By Doug Newman
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Posted at Liberty Calling and Daily Paul.
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It is easy to stand up and cheer for your favorite government activity. It is quite another to acknowledge what happens in the real world.
I almost never try to speak for other people. However, I think it is fairly safe to say that the average military recruit firmly believes that he joins the military so that you and I can live and breathe in freedom. To be sure, he had other reasons for joining, but I think the defense of liberty is a fairly common denominator.
That is certainly what I thought when I was in Navy boot camp in Orlando, Florida 30 years ago. After all, this is what I had been told all my life: sailors, soldiers, airmen and marines defend freedom.
But is this actually what they do?
Consider the following:
- This Marine lost both legs in an IED blast in Iraq. He claims he was forced by TSA to remove both prosthetic legs before he could board an airplane in Phoenix.
- This Vietnam veteran in Spicewood, Texas, had flashbacks to his combat experience during a marijuana raid at a friend’s house. What police claimed was marijuana turned out to be ragweed.
- Jared Goering served 19 years in the Army, including tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Recently, he was kicked off the boardwalk in Wildwood, N.J. for walking with his service dog, Gator.
- Emily Yates, who served two tours with the Army in Iraq, was violently arrested by park police in Philadelphia for asking why she couldn’t play her banjo under some shade trees.
- Martin Goldberg of Brooklyn is a World War II veteran whose apartment was subject to a drug raid. Later, the cops realized they had raided the wrong apartment. His 83-year-old wife was hospitalized with an irregular heartbeat as a result of the raid.
- In 1997, four sailors from the USS Saipan (LHA-2) were falsely accused of the rape and murder of a Norfolk, Virginia, woman. One spent eight-and-one-half years in prison while the other three were sentenced to life in prison. These three were pardoned in 2009. Even though the actual killer is serving a life sentence, four innocent men are still required to register as sex offenders and are still fighting to clear their names.
- Charles Loeks was 18 and fresh out of Marine boot camp in 1994. On a trip home to Covina, California, he was hanging out with a few friends when he was arrested for resisting arrest, and nothing else. He spent 21 days in Los Angeles County jail, even though he had harmed no one.
- Noel Polanco was an unarmed 22-year-old National Guardsman who was shot and killed by New York City police at a traffic stop near LaGuardia Airport.
- John Laigaie, a retired Army master sergeant, was threatened at gunpoint by police while legally carrying a gun in a park in Bellingham, Washington.
- Homer Wright is an 80-year-old Army veteran who was charged with felony gun use after he shot a burglar who entered his home in Englewood, Illinois.
- Mark Schmidter, a Vietnam veteran who lives in Orlando, is currently serving 145 days in a cage for passing out jurors’ rights information on the steps of a local courthouse.
- Justin Ross of Ankeny, Iowa was recently discharged from the Army. Police used a battering ram to enter his home executing a warrant for some items purchased with stolen credit cards. They did not find any of the stolen items.
- Saadiq Long is an Air Force veteran who was placed on a TSA no-fly list. He had to battle for months to be removed from this list just so he could fly home from Qatar to visit his ailing mother.
- Cody Donovan is a former Marine MP who lives in New Milford, N.J. He was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon after carrying a loaded gun into the Garden State Plaza mall when he attempted to help police apprehend the shooter there recently.
- In 1932, 17,000 veterans marched on Washington to demand payment of bonuses they had been promised as a result of their service in World War I. Two were shot and killed by police. 55 were arrested and 135 were injured when the United States Army became an instrument of domestic law enforcement. Two of the chief enforcers were named MacArthur and Patton. Yes, those two.
- Mark England, a combat medic who saw action in Iraq and Kosovo was beaten and tasered by police at McCarran Airport in Las Vegas.
- Air Force Staff Sergeant Matt Pinkerton of Glen Burnie, Maryland, faces second degree murder charges after fatally shooting a home intruder in September.
- Leo Hendrick, an army veteran who lives in Northwood, Iowa, faces up to 30 days in jail and a $600 fine for raising chickens in his yard.
- Yes, the cops had a search warrant. However that in no way excuses their vandalizing the home of Army veteran Dan Neary of Lakewood, Washington.
- These World War II veterans were threatened with arrest for visiting a closed war memorial in Washington, D.C. during the October “shutdown.”
- These Vietnam veterans actually were arrested for visiting a New York City war memorial after curfew.
- Denis Reynoso was a disabled veteran who saw action with the Marines in Iraq. He was shot dead by police in his Lynn, Massachusetts apartment.
- Nick Morgan, an Iraq veteran, was pulled out of a crowd by police in Hempstead, New York, and trampled by their horses.
- Gary Shepherd of Broadhead, Kentucky was a Vietnam veteran. He used medical cannabis to relieve the pain in his left arm, which was crippled during the war. Shepherd was shot dead by a SWAT team, after they had threatened to cut down his cannabis plants.
- Valente and Manuel Valenzuela of San Antonio produced sufficient documentation to enlist, respectively, in the Army and Marine Corps. Both fought in Vietnam, where Valente won a Bronze Star. Now they are facing deportation to Mexico because of erroneous entries on their birth certificates.
- Kenneth Chamberlain was a retired Marine and Vietnam veteran living in White Plains, New York. Early one morning he set off his medical alert device. The first responders in this case were not medics, but rather police, who proceeded to kill Mr. Chamberlain.
- This group of combat veterans in Colorado organized to help legalize marijuana during the 2012 elections. They claimed – and I believe them – that marijuana helped mitigate PTSD. If you support any punishment whatsoever for a combat veteran who heals himself with a plant that grows wild in some form within a few miles of you, I don’t care what you tell me. YOU DON’T BELIEVE IN FREEDOM!
- Stanley Gibson, a 43-year-old Gulf War veteran was shot dead over a total non-crime by Las Vegas police in December, 2011.
- These veterans say they are being required to prove they are worthy of gun rights. Our rights are gifts from God that are inherent in our very humanity. We never have to prove to anybody that we have them.
- Dwight Edwards, a disabled Marine veteran of Afghanistan, says that cops at a stationhouse in Queens brutally beat him for no reason in January of this year.
- Army Staff Sgt. C.J. Grisham, who won the Bronze Star with Valor, was forcibly disarmed for no good reason by a policeman while on a hike with his son not far from Fort Hood, Texas.
- Brandon Raub, a Marine who was decorated for bravery in Iraq and Afghanistan, was forced to spend a week in a Virginia mental hospital over some “anti-government” Facebook posts. (His interviewer here, John Whitehead, is a constitutional attorney, Vietnam infantry veteran and superlative anti-police state blogger.)
- Operation Vigilant Eagle is a project of the Department of Homeland Security that has led to numerous Iraq and Afghanistan veterans “finding themselves under surveillance, threatened with incarceration or involuntary commitment, or arrested, all for daring to voice their concerns about the alarming state of our union and the erosion of our freedoms.” Indeed, merely being a “returning veteran” can have you designated as a potential terrorist.
- We will never know the whole truth about Navy veteran and former Los Angeles cop Christopher Dorner, who was the subject of a police manhunt and media witch hunt earlier this year. He never got the chance to tell his story in court.
- Matthew Corrigan of Washington, D.C. was a first sergeant in the Army Reserve and a veteran in Iraq. His home was destroyed in a SWAT rampage because it was reported to the police that Corrigan had a gun.
- Jamie Dean was an Army veteran of Afghanistan was diagnosed with PTSD. Upset about his impending deployment to Iraq, Dean had an intense emotional outburst at his Maryland home in December 2006. Even though he neither harmed nor threatened anyone, he was shot and killed by a local SWAT team.
- Bennie Coleman, 76, is a retired Marine who lost his Washington, DC, home because of a $134 tax lien that District authorities had sold to an investor.
- Jeremy Usher is a former Navy hospital corpsman who lives in Greeley, Colorado. He faces jail time for using medical marijuana to treat his PTSD.
- Brittany Ball, a 23-year-old soldier at Fort Jackson, S.C., was manhandled by a cop at a local bar, even though she had done nothing wrong.
- Benjamin Wassell sustained traumatic brain injuries while with the Marines in Iraq. The Buffalo-area resident was the first person charged with illegal gun sales under New York’s new SAFE Act.
- Erik Scott graduated from West Point in 1994 and served as a tank platoon leader. In 2010, he was gunned down and killed by police as he peacefully walked out of a Las Vegas Costco.
- Scott Olsen saw action with the Marines in Iraq. Later, he would join the Occupy Oakland movement. In October, 2011, he was hit in the head with a projectile shot at him by law enforcement officers and suffered a fractured skull.
- Derek Hale served honorably with the Marines in Iraq. Although, he had committed no crime, he died after being tasered three times and then shot three times by police in Wilmington, Delaware.
- To be sure, the recently deceased folk singer Pete Seeger could not have been more leftist in his politics. However, Seeger served three years in the Army after he was drafted during World War II. He was sentenced to one year in jail after refusing to reveal his political connections to the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1956. He appealed this sentence, citing the First Amendment, and ultimately spent only four hours behind bard.
- Eileen Erickson, whose husband Sid served in Vietnam and died of Agent Orange exposure, is in the crosshairs of authorities in Venice, California, who want to tear down the tree house her husband built before he died.
- We will never know for sure what happened in Army veteran Matthew Stewart’s Ogden, Utah, apartment one night in January 2012, as he will never have his day in court. He was in prison awaiting trial on charges of shooting and killing one of the police officers who raided his apartment searching for marijuana. Stewart, whose guilt was never proven, committed suicide in his cell.
- Sergio Arreola is a cop in Los Angeles who served with the Marines in Iraq. He was beaten by the police in suburban Pomona for no good reason whatsoever.
- This former Army paratrooper is appealing to the New York state legislature to legalize medical marijuana. He has severe multiple sclerosis and is “forced to break the law to have some semblance of a bearable existence.”
- On May 5, 2011, a Tucson SWAT team approached the home of Jose Guerena, who had served two tours with the Marines in Iraq. Guerena grabbed his AR-15 as is his right, but did not fire. The SWAT team let loose with 71 rounds, 60 of which perforated Guerena’s body.
- Marty Maiden lived a few blocks from Guerena in Tucson. and saw action with the Army in Afghanistan. He posted a suicidal note on Facebook which prompted a call to the police, who shot Maiden dead.
- Steve Lefemine is a West Point graduate who was arrested for protesting against abortion in a “no-demonstration zone” outside the Republican National Convention in New York in 2004. The 2nd Circuit U.S. Circuit Court justified the arrest based on a “compelling state interest in security”.
- Listen to this disabled Navy veteran plead with then-Senate candidate Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) about the benefits of medical marijuana. Listen to the totalitarian response.
- John Wrana, a 95-year-old Army Air Corps veteran of World War II, was tasered and then shot to death by police in Forest Park, Illinois. His “crime”? Refusing medical attention.
- John Colaprete saw action in Vietnam as a Marine Corps officer. In 1994, his Virginia Beach home and restaurants were the object of paramilitary-style raids by the IRS. The raid was prompted by a false accusation by a former employee. While you need to watch this documentary in its entirety some time, for now just pick it up for a few minutes starting at the 55:40 mark.
- Boxing legend Joe Louis was also tyrannized by the IRS. The Brown Bomber enlisted in the Army in 1942 saying “Let us at them Japs.” Louis never saw combat, as he was assigned to the Special Services Division. While still a civilian, Louis fought some charity bouts and donated the proceeds to the Navy Relief Society. The IRS, however, viewed these proceeds as taxable income paid to Louis. IRS problems would plague him all his life. Please watch this video starting at the 53:17 mark.
- Adam Arroyo is a Hispanic veteran of the Iraq war who lives in Buffalo. Police shot and killed his dog while executing a drug warrant for a black man.
- Henry Taylor was a retired Air Force veteran in Louisville, Tennessee, who was shot dead by a local sheriff’s deputy while investigating a burglary at a rental property he owned.
- This is a fascinating article: When Johnny Comes Marching Home … He Goes to Jail. It is absolutely tragic how we chew up and spit out so many of those we send to “fight for our freedom.”
- Radio talk host Adam Kokesh won the Navy Commendation Medal as a Marine in Iraq. In recent years, he has been arrested several times for various non-violent protests. His most recent arrest happened after he loaded a shotgun in public in Washington, D.C. on July 4, 2013. On July 10, police very violently raided his home and arrested him. He was incarcerated for four months without bond, bail or trial. He is currently on probation for two years. You may not like Kokesh’s demeanor or approve of all of his antics, but he has been very courageous when so many of his critics can’t be bothered to put down the remote.
- James Moore, my brothah from anothah mothah, walked away from a very lucrative engineering position in San Jose to re-enlist in the Army following 9/11. He sustained significant physical injuries as well as PTSD while serving in the Special Forces in Afghanistan. On the afternoon of March 25, 2008, Moore, who had done absolutely nothing wrong, was beaten to the point of flat lining by Denver police.
- One of the coolest people I have never met is Antonio Buehler. Buehler graduated from West Point in 1999, earned his Ranger tab, and saw action in Kosovo and Iraq. (He also sports an MBA from Stanford.) Early in the morning on January 1, 2012, Buehler was arrested for taking a few pictures of Austin police manhandling a young woman outside a 7-11. Buehler has been arrested four times since. He heads the Peaceful Streets Project, whose members work to expose abuse, brutality and overreach both in Austin and across the nation.
There are no doubt numerous other injustices done to veterans that I do not know about. Enough to fill a book. None of these things would have happened if America were a free society. As Kokesh puts it, “The greatest enemies to the Constitution are not to be found in the sands of some far off land but rather right here at home.”
I cannot speak to the specific political beliefs of most of the veterans I have mentioned here. Some may be pacifists, while others may make John McCain look like a hippie in Haight-Ashbury. No matter what their individual views may be, the freedom they risked their lives for was flagrantly violated on the streets of the land they fought to protect.
Society endlessly applauds sailors, soldiers, airmen and Marines for “fighting for our freedom”. It is in no way disrespectful to say that this is not what they do. No foreign government or terrorist group poses any threat to our liberty. America accounts for about half of the world’s military spending. We have 300 ships in our Navy, plus thousands of planes, tanks and nuclear warheads as well as 300 million firearms in private hands. Nobody is going to invade us.
In a constitutional country, which America ceased to be 100 years ago, the job of the military – a vital and most noble one – is to defend the borders, shores and airspace. It cannot protect you from being tyrannized domestically. Indeed, all too often, armies have been instruments of domestic tyranny. Our Constitution forbids a standing army for just this reason.
Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia had enormous military establishments. How did things work out in these countries?
I am a Christian who believes liberty is a gift from God – Leviticus 25:10; II Corinthians 3:17; Galatians 5:1. To quote Jefferson, liberty is preserved not by military might, but by “eternal vigilance” against one’s own government at all levels. It is the grossest form of disrespect to send young men around the world to “fight for freedom” while relinquishing freedom on the home front.
For several years, America has had the world’s highest incarceration rate. Since 2001, Americans have gladly accepted previously unthinkable intrusions on their freedom in the name of “safety” and “security”. These include, but are not limited to: warrantless searches and spying, the suspension of habeas corpus, sexual assault as a condition of travel, rampant police brutality, indefinite detention without any semblance of due process, severe restrictions on peaceful protest, massive ammunition purchases by DHS and surveillance drones in our skies watching our every move. Can predator drones be far behind?
And in every election 98 percent of voters put their stamp of approval on this monstrosity.
A little over a month ago, Boston and several surrounding towns got a serious taste of martial law. How many military veterans were on the receiving end of this? Is this what they signed up to fight for?
Stop thinking in clichés. Have a good hard look at everything your media and government tell you. This includes media outlets and parts of the government that you like. Study. Read. Ask questions. And learn that the defense of liberty is not the duty of the military. Rather, it is your duty and mine.
Special thanks to Radley Balko and William Grigg for providing several of the above stories.