Question the Oath 🧐 | 42

As the politicians discuss another potential war protesters will line up to encourage their leaders to thoughtfully reconsider. But the public and the press have another option than just talking to their representatives and the answer can be found in the military oaths.


music by Dyalla Swain


hello and welcome to you parking cop the
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curiosity meet gratitude
my name is Jacob and I’m glad you’re
here today in this edition we’re going
to be talking about the oath enlistment
and the oath that officers take when
they join the military service in the
United States and I bring this up
because there’s a lot of news going on
right now about the potential for the
United States to go to war with Iran now
one could argue we’ve already been at
war with parts of Iran due to the fact
that Iran’s military has been
influencing both of our invasions in
Iraq over the years and and that the
soft state of war kind of exists and it
might become more formal you know war
isn’t inherently messy and this whole
process is messy and it’s also the sort
of thing where I’m a passionate advocate
against fighting physical worse I think
that the better option is to fight what
we call economic horse right where you
enable free trade and let people be able
to compete at that level I’ll probably
talk about that as another episode of
this podcast but what I want to point
out today is that the difference between
the officer and the enlisted oath gives
us an opportunity as citizens to be able
to encourage us to more thoughtfully
engage in physical wars and I want to
show that to you here so we’re going to
start off by reading the enlisted oath
and one of my jobs in the military
included issuing this oath to people as
they either re enlisted or were part of
their initial enlistment so this is
pretty familiar to me I state your full
name do solemnly swear 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 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
so in that oath what the oath does is
pretty interesting but the officer in
the illicit oath
it’s asking someone to be judged by
their conscience for living according to
the words that they are speaking and in
the enlisted oath right which I’ve just
read for you guys their loyalty is not
only just to the Constitution but it’s
to defend the Constitution against the
enemies foreign and domestic and to obey
the orders of the officers appointed
over them and the President of the
United States and that penalty physical
penalty for not following through with
that would include the provisions in the
Uniform Code of Military Justice the
phrase so help me God
aligns it so that way the person’s
conscience right before God however they
choose to define that for not define it
right is what is really at stake in the
process of taking an oath
so now let’s contrast that oath with the
oath that the officers take and there’s
a difference here that doesn’t
necessarily get notice the first time
around so let’s see it says 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
that I take this obligation freely
without any mental reservation or
purpose of evasion and that I will well
and faithfully discharge the duties of
the office on which I’m about to enter
so help me God different than the
enlisted Oh
the officers oath does not contain a
clause about following the orders of the
officers appointed over you it does not
contain a clause about following the
orders of the President of the United
it contains a thoughtful reference to
the Constitution of the United States
and expects all officers to evaluate
their orders based upon the
constitutionality of those orders now
that’s really cool what an amazing check
in balance if we go back to or we were
able to apply a purely constitutional
system so Congress identifies the enemy
right they pass a law that declares war
the president takes that law with his
advisers they develop a plan to execute
that right and that off all the officers
in uniform at that point in time would
be able to see logically how the
representatives of the people were able
to identify
what they were asked to do now the
morality of that war would be different
right than what we currently have now so
what we currently have now when we
deploy and I know this feeling because I
felt it on both sides right as I did two
deployments under the enlisted oath and
one deployment under the officer oath
and while I was aware of the difference
between the officer and the enlisted
oath it was it was really difficult for
me to follow the train of logic that
allowed that deployment to feel like we
were defending the Constitution it
didn’t I went to Afghanistan after Osama
bin Laden had been killed there didn’t
seem to be a need for me to be there and
I couldn’t argue against doing it so the
system hasn’t been activated the system
where an officer is able to say you
haven’t made the case for me dude I
don’t know why I’m doing this how does
shooting this person how does launching
this missile how does you know using
this drone strike enable the defense of
the Constitution those questions are
discouraged by the current military
system right they’re not brought up the
differences between the officer and
enlisted oh they’re not studied by
officers in the military it is not part
of your yearly you know mandatory
training or anything like that and so
this system is exist but it is
absolutely dormant and one of the things
we do like to do on this podcast is to
stay positive and to look at systems
whether they’re active or not so we have
an inactive system this is beautiful and
I love this we have an inactive system
of checks and balances within the office
or ranks of the military and I’ve been
thinking for a few days
as the news has been bubbling up about
this topic about what we could do with
the small podcast audience to encourage
that system to get reactivated and the
answer is pretty interesting and pretty
easy to do and it’s simply if the system
right the military system doesn’t have a
way to hold officers responsible for the
constitutionality of the actions that
they do for example I like to use the
attacks on Libya that happened a few
years ago under President Obama’s
we had a Navy officer on a ship who was
ordered to launch airstrikes against
Libya so that way we could remove the
dictator that was there at the time okay
but that Navy officer in charge of that
ship should have asked okay well what’s
the threat to the Constitution by having
this dictator in power he’s been there
for years how is it now all of a
sudden a threat
he was not encouraged by the existing
system his promotions all the other
stuff that exists right all those other
social pressures existed to discourage
him from asking that question but the
press could have and people could have
people could have gotten that
gentleman’s name and asked him the
questions how did you see this as a
threat to the Constitution so instead of
just asking the president because I
remember the President does have a lot
of power but he is a part of a system as
well and the system he’s a part of
doesn’t encourage him to remove people
from warlike situations in fact it
encourages him to kind of go to war if
you give somebody a military right
they’re going to see that as a tool in
their toolkit and likely to use it
that’s a story for another day
but it’s just logical sense now if we
were to as people ask the officers who
make the decisions about what missiles
we fire and where they go right to show
us the constitutionality of that choice
it’ll be a pretty uncomfortable
conversation at least for a while but it
also gives us the opportunity to
exercise those checks and balances the
officer oath is categorically different
than the listed oath and reminding
people of that is not a bad thing so if
any of you listening happen to know the
press who asked the media or who asked
the military questions you know when you
get one of those officers it’s usually a
colonel or above right or in the Navy
that would be a captain and above are
usually at the level where they’re the
ones authorizing various strikes on
various targets well I think we ought to
ask him show me how that was defending
the Constitution please you have an oath
you took it just just show me how you
were thinking that that was defending
the Constitution it shouldn’t be an
uncomfortable conversation
I mean again in the ideal sense where we
follow our Constitution to a tea no
Congress declares war the president
helps to execute that war and decides
what the strategy is and then the
officers in the military with the listed
folks go and execute that that would be
really easy if we were following that
process and we might be but it doesn’t
look the same way I would like it to
it’s not as clear-cut and so asking the
officers who are making these decisions
to tell us how its constitutional or how
its defending the Constitution seems to
me a perfectly valid way to add a check
into the system that wants us to go to
war that’s what the military is designed
for and it’s a tool the president has
you know but there’s a check that’s not
just with the president it’s not just
with Congress that could be leveraged
and utilized to help us be more
thoughtful when we go to other countries
and do things that involve harming
people and so I know this podcast is
usually upbeat and positive and I still
really AM this is me my very tiny voice
being able to share something that I’ve
discovered for years there’s a system
that’s dormant you know and those
officers aren’t going to question it
until somebody gives them a reason to
it’s time for the American people to
start asking them that question to show
me how it was constitutional and you
know and let public opinion help the
side and help persuade this conversation
the protests outside of the White House
and the protests in New York outside of
Trump Towers only talk to one person
there are lots of people in the Army and
in the military in general that we could
talk to and engage and ask good
questions that’ll help us utilize the
system that’s been dormant all right
let’s let’s go into our curiosity
spotlight I don’t have another one for
this episode there are so many amazing
people out there who’ve leveraged
curiosity I just haven’t been able to
connect with any particular one our
curiosity spotlights are usually where
we ask people to write into the show and
tell us how curiosity has impacted their
personal and/or professional life
and we usually do that over twitter so
you can use that do that using the
hashtag curiosity spotlight or you can
do that by going ahead and messaging us
directly on Twitter at parking thought
so you can do that and we’d love to have
those curiosity spotlights be a part of
the show and have you guys contribute to
that so let’s wrap up this episode and
this is the part where I tell you that
the best way to say thank you for this
episode is to share it with someone you
know I’ll let you decide who that is and
I’ll bet you know someone you’d love to
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