Lt. Col. Terrence Lakin didn’t rush onto a battleground this week; he walked into a military courtroom. He didn’t fire a weapon; he pleaded guilty to disobeying orders related to deployment, and not guilty to the more serious charge of “missing movement.” But Lakin put his life – in the sense of his distinguished 17-year career as an Army surgeon, his income, his pension and his personal freedom – on the line due to his sworn duty to the U.S. Constitution.
All members of the U.S. military take the following oath:
“I, (Name), having been appointed an officer in the Army of the
United States, as indicated above in the grade of _____ do solemnly
swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this
obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God.”
To Lakin, “true faith and allegiance” were more than words; they were a call to action. And so, because the current president of the United States has never released the paperwork necessary to establish his legitimacy as a “natural-born citizen,” Lt. Col. Lakin took action. Over the course of a year, he sought assurances of the president’s eligibility from both the military and his congressional delegation. Receiving none, Lakin questioned his 2010 redeployment orders, believing that as a senior officer ordered back into a war zone – and, not incidentally, ordered to bring along copies of his own birth certificate – he had every right to ask his commander in chief to prove his bona fides. Hoping to force the issue into the open, if necessary in a military court, the Bronze Star recipient stopped following his redeployment order.
Here’s the rub as I understand it: The military justice system isn’t empowered to consider whether a president, duly elected and certified by the Electoral College, inaugurated and sworn in by the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, is anything other than what the civilian leadership says he is. What this means is that Lakin’s beau geste may originate within the military order but it falls into the category of civil disobedience – breaking the law to uphold higher principle. It is a higher principle no one else is upholding. Indeed, Lakin’s disobedience highlights the existence of a vacuum of “true faith and allegiance” in the land. A gross abdication of civilian responsibility to ensure the lawful transfer of presidential powers took place long before Lakin received orders to return to Afghanistan.
By sacrificing the service career he loves, Lakin serves the Constitution he loves more. He also does the rest of us a great favor. Through this peaceful action, Lakin has directed our attention to the moral corruption of our most trusted public servants who, rather than expose themselves to political inconvenience, permitted the secrecy of Barack Obama to fester in the first place.
As a presidential candidate born in the Panama Canal Zone, Sen. John McCain was himself challenged during the 2008 presidential campaign to prove his bona fides. He, of course, complied – who wouldn’t? As candidate, as GOP party leader, as scion of a military family, as U.S. senator, McCain failed at this crucial point simply, logically, correctly, to invite his opponent, Sen. Obama, to do exactly the same.
Like a house of cards that was never built, the rest of the Senate, the House of Representatives, the White House, the judiciary, the nation’s political parties, the Electoral College and, of course, the Obama-enthralled media all followed suit. And the rest is history.
Or would be, if it weren’t for heroic Lt. Col. Terrence Lakin.
This week’s court martial verdict, guilty on all counts, settles nothing. On the contrary, it leaves the question in boldface: What could possibly be preventing the president from showing the American people his original, 1961 birth certificate? What remains to be seen is whether there exists any authority, any leader in this whole country with the courage of a Lakin to ask.