Raving Conservative


Thursday, July 28, 2005

Soldiering On

For my first article I would like to write about something that is near and dear to my heart, the military. As a soldier I know I am biased, but bias does not change facts, and it is some of these facts that I want to share with you right now.
Freedom is something we in America take for granted, we cherish it mightily, be we still take it for granted. We live our priviledged lives and rarely stop to think about what it takes to stay free in a hostile world. And the world is hostile. From petty dictators to greedy despots, and communism to jealous free nations, much of the world is eager to see America fall or fail, and many of them would be willing to help us do it. We have tremendous resources, amazing wealth, vast power, and opportunities that most people wish they could have. Historically, nations have sought to take such things by force, and only nations with enough military might to protect themselves could defeat an invasion.
It is our military might that keeps America free. We don't have the largest military, or even the most disciplined, but we have the best one. It is not only our technology that makes our military so strong, it is the dedicated volunteers who are willing to put their lives on the line for the sake of our freedom and security. The military person is a unique breed of American who is willing not only to sacrifice his (or her) life, but to live with his freedoms taken away as well.
Many people do not know this, but the Constitution of the United States of America does not apply to the military the same way it applies to the rest our citezenry. consider the following four examples:
1. The Constitution guarantees protection against illegal search and seizure. A warrant must be granted by the courts based upon reasonable suspicion that there is something to search for. In the military a commander, not neccessarily a judge, can authorize the police to search a soldier's home, and the evidence needed to convince a commander is generally less than what a judge would need. Just to give you some perspective, a commander in the military is like a manager at work. Could you imagine if the police went to your manager because they wanted to search your house? Not only that, but the command can order inspections without any suspicion of anything simply to ensure everyone is keeping their homes clean enough, and if in the process contraband is discovered then it sucks to be you. And you can get kicked out of your home with no notice, if it is on base, if the commander doesn't think it is kept up to standard. No renter protection laws here.
2. Picture this. You get to work 5 minutes late one day. Your boss calls you into his office to handle the situation. He chooses to handle it by taking away half of your paycheck for the next two months, forcing you to work double shifts without compensation for six weeks, restricts you to your home and work only for six weeks, busts you down one to three grades in the company, and tosses you in the city jail for five days on a bread and water diet just for good measure. Impossible you say? Not in the military! A high enough ranking commander can do exactly this without any trial at all. This is called summary justice. A trial can be demanded, but the possible punishment once convicted is far more severe than what I have already mentioned. Oh, and the only eveidence that is needed is the word of your boss. Not exactly the standard we expect in our civillian courts. On the battlefield summary justice is so severe that a platoon leader (less than a commander) can shoot a subordinate on the battlefield for not doing what he is told, also known as summary excecution for disobeying a lawful order. To my knowedge this hasn't happened since World War II, but the possiblity yet remains.
3. The right to keep and bear arms is guaranteed in the second ammendment of the Bill of Rights. But in the military that doesn't mean you get to actually keep those arms in your possession at any time. A commander can force his subordinates to turn in their weapons to the unit arms room where it will be extraordinarily difficult to ever get access to them, and must be tracked by a third party at all times. A commander can also forbid a subordniate form accessing the weapons at all.
4. Freedon of speech? Right! It is considered disloyal and disrespectful for a military person to make derisive comments about leadership both military and civillian. Meaning it is actually illegal to call your boss (commander) or certain politicians a blanking blankety blanking blank of a blank. Civillians are guaranteed the right to say just about anything, and can even buy time to say it on television. There are some things that civillians say publicly that would result in summary justice of court martial if a military person does the same thing.
These are just a few glaring examples of the difference between civillian law and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Military members live in rigidly constructed system with many freedoms restricted by regulations made by people who are unconcerned with individual wants. Discipline and order are vital, and they will be maintained at all times on and off duty. It is a sacrifice of freedom the military makes for the honor and priviledge of defending America from all enemies foreign and domestic so the rest of the nation can enjoy the freedom we all cherish.
So the next time you see someone badmouthing the military, or want to do so yourself, stop to think about the freedoms we sacrifice just so you can be free to do just that.

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