Enemy of the State?

My latest post for NetRightNation:

On January 20, 2009, the new President Barack Obama will stand up and swear the oath of President. As dictated by the Constitution it reads:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Interestingly enough the oath for the military used to be the same minus the part of executing the office of the President. Now here it is in modern day format:

“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.”

The bold part is added by me. The oath for citizenship is much the same and includes the domestic enemies part. The change was made during the Civil War to assure northern support. An important question is why doesn’t the President have the same oath requirement?

One explanation is that it coincides with the growth of our government. The founding fathers believed in a limited government and often worried about keeping a standing army. They obviously kept the oath short and sweet for a reason. What is interesting is that the change of the oath for military personnel does not require a Constitutional amendment but the changing of the Presidential one does. The size of the government has grown larger than any of the founding fathers would have ever imagined. The debate over a standing army is completely gone and we are currently left with an oath that leaves much interpretation.At first glance, one may not see a problem with the new oath but what is a domestic enemy?

Domestic obviously means inside the border and an enemy means one that is antagonistic to another (Websters). This is a very broad definition and would be left up to Congress or the President to define. During the Civil War was the South an domestic enemy? Were the Japanese-Americans during World War II? Are Muslims today?

With the Pentagon’s announcement of 20,000 that will soon be stationed inside the United States, this is an important distinction to make. Most people imagine that our local and state police, sometimes with the help of the FBI, would be in charge of defending against domestic acts of crime. Instead, this is another chapter of government growth in the United States since these Oaths were originally created.

Do we really need federal soldiers on our own soil? We have national guards, local police, state police, and the FBI. This is a threat for both state sovereignty and individual rights. A standing army historically has infringed upon citizens rights. The British did it to the Colonies and that is why we have the 3rd amendment prohibiting the quartering of troops. That is just one example. There are many more.

We are beginning to mix big government with militarism and is the dangerous recipe the Soviet Union and the Third Reich used. Domestic enemies could be terrorists but also could be anyone the President or Congress deems as an enemy of the state. Anyone who owns a gun could be an enemy and anyone who disagrees with the government could be an enemy.


Published in: on December 9, 2008 at 6:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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