I left the Army about… uh… **mumblemumble** years ago. I’ve had several roles, positions, and a career or two since then. It was, in a way, a lifetime ago. But I still took an oath. Not just any oath. But The oath.
A legally-binding statement that you make when you enlist. It’s purposefully codified into the United States Code:
(a) Enlistment Oath.-Each person enlisting in an armed force shall take the following oath:
“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; and that I will obey the orders of the President of 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.”10 U.S.C. §502 (a) (2021)
You must say the words. You must say them exactly as they’re written. It may not be readily apparent, but grammar and meaning is paramount.
Ever wonder why it doesn’t say “only do what Trump says” nor “be Biden’s bitch”?
That’s because it doesn’t.
Grammatically, there are three stanzas that are presented in order of priority:
- I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; — that’s priority one. It’s not negotiable. Defending the Constitution takes top priority. Against whom? Enemies. It doesn’t differentiate between “only foreign enemies” nor does it say “only internal enemies” nor “only Russia”. You’re defending it against all enemies, both foreign and domestic. Let that resonate.
- that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; I will ally with those who have the same single priority — to support and defend the Constitution of the United States — unless the faith and allegiance is misguided and is an enemy of the Constitution. Then Rule #1 is the priority.
- and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me… — unless they aren’t actually orders or the President or officers are demonstrably enemies of the Constitution. Rule #1 is still the priority.
Say the words. Say them exactly as they’re specified.
Not sure about anyone else, but I never un-took that oath.