Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Thank a Marine


Didn’t We Fight Some War Guaranteeing Freedom of Speech?

By Richard E. Noble

My sister-in-law once asked me if this country didn’t fight some war once for the right to say what we wanted - free speech. In addition to that nearly everyday I get some sort of email telling me that if I am enjoying my freedom, or my good job, or my home or my child’s public education, I should thank a Marine.
I understand where these people are coming from but I have some problems with this line of thinking. I know that no one out there is going to like to hear what I have to say but I am going to say it even without their permission or without invoking praise to a Marine or the Corps.
I was in the Navy so we never cared much for a Marine anyway. There was a rather strong rivalry going on there. I would also like to say that I was not all that impressed with the Navy either. I thought that the whole process was rather un-American to tell you the truth.
It is difficult for me to understand how I owe my freedom and individual rights to a Marine when the Marine Corps has yet to this very day been able to establish freedom and individual rights for their own members.
If you have ever been a Marine, or in any branch of the U.S. Military Service for that matter, you should have noticed that once you took your oath to defend the Constitution of the United States of America, you were no longer subject to the protections contained in that agreement.
When you took your oath your rights and privileges written and supposedly guaranteed to you under the provisions of that document were “temporarily suspended”. Even though in a document that preceded this Constitution it was stated that these rights were endowed upon me and you by our Creator (not a Marine) and that they were unalienable.
You didn’t notice?
You didn’t notice that guy who kept calling you names and saying unsavory things about your sister and mother? Or those many older men who kept suggesting that you were unfit to be a human being and that you should be living in a sewer or someplace worse? You didn’t feel that your “Constitutional” rights had been violated when you were told that you couldn’t leave the premises, or that you would not be able to eat for the next three days; or that if you refused to do what you were told you could be put in jail or confined to your barracks or executed if it was deemed mandatory.
You didn’t notice that you were no longer free to “quit” your job; to refuse to comply with a request from a superior; to go for a walk; to speak your mind; to refuse to kill other people?
You didn’t notice any of this?
You mean that this was basically the same way that your mom and dad treated you at home? This is the way the police acted towards you in your hometown?
You didn’t notice that if you committed a rule violation - to be distinguished from breaking a law - there was no jury at your trial? It wasn’t necessary to break a “law”. You simply had to not comply with a regulation - possibly not having your hat on straight, or not finishing the food on your plate; or smoking in the bathroom, or taking too long to shave in the morning; or not shaving well enough to satisfy some superior. Did you not notice that you were an inferior and subject to rule by “superiors”.
You didn’t notice?
Now it does say in the Constitution that the state has the right … “to make rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and Naval Forces; to provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions; to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia ...” but did you know that all of your unalienable rights were temporarily suspended while the government was attempting to do all of the above?
Did you know that once you joined this organization you could be called out to suppress college students in America; to attack workers who were protesting for better working conditions at their place of employment in the U.S.A.; to attack other countries even if they hadn’t attacked your country; to beat up on black people in the South who didn’t want to sit in the back of the bus?
Did you know that not only could all of your Constitutional rights be “temporarily suspended” once you joined the Military but that you could be forcibly required to join this Military and thereby lose your unalienable rights supposedly subscribed to you by your Creator?
You didn’t find this slightly disconcerting?
You didn’t find this somewhat contrary to the notion that you are free and equal?
Did you notice that there were no elections for officers while you were in the Military?
Did you notice that there was no soldier’s union or a soldier representative who you could go to in order to make a complaint about a supervisor; or about being harassed, or being bullied; or asked to drop your panties if you happened to be a female?
You didn’t notice?
This was all business as usual in a free democratic society as you understood it?
If this was all business as usual in a free democratic society as you understood freedom and democracy what is a totalitarian state or a fascist state in your estimation?
You didn’t notice that you were now subject to a whole new and revised body of laws called “The Uniform Code of Military Justice”. And that Military Justice was different and distinguishable from Civilian American Citizen Justice?
You didn’t find this somewhat strange?
You didn’t ask somebody; “Hey what the Hell is going on here?”
Have you happened to notice in recent years that retired military officers often speak differently after they have retired and secured their pension than when they were still active and subject to monetary reprimands?
I have even seen and heard ex-militaty men who are now running for president smile when they are presented with a statement to their position made by an active duty general and say: “Well we all realize that General so and so is not free at the moment to tell us what he really thinks.”
Are you not shocked that a famous Military General is understood to be restricted in his right to free speech?
A military officer can be court-martialed and go to prison for conduct unbecoming to an officer.
Can a Senator go to jail for conduct unbecoming to a Senator? Can a Senator go to jail for conduct unbecoming to a human being?
I know that a politician can go to jail for breaking a law, but a soldier can go to jail for breaking no law. He can go to jail for breaking a code or a rule; for showing up late for work; for not saluting or tipping his hat to a “superior”. Since when did we have “superiors” and inferiors in a democratic society?
So the point is that the Marines have not even been able to negotiate a free democratic, work place, where they can speak their mind, and show their independence, why would anybody suggest that one should thank a Marine for benefits that after all of these years he has yet to gain for himself?