and I don’t think that’s changed.

David Redmond


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