Proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution to prohibit the U.S. Congress from raising a pay-incentivized soldiery and for other purposes.
Enlisted soldiers of the Armed Forces shall not receive salaries or wages while enlisted or pensions after enlistment. This amendment shall not be so construed to effect government-administered benefits authorized by the Congress during the time of enlistment or thereafter.
All enlisted soldiers of the Armed Services must give the President, or designated civilian subordinate, their individual consent prior to any military deployment that is not an act of war declared by Congress and are prohibited from deploying until such consent is provided.
No United States citizen or non-citizen resident of the United States shall be compelled to enlist in, or register with, the U.S. Armed Forces, or be compelled to continue an enlistment upon notification to the President, or designated civilian subordinate, of conscientious objection to such enlistment.
Change a Constitution That Turns Mothers into Mercenaries.
On September 20, 2012, a peaceful thirty-year-old mother of four small children –the smallest of whom was still being breastfed – was arrested by the U.S. Army. This young American mother, who hails from Mesquite, Texas, is now confined at Fort Carson Army base in Colorado, separated from her husband and kids. Kimberly Rivera is an Iraq war resister.
Rivera enlisted in the Army in 2006. According to published statements, she and her husband were in dire financial straits, struggling just to feed their kids. They concluded that military enlistment was their only way out; the only question being which one of them would enlist. Between the two of them, they concluded that Kimberly was in better physical health and would therefore enlist.
After her deployment to Iraq, Kimberly quickly became disillusioned with the war. Rivera even stopped carrying her rifle while on duty so as to not participate in the violence. The war, she concluded while in Iraq, was neither worth her life, her limbs, nor the lives and limbs of any others – civilian or soldier, American or Iraqi. While home on leave in 2007, Rivera fled to Canada. After five years of living in Toronto with her family, the Canadian government ordered her deportation to the U.S. in August 2012.
Nobel peace laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu made a public appeal to the Canadian government to allow Kimberly Rivera to stay in Canada, and avoid imprisonment by the U.S. military: the taxpayer-funded Sparta. About Kimberly, her husband and their four small children, Archbishop Tutu wrote, “these are people of courage and peace, and they should be granted asylum.”
Kimberly Rivera has a moral conscience, and ultimately that moral conscience led her to conclude that financially supporting her family by agreeing to engage in warfare, and thereby destroy the lives of other families, namely Iraqi families, was profoundly morally wrong. Because she has a moral conscience, and actually exercised it, Kim Rivera is now a piece of human junk to the military generals et al. who control her physical existence at Fort Carson Army base.
The sine qua non for military tyrants to carry out their designs of power and endless war is a soldiery without a moral conscience, or a moral conscience that is otherwise held in suspension.
Part of that soldiery no doubt can be comprised of men and women whose moral reasoning circumferences simply can’t expand beyond the sticks and carrots that are right in front of them. We’ve all come across those types in life. In politer terms, they would be called simpletons. Yet Kimberly Rivera and maybe thousands of other soldiers are not simpletons. So what gives?
Clearly, at some point in their lives, owing to financial stress, a need to provide health benefits for their children, insecurities in their masculine identities, or some other compelling reason, these men and women chose to put a moral blindfold on as they walked toward the moral cliff of war.
What makes Kimberly Rivera and other Iraq and Afghanistan war resisters different is that they had the inner moral fiber to eventually take off the blindfold. But let’s be clear: before they took off that blindfold, their participation in immoral wars was just as destructive as the participation of the simpletons.
If we are to be serious about dissolving the taxpayer-funded Sparta that is the U.S. Armed Forces, and transform it into a military that actually serves our national interests instead of creating enmity for our nation, we need to erase the now-abundant constitutional opportunities that military planners have to devise, develop and construct an amoral soldiery in part from some of the most vulnerable members of our society: men and women who are willing to walk toward the moral cliff of war without regard for whether the war is just or sensible, owing to a stress-based compulsion.
Until we can achieve that constitutional outcome – that wholesale erasure of constitutional opportunities for the militarily ambitious – the simpletons in our society, along with men and women of intellect, like mother of four Kimberly Rivera, who succumb to the compulsion to blindfold themselves, will form the basis for a mercenary soldiery; mercenaries who are far more agile in creating new foreign enemies for our nation than defeating the ones who attacked us, as the post-9/11 wars have so abundantly demonstrated.
No More Wars That Devour the American Purpose
Originally published by Patheos, September 12th, 2014
On August 8th, one of the most respected non-governmental organizations in the world, Amnesty International, released a damning report alleging that U.S. military forces committed war crimes against Afghan civilians, including torture and murder, and covered-up for the crimes. The report centers on incidents between 2009 and 2013, a time frame which coincided with the tenure of four-star General John Allen, who was the top allied military commander in Afghanistan prior to his retirement.
Allen has now been tasked by President Obama to coordinate the international coalition against ISIS.
On the need to crush ISIS before it becomes an even greater threat to global security, Allen wrote in a column for Defense One magazine, “American and allied efforts must operate against IS from Mosul in the east across its entire depth to western Syria….We cannot leave IS a safe haven anywhere or a secure support platform from which to regroup or enjoy sanctuary across the now-irrelevant frontier between Syria and Iraq.”
War-weary Americans could reasonably ask this retired general: What “we” are you talking about when describing your prescriptions to deny ISIS safe havens in both Iraq and Syria? Here’s Allen’s rather blunt answer embedded in the same column: “The whole questionable debate on American war weariness aside, the U.S. military is not war weary and is fully capable of attacking and reducing IS…”
Whatever you think of Allen’s prescriptions to crush ISIS, at least give him credit for being candid about one fact: the American people and the U.S. military have, for all intents and purposes, become entirely separate political entities, with separate value systems and life motivations.
A stark reminder of that wall of separation between U.S. civilian and soldier, oftentimes all too benignly referred to as the “civilian-military divide,” came with the recent death of 28-year-old former Marine sniper, Rob Richards, who died at his home in North Carolina on August 13th. Richards, one of the four Marines videotaped urinating on the dead bodies of Afghans in July 2011 – just days after General Allen assumed the top command post in Afghanistan – said in an interview that when CNN first reported the existence of the dead body urination videotape, his reaction was, “Oh f–k. I just knew my career was over.” In that interview with the Marine Corps Times, Richards went on to describe the dead body urination episode as “hilarious” and “another ordinary day” for which he had no regrets, adding “Being a Marine sniper was the only thing I was really good at in life. I miss it every day.”