Free Markets, Free People

They just don’t get it

They don’t get a couple of things.


When Army Sgt. Patrick Hart decided a decade ago that he would not serve in the war in Iraq, he expected to follow the same path as thousands of American war resisters during the Vietnam era and take refuge across the border.

But after five years of wrangling with the Canadian immigration system, he came back to the U.S. — and ended up in a military prison.

Of course, Hart swore this oath at his enlistment and any re-enlistment he did:

I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

When your service is contingent upon that voluntary agreement, via oath, to fight all enemies “both foreign and domestic” and “to obey the orders” of those placed above you in your chain of command, you don’t get to decide who the enemies are or what orders you’ll obey. And if you do make a decision not to fight a particular enemy or obey a particular order, then you must also be willing to stand up and suffer the consequences of your principled stand.  Not run and hide.

Yes, there are illegal orders and it is your duty to disobey them – and then stand your ground and ride out the aftermath.  Same with refusing to fight.  Do so and stand there and take the consequences.

But when you voluntarily take an oath such as the armed forces requires, you better think seriously about what those words mean before you utter them and then sign your name to them.  As mentioned, this is a volunteer military.  No one makes you go in, no one makes you swear the oath, etc.  And nowhere does the oath allow caveats on who or what you may or may not fight.

So, knowing that, I have little to no sympathy for prisoner Hart.  He got what he deserved and I’m quite happy to see that Canada gets the difference.  Apparently some other folks don’t:

Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau has not committed to letting the resisters stay, but many are buoyed by his family history. It was his father, Pierre Trudeau, who while prime minister during the Vietnam War said Canada should be “a refuge from militarism.”

“Why not do it again? It’s only a couple of dozen people,” said Michelle Robidoux, spokeswoman for the War Resisters Support Campaign in Toronto, which has been lobbying members of Parliament.

The difference between the military of the Vietnam era and the military of today is summed up quickly: draft army vs. volunteer army.  You can actually have some sympathy for those who fled to Canada during that era instead of doing something they were “press ganged” into doing or didn’t believe in.  For most, no oath was involved and they hadn’t volunteered for anything.

“Why not do it again?”  Because these people deserting now are deserting a voluntary commitment that suddenly became inconvenient for them.  They voluntarily swore an oath and now, instead of fulfilling it, they’re cutting and running.  That’s why you don’t do it “again”?


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10 Responses to They just don’t get it

  • To the left it is very simple: No oath is important or binding, unless it is an oath to follow progressive principles, of which there are none.

  • “For most, no oath was involved”

    Sorry, but Everyone takes the oath at induction, drafted or enlisted. I suppose the case could be made that it was done under duress, but as far as I know no one has done so.

    • Sorry, old boy, but you are probably wrong. The memory is dimming with age.

      “It is unnecessary to administer an oath to enlisted men brought into the service by draft. The one hundred and ninth article of war does not apply to them.”

      Opinions of the Judge Advocate General of the Army: April 1, 1917, to December 31, [1918], Volume 2, Page 178

    • I’m talking about those who fled to Canada before induction (but upon being drafted) and claimed sanctuary. There were a ton of ’em.

      • Oh. Never mind.

        Now I am thoroughly confused. I thought I remembered everybody, draftee and enlistee, being sworn but then I decided to check and all I could find about draftees taking an oath was what I cited.

    • Depends on if they were dodgers or deserters.

      If I’m recalling correctly the dodgers fled between losing their deferment or discovering their number really really sucked and accepting their ‘invitation’ to the induction ceremonies.
      The deserters took the oath.

      And the dodgers were pardoned by Jimmah back in 77.

      The deserters from then are in the same boat as this deserter is now – still wanted (if only technically after all these years for the Vietnam deserters).

  • This was a serving soldier who had taken the oath, not a draft dodger.

    He’s right where he belongs.

  • The first comment is spot-on: The same thing has happened with Modern Marriage American-Style — when an “oath” becomes inconvenient, it’s automatically considered void. Too bad there may be innocent parties who are damaged for the rest of their lives. (*)

    This is ALSO demonstrated by Our Leadership in all three Branches of the Feral Government. “Oath? but no, that’s just some stupid words I said once. They don’t matter now; I’ve EVOLVED.”

    Which, following that thought further, is why you should NEVER let Progressives dictate the terms of a discussion. They grab hold of a word and start torturing it; then before you can blink twice, it gets forced into meaning the OPPOSITE of what you thought you agreed to. “Marriage” = 3 gay dwarves and their pet pygmy goat? Sure, why not? “Treaty” = honest, guys, you *already agreed* to whatever deal we finally negotiate. “Law”= we’ll let you know what it says after we pass it.

    Who’s to say that all this NewThink is wrong? Does the Constitution forbid it? (And even if it DID, the Brand-New Emanations-and-Penumbras of our Living Constitution mean something ELSE to our Traitors at SCOTUS, who can ALWAYS find a way to “re-write the legislation” to force it into accordance with Dear Leader’s Will..)

    = = = = = =

    (*) I wonder if there are statistics on how many Liberals/ Progressives come from broken homes. The idea that “my parents swore to love each other -and to love us kids- forever. Then they broke their promise to each other. Will they stop loving ME, too? Will Mom or Dad one day get mad at me and tell me to get out, go away, and never come back?” To those of us of a conservative bent, it’s important to raise kids in a stable, non-chaotic atmosphere. Children in “limited-parental-attachment” households might just see delayed gratification / planning for the future / working-and-saving for some ultimate goal / as a pointless exercise in self-denial.