IN THE NICK OF TIME
PART 3 of 3
Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., Ph.D., J.D.
December 29, 2008
Throughout history, “martial law” has all too often proven to be an engine of oppression easily directed by usurpers and tyrants at common citizens. But if We the People themselves, through “the Militia of the several States,” execute “martial law,” they certainly will not be usurpers; and they surely will not tyrannize themselves. Standing armies, however, are quite another matter. Again and again, “martial law” has whetted the appetites of professional soldiers for permanent political power. Not only in ancient Rome have the Legions of the Republic devolved into the Praetorians of the Empire.
America’s Armed Forces—as vitally important as they are for their proper purposes—should be, should always want to be, and surely understand today that they are the very last source from which this country ought to draw its political leadership. They know that their charge is to defend America from her enemies—not to suppress and oppress We the People in aid of usurpers or tyrants, and thereby to become the People’s foremost domestic enemies! But knowledge alone is not always enough. So the Armed Forces should never be exposed—or allow themselves to be exposed, let alone seek to expose themselves—to any temptation to overstep their true constitutional boundaries. For these reasons, the Armed Forces—all the members of which have sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution—should desire, perhaps more than any other group, the restoration of the Militia to their rightful constitutional place, prominence, and legal prerogatives.
The plan to deploy some 20,000 troops “trained to help state and local officials to respond to a nuclear terrorist attack or other domestic catastrophe” is deficient for reasons of impracticality as well as illegality. According to The Washington Post, the proponents of this plan claim to be “‘preparing for multiple, simultaneous mass casualty incidents.’” But 20,000—or even 200,000—troops will not suffice, should major “domestic catastrophe[s]” occur simultaneously in enough widely scattered places throughout the country.
Besides being inadequate in mere numbers, the troops and their heavy equipment will not already be on the ground where they are needed—a decisive oversight in the plan, if as the result of the “catastrophe” transportation has been slowed or even shut down. In addition, when they finally arrive the troops will almost surely find themselves inadequately trained for all contingencies, because they will not be aware of peculiar local conditions, resources, and needs. They will not know how to coöperate with local residents to everyone’s advantage. Therefore, they will not be trusted by the people they are supposed to help—particularly if they attempt to impose “top down” control in the typical ham-handed manner of military bureaucracy, with uninformed but nonetheless imperious decisions filtering down tardily from the distant headquarters of various “Colonel Blimps.”
Even if the recondite, but real, purpose of this plan is to prepare mobile “strike forces” to cow common Americans into submission to usurpation, tyranny, and other forms of oppression directed at them from the Disgrace of Columbia, the scheme cannot succeed. Opposed to the 20,000 troops will be an estimated 80,000,000 households in possession of one or more firearms, and a total of some 260,000,000 firearms in private hands—that is, a nationwide disparity of some 4,000 to 1 in personnel (which is a minimal estimate, because many households will have more than one individual capable of using a firearm) and some 13,000 to 1 in firearms (surely also a minimal estimate). Unless the 20,000 troops should prove to be greater warriors than Leonidas and his 400 Spartans at Thermopylae, these odds are rather daunting in favor of We the People. Here, one should also recall the (perhaps apocryphal) account of Kaiser Wilhelm II’s visit to Switzerland just before World War I. Boasting of his army’s invincibility, Wilhelm pointed out to a Swiss militiaman that the German Army had twice the manpower of the Swiss. “If so,” replied the militiaman, “we Swiss shall each shoot twice and then go home.”
In the face of all this, what should the officer corps in the Armed Forces be saying? That this plan is within neither the Armed Forces’ constitutional authority, nor their institutional competence. That it is politically counterproductive if not overtly dangerous. That in the “worst-case scenarios” which supposedly provide its justification, it cannot work. That, instead of adopting this plan, “the Militia of the several States” should be revitalized—immediately, if not sooner. And that the Armed Forces should coöperate closely with the Militia to provide the most comprehensive system of “homeland security” compatible with “a free State.”
[C] The scheme to create some new, ostensibly civilian, “national-security force” is even more problematical than the plan to deploy troops around the country. Although the details remain vague, the “big picture” is stark enough: In The Chicago Tribune of 26 July 2008, John McCormick reports Barack Obama as saying: “We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.” And in a 2006 interview with Ben Smith of the New York Daily News, Obama’s soon-to-be-inside-the-White-House controller, Rahm Emanuel, disclosed that: “We’re going to have universal civil defense training, somewhere between the ages of 18 to 25 you will do three months training * * * which will give people a sense of what it means to be an American.”
Americans would be terminally deficient in patriotism if they needed the likes of Barack Obama, Rahm Emanuel, or anyone else at the apex of Washington’s political pyramid to devise a “universal” compulsory program to “give [them] a sense of what it means to be an American”. Even more deficient, though, are Obama and Emanuel with respect to their familiarity with elementary constitutional principles.
Once again, for those who need to be “give[n] * * * a sense of what it means to be an American” by reviewing the actual text of “the supreme Law of the Land,” the only place—the only place—in which the Constitution mentions “security” is in the Second Amendment: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” And this is, as well, the only place—the only place—in which the Constitution declares that any specific thing is “necessary” for any purpose. As previously noted, the Constitution also refers to “Armies,” “a Navy,” and “Troops, or Ships of War” that the States may “keep.” But nowhere in the Constitution exists any explicit power or permission—or even suggestion—for any Branch of the General Government to create some “civilian national security force” at all, let alone one “that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded” as the Armed Forces. No such power or permission being delegated, no such power or permission exists. Surely it cannot possibly be an “implied” authority, in the face of the four-fold delegation of express powers for other “security” forces. Expressio unius exclusio alterius.
Certainly some new “civilian national security force” cannot be created and deployed before revitalization of the very establishments the Constitution declares to be “necessary.” And if it cannot precede the Militia, it cannot supersede them, either.
Certainly, too, some new “civilian national security force” cannot be an organization based on universal compulsion (that is, a “draft”). The only constitutional establishments that undoubtedly may require compulsory service are “the Militia of the several States”, which at every stage in their history required all able-bodied free men to serve in some capacity (unless exempted on some very narrow ground of public necessity). Constitutionally, any draft from the general population for the Armed Forces is highly questionable. For just as can the power to tax, the power to draft can be “the power to destroy.” If one man may be drafted from the Militia, any number may be, possibly depleting the Militia to nonexistence or at least impotence. Then how could the Militia serve as “checks and balances”—as the Constitution requires—against a standing army bent on promoting the ambitions of usurpers and tyrants? See Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States (Boston, Massachusetts: Little, Brown, and Company, Fifth Edition, 1891), Volume 2, § 1897, at 646. Can the Constitution possibly countenance the absurd result that the very “checks and balances” against the standing army may be emasculated by the simple expedient of absorbing them into the standing army?
And if a draft that undermines the Militia is impermissible for the Armed Forces—which at least the Constitution explicitly mentions—how could “universal compulsory service” in some new “civilian national security force”—of which the Constitution says nothing at all—be conceivable? Obviously. such a draft could effectively destroy the Militia by:
first, conscripting Americans from the age of 18 to 25, the prime years for the most effective Militia training;
second, subjecting individuals who should be serving in the Militia to control by officers of the General Government in addition to the President, which the Constitution does not allow [see Article I, Section 8, Clause 16];
third, compelling common Americans to “be employed in the Service of the United States” for more than the three constitutionally permissible purposes [see Article I, Section 8, Clauses 15 and 16]; and
fourth, imposing a “top down” system upon “homeland security,” rather than employing the “bottom up” structure required by the Second and Tenth Amendments and all the principles of federalism that conduce to “a free State.”
Those naturally suspicious of politicians may rightly speculate as to what dark purposes Obama and his cohorts may possibly entertain in calling for this new “civilian national security force”—that it would function as a species of Komsomol to indoctrinate young Americans in the Party line, teaching them how to be the contemporary incarnation of good “Soviet persons”—that it would radicalize this country’s youth as neo-Maoist Red Guards, then turn them loose to terrorize patriotic Americans into acquiescing in totalitarianism—even that it would devolve into an a latter-day Hitler Youth, militarizing and fanaticizing young Americans to become cannon fodder in foreign wars intended to advance the imperialistic designs of global fascism. Such suspicions, however, are not necessary for anyone to know that the proposed “civilian national security force” is, to say the very least, undesirable. For, unless that force solely and faithfully serves constitutional purposes, it will serve non-American, un-American, and even anti-American special interests. And unless it takes the constitutionally prescribed form—that is, as revitalized “Militia of the several States”—it will not, it can not, serve constitutional purposes.
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So, now what? What must America’s patriots demand of Obama if he persists in calling for such a force? Nothing less than that he support revitalization of “the Militia of the several States” by the States. Simply put, enforce the Constitution. That would be “change we can believe in.” And in the nick of time, too.