EAST OF MAINE

American-MilitaryEditorial by Barbara Cornell.

Syndicated from Barbara Cornell’s personal blog.

The country was in a horribly unpopular war somewhere way far east of Main Street. The President decided to hold a lottery, the first since Shirley Jackson hosted one that nobody wanted to win.

My father was 20-something, had just finished college, had his first «real» job and a pregnant wife when he won the lottery, and won big. There was no possibility of honorably avoiding going to war, and being college-educated and drafted meant being an infantry officer for either the Army or the Marines, the life expectancy of whom was famously 17 minutes. It didn’t matter if the number was accurate. The reality was.

So, he did the only thing that made sense. He applied himself to getting a pilot’s license as quickly as he could, doubling and tripling up on instruction, then presented himself to the Air Force, voluntarily, qualified to be a pilot. He served his tours in Viet Nam, and once the war was over, he decided to make a career in the military.

The military was a place where duty, honor, respect, organization, integrity were rewarded and laziness, irresponsibility, entitlement were not. It was a place where doing one’s duty was expected and shifting of one’s duty was punished swiftly, a place where leaving your fellow soldiers hanging out to dry was dealt with harshly and immediately. It was a place where everyone understood his responsibilities and carried his own weight, where personal achievement was rewarded and effort was made to direct each individual’s talents to the place where they could be best shaped and utilized.

After my father lead the way, 4 out of the six brothers in his family followed in his footsteps and served in the military. And after them innumerable sons and daughters also served and continue to serve. I have family pictures with 15 or more of my immediate family in their uniforms. And it still amazes me how much pride that gives me. The man who shares my bed has served in Iraq and faces another deployment soon to Afghanistan. I always took for granted that I would serve in the military. I looked forward to it. But … there were many forks in the road.

I was born at Ft. Sam Houston Medical Army Hospital. I spent my life in the military community and graduated from a military High School in Germany, where armed MP’s lined the halls, not because drugs or gangs were a problem or violence among the student body was a danger like many of the schools in the States, but because bomb threats were literally a daily occurrence (by my senior year, the buses dropped us off at the soccer field every morning so that we could wait for the dogs to sniff out the truth or lie of the current day’s threat of a fiery death to children). We all knew terrorism’s face long before Al Queda was a household name. We all had friends and family who had suffered terrorism’s wrath.

It makes me smile a little bit that my fellow Americans were able to maintain the illusion that terrorism didn’t exist until September 11, 2001, wrapped in gauze because men like my father were able to give you years of peace more than his own family had.

I watched my father, the most honorable man I’ve ever seen, serving his country, mentoring the men under his command, tending to their families, concerning himself with what was best for the troops, their families and the nation. I watched him pace the halls of our home in the wee hours of the morning preparing himself to deliver the news to mothers and wives that their men would not be coming home. I’ve held friends in my arms, silently, while they cried because their husbands would not see their unborn children. I’ve seen up close the terrors that follow men and women home from war. I’ve listened friends agonize and second-guess themselves for choices they made in a split second whether to live or die. I’ve known and loved these people as a group and as individuals. I’ve seen the best and the brightest, I’ve seen the strong and the broken.

I’ve seen what the US military produces: pride, joy, anger, frustration, community, belonging, alienation, hope, despair, ambition, patriotism, duty, honor, obedience, insubordination, victory and loss.

What I’ve never seen in the US military, even once, was a man whose individuality was destroyed to the point that he «follows orders without question» nor have I ever met a man whose goal in life or training prepared him to «kill civilians and destroy cultures.»

And it makes me smile that, even this far down the road, impossible as it may seem, we have a nation where we still have the luxury to think of bombs and mortars, pogroms and atrocities as things that happen «over there.» Wherever «there» is.

Somewhere.

Way east of Main Street.

IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE A BURDEN

DonutCupCopArticle by Barbara Cornell.

Syndicated from Barbara Cornell’s personal blog.

«Justice Dept. to Congress: Don’t Saddle 4th Amendment on Us;» because: «Demanding warrants would be a burden to law enforcement in addition to ‘the court system.»

That’s right: «Don’t bother us with that…Constitution stuff! Dude! Getting warrants and stuff is such a drag! You’re totally harshing my buzz!»

Dear Mr Law Enforcement Professional,

Obtaining warrants for search and seizure is supposed to be a burden; that’s the whole point: that you can’t invade a person’s privacy unless you actually go to the effort of finding evidence that he’s a danger to someone. The point is: if it isn’t important enough for you to actually get off your duff and work, then it probably is just you being nosy. Due process: that’s what we’re paying you for.

Sincerely,
Private Citizen (whose mundane, boring, legal existence is just simply not your business.)

I’m imagining a scenario where I go to my clients and tell them, «But actually doing what you’re paying me to do is…it’s like…work, man! Let’s be reasonable!»

CONSTITUTIONAL WARRIOR CLASS

Members of the USA Military forces are thoroughly indoctrinated into the Law of War; a branch of international law which is the legal boundary of our military Rules of Engagement. Everyone, from the lowliest private to the loftiest general is repeatedly indoctrinated into this so that they fully understand it; in Initial Entry Training, through the commissioning sources, annually at home units, and as a required part of Mobilization training. A service member will receive training in the Law of War a MINIMUM of three times throughout a military contract. Most people will receive this training DOZENS of times throughout their military careers. The Law of War is based on the Geneva Convention Treaty, and is not a function of American Federal law.

With all of that having been said, it bears mentioning that every American soldier, whether enlisted or commissioned, must swear an oath to the Constitution of the United States in order to become inducted into military service; not the president, and not the government, and certainly not any international order, but to the Constitution of the United States.

How is it that US service members receive no, I say again, NO training on the US Constitution WHATSOEVER? Is it not ass backward that American soldiers are taught to serve an international treaty, while they are kept entirely in the dark about American law? Even US Military officers receive little to no training on the document that they have sworn to uphold, and are honor bound and responsible to protect. It is entirely possible to command a company of American soldiers without ever having read the US Constitution, yet you can believe that no one will reach that position without having become intimately familiar with the Geneva Convention, which is closely connected to the UN list of «Human Rights,» which, in reality, is a practical socialist manifesto, which outlines what governments are to provide for their people, and not what governments are limited from doing to an individual’s property and business.

The UN bill of «Human Rights» is antithetical to the US Constitution. Our service men are taught to uphold the former whilst ignoring the latter. This is outrageous.