The Liberty of Defense
Sworn To Support And Defend The Constitution; Not Land, Government Or Even People
By Steve Schippert | October 23, 2010
National Security and Defense are no longer apolitical issues. In reluctantly acknowledging this fact, more thinking and writing on political issues has gradually made its way into the ThreatsWatch space. To put it succinctly, it's not just about Defense. It's about what we defend.
There are two disparities at play in the American body politic that cause this deep politicization of Defense and National Security. The first is a wide disconnect between the leadership of both major parties - and to a greater degree the Democrat party - and the American voting public from which they have historically drawn their support. The second, a specific subset of the first but requiring its own elaboration, is the radical nature of the leadership of the Democrat Party.
When asked what it is exactly that I do and why, I've given many variations of the National Security answer. Passion for National Security is only a partial answer. The next question, though rarely asked, is and should be, "National Security to what ends?" Eight words explain it best and most concisely.
The Defense of Liberty - The Liberty of Defense.
The Defense of Liberty is straight forward and needs no elaboration. There are many patriots - and more and more each day - who have embraced the Defense of Liberty. But 'The Liberty of Defense' is much more revealing.
The Military Oath of Service begins, "I 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; ... "
We do not swear explicitly to defend soil or borders. Nor do we swear explicitly even to defend people, citizens. We do not even swear explicitly to defend the nation explicitly as a geographic, social or economic entity. It could be said that these are implied, and indeed they are.
It is, however, absolutely vital to understand what it is that we do swear - explicitly - to support and defend: The Constitution of the United States. And as I had previously written, that oath stands honored - and, frankly, more thoroughly understood and respected - to this day, long after my 8 years of active duty service as a United States Marine.
The Oath was carefully written to ensure that the Constitution has guardians. Those guardians include not only those in military service, but also the President of the United States, members of both Houses of Congress and other civil servants. The various versions of oaths of service were never intended to simply defend the nation as a geographical entity. Nor, it should be consciously acknowledged, do they command the defense of its government.
The Constitution is the very codification of our Liberty and American Liberty has always been truly exceptional in the world in its scope and near-holy reverence. The only time it should not be exceptional is if and when other nations of the world embrace the same. Likewise, never should we squander or dismiss American Liberties in order to conform with perceived standards as set by other nations of the world.
And swearing to defend this - the exceptional idea, the very codification of Liberty, the heart and soul of the great American experiment - is the Liberty of Defense. The two are inseparably intertwined. To remove one from the other condemns Liberty to a memory in short order and reduces its Defense to just another military force on the globe protecting soil, people and power interests and little more.
Thankfully, more Americans are beginning to consciously think of more than a cracked bell when they hear the word Liberty. And, likewise, they are also beginning to think of more than just an old historical museum relic when they hear the name of its codification, the Constitution of the United States.
The critical and central importance of Liberty is again being recognized and no longer taken for granted by a majority of Americans. Americans of every race, color and creed have taken common cause in the Defense of Liberty.
And for men like me, we are driven by the Liberty of Defense: The fact that we have sworn to support and defend the very proclamation and codification of that uniquely American Liberty, not merely soil, borders, people or government itself. America is not its government nor its soil or borders. Our Constitution is what consititutes us - not land masses or any ethnic culture, as are the primary identifiers for so many nations in the world. America is Liberty and, on an order of magnitudes, its defense is much more difficult than that of merely borders and people.
Liberty requires that its defense never rest. For as difficult as defending that which exists may be, recovering that which is lost is an infinitely more daunting task. And to that extent, National Security and Defense are indeed no longer apolitical issues in the current political climate.
So may we each pause to reflect the vital necessity for the Defense of Liberty and, in so doing, acknowledge the very Liberty of Defense as so explicity and purposefully stated in the Oath of Service.