Posted by: Cortillaen | 04/14/2010

On Lt. Col. Terry Lakin

Just me archiving a comment from TAH (great place to check out, by the way) that really got away from me… as in, the “few sentences turned page and a half” kind of away from me.First, a previous post that got me started.

Casey J Porter Says:
April 14th, 2010 at 1:14 pm

They don’t support him, I feel, for various reasons. First, he is not opposed to the wars, just the orders. Also, many, not all, but many in the “movement” are quick to throw out race and they probably think that this guy is just motivated by masked racism.

I dislike Obama for real grounded reasons. I also didn’t like that other joker. But this guy and his claims are plain stupid and I don’t give a damn where Obama was born. I give a damn about what he does in Office.

To the best of my knowledge the “movement” folk have always had a standing policy of only supporting those against the wars. Sad to say though, they use those Soldiers and then when they are no longer of value, they toss them to the side.

Mine:

“I don’t give a damn where Obama was born.”
With all due respect, if that is the case, then you don’t give a damn about the Constitution. The two are one and the same, after all. Either the constitutional requirements for the presidency matter, or they don’t, but you can’t split them from the rest of the document.

Maybe my mindset will change in the coming months, but, for the moment, I can’t view this as a cut-and-dried issue. When one swears to defend the Constitution above all else, is that oath better served by ignoring a possible breach of the Constitution than by disrupting the service and refusing to carry out orders? I can’t say, but I can say that it shouldn’t come to that.

My personal opinion is that bringing suit to try to uncover the truth, whether or not the orders are lawful, is admirable so long as the motivation and goal thereof is to uphold the Constitution. However, I can’t condone hanging his brothers and sisters out to dry by refusing to deploy. It seems that one would have to assume all orders are lawful until proven otherwise and act upon that assumption. In that vein, bring suit outside deployment, not during (I can’t imagine being able to commit the sort of time necessary for working up the suit during a deployment without hurting the service, even if you could find a lawyer willing and able to accommodate that situation), and certainly don’t expect to use your court martial in place of the suit.

As for not using military status as a personal political tool, I agree. However, the courts have consistently ruled that citizens have no standing, no right to investigate a possible breach of the Constitution. The absurdity of that notwithstanding, the situation means that military status may be the only way get the issue examined. Again, it comes down to motive: I can’t fault someone for using their military status as a tool when it is necessary to uphold the Constitution, but only when all other means are exhausted.

Speaking of LTC Lakin’s motivations, it’s hard to tell. I’m typically pretty cynical, more inclined to believe in baser motivations over justice, altruism, and all that. Still, the guy is literally torching his career with no visible fall-back, which would seem to make greed, fame-lust, spite, or sheer partisanship rather unlikely. On the other hand, tossing your brethren under the bus to make a point doesn’t exactly come across as very dutiful. I suppose he could feel that the added publicity of terminating his career in such a way is vital to the issue (I can see how a court martial for disobeying orders might be viewed to bolster one’s standing for investigating the legality of those orders), but I’ll remain well into skeptical territory. He would certainly have more credibility if he had brought suit on the issue well before refusing to deploy, but, as far as I can tell from a cursory examination, he has not brought suit at all. I suppose he could feel that his court martial is the better vehicle for the issue, but that seems like a stretch and bad judgment even if it is the case. He’s rather shot himself in the foot a couple times on motive credibility already.

Also, the issue of whether or not a breach of the Constitution renders illegal orders from the offender doesn’t strike me as very well examined. The text in question states requirements for eligibility, so do the Electoral College and Chief Justice have the power to disregard those requirements and place in office someone who is ineligible? I can’t imagine claiming that they have the power to overrule the Constitution, but, if they don’t, their certification and inauguration of an ineligible person would mean nothing. The ineligible person would still not be the President, and his orders as CIC would thus be unlawful. If there are specific law, court cases, or reasoning that can justify the ineligible person’s orders being considered lawful, I’m all ears.

To wrap up a post that turned out much longer than I’d intended, I view LTC Lakin’s refusal to deploy as an extremely poor course of action. I can understand how he might view it as the best way to uphold his oath, but whether that actually is his primary motivation is doubtful to me. All in all, I’m thinking he’s got some sort of vendetta or imbalance driving him rather than just being so ineptly well-intentioned, but him not doing justice to his proclaimed goal isn’t grounds to dismiss that goal as unworthy.

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