Protect and Serve

The Oath Keepers' extremism in the defense of liberty

Mother Jones says they represent “the Age of Treason.” Bill O’Reilly believes they’re “pretty extreme.” When Rob Waters of the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote about the group, he called on the government to “ensure that the armed forces are not inadvertently training future domestic terrorists.”

They’re talking about the Oath Keepers, a coalition of current and former military, police, and other public officials. And what treasonous, terrorist tactic have these extremists adopted? They have pledged not to obey unconstitutional commands.

Search the group’s founding document and the closest thing you will find to a call to violence is the statement that, should a dictatorship be imposed and a popular uprising break out, its members will not only refuse to fire on the dissenters but will “join them in fighting against those who dare attempt to enslave them.” And even then the “fighting” needn’t necessarily be armed. (They also say they aren’t “advocating or promoting violence towards any organization, group or person.”) Otherwise, the manifesto is a call to stand down, not to rise up. Not every Oath Keeper would appreciate the comparison, but the group has more in common with those dissidents of the ’60s who refused to go to war than with any paramilitary cell.

If you wanted to find a theoretical discussion of Oath Keepers’ plans, you wouldn’t turn to a text on terrorism or guerrilla warfare. You would open the second book of Gene Sharp’s three-volume classic on civil disobedience, The Politics of Nonviolent Action, and turn to the section headlined “Action by Government Personnel.” In “an essentially nonviolent struggle,” Sharp writes, “a mutiny may express itself entirely through the refusal to carry out usual functions of forcing the regime’s will on the populace or waging war against a foreign enemy.” In addition, “police or others may selectively refuse certain orders on a scale too limited to be described accurately as mutiny.” The examples he offers range from the British occupation of India, where a regiment refused to fire on a peaceful protest, to the Nazi occupation of Norway, where policemen frequently flouted the Germans’ orders.

In the current case, there are ten commands the Oath Keepers have forsworn. Those who join the group must refuse...

To read the rest of this story, go here.

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  • ||

    Are these people really a threat?

    Not to you and me. But to the lawmakers and bureaucrats treating themselves like royalty, I'd be worried.

  • ||

  • Liberal Troll||

    tl;dr dr;TAC

  • TheNino85||

    I would like to know how the Southern Poverty Law Center even intends on solving this "problem". Train the armed forces to be more pro-government? Make sure that the armed forces are indoctrinated to fire upon American civilians? Make sure they're even more apt to gun down Iraqi civilians if given the order? Does that organization even think before they open the giant gaping hole they call a mouth?

  • ||

    They don't intend to do anything except what they always do, which is part liberals from their money by dreaming up "threats".

  • SPLC is a Hate Group||

    SPLC is a hate group, and a menace to society.

  • B. Obama||

    I think we should give the SPLC more stimulus money for their 'organizational' efforts.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Not to steal Jesse's thunder, but here are the things the Oath Keepers have promised never to do:

    • to disarm the American people

    • to conduct warrantless searches of the American people, their homes, vehicles, papers, or effects

    • to detain American citizens as “unlawful enemy combatants” or to subject them to trial by military tribunal

    • to impose martial law or a “state of emergency” on a state, or to enter with force into a state, without the express consent and invitation of that state’s legislature and governor

    • to invade and subjugate any state that asserts its sovereignty and declares the national government to be in violation of the compact by which that state entered the Union

    • to blockade American cities, thus turning them into giant concentration camps

    • to force American citizens into any form of detention camps under any pretext

    • to assist or support the use of any foreign troops on U.S. soil against the American people

    • to confiscate the property of the American people, including food and other essential supplies, under any emergency pretext whatsoever

    • to do anything that would “infringe on the right of the people to free speech, to peaceably assemble, and to petition their government for a redress of grievances”

    Anyone who has a serious problem with these is either a tyrant, or has no problem with tyranny.

  • ||

    Any of those things would be an illegal order which the person would be obligated to ignore. It really is a big nothing.

  • FEMA ||

    Really? You just wait buddy....remember the term strength in numbers?

    There is a reason we are holding on the stimulus money.....

  • ||

    So you would ignore warrantless searches? Biased much?

  • pmains||

    "to detain American citizens as “unlawful enemy combatants” or to subject them to trial by military tribunal"

    Under our constitution, all courts are established by Congress. I believe that Congress could create a military tribunal which would have the authority to try American citizens -- spies, for instance -- under some circumstances while staying within the Constitution.

    "to force American citizens into any form of detention camps under any pretext"

    What if that pretext is that we're all guilty of some new law? For instance, we incarcerate lots and lots of non-violent drug offenders. Then there's the 3 Felonies a Day thing. How do they distinguish between detention camps and prisons housing countless people who poise no legitimate threat to civil society? I agree with the sentiment, but I wonder if our politicians aren't sneaky enough to get around the letter of this one.

  • Brett Knoss||

    See Internment of Japanese-Americans in World War Two.

  • pmains||

    That was flagrant. What I'm asking is if the next internment camps won't be called internment camps and will be justified under alleged offenses committed by the internees rather than the fact that they're Japanese/German/Italian/whatever.

  • PIRS||

    Like Guantanamo Bay?

  • ||

    the next internment camps will be for peoples own safety. we will have to put you in camps to make sure you aren't robbed by looters. We will also need to separate the men, women and children into different camps to make sure that abuse doesn't take place.

  • ||

    Here be retarded trolls who think they have something relevant to say about Reason, but don't.

  • Dale W. Green||

    I am 100% in agreement with BakedPenguin!

  • Adonisus||

    The SPLC is generally right on the money when it comes to targeting genuine hate groups....but once they get into things like the militias they start to get a tad bit paranoid about it.

    Granted, there ARE White Supremacists/White Seperatists in the militia movement, but those idiots rarely if ever inflitrate other militias. They usually end up starting their own individual militia groups and rarely hide their goals.

  • SPLC is a Hate Group||

    You give the SPLC far too much credit. If they can't even see the hate group in their mirror, what makes you think they'll know one anywhere else?

  • PIRS||

    SPLC may target some actual hate groups, it is a good idea to cloak lies with some truths, but they also claim the LvMI propagates hate because it is consistently anti-war. Yes, an organization that is against all wars – even the politically correct ones. This means they are a hate group according the SPLC.

  • Adonisus||

    Actually, I'm pretty sure that the SPLC targets the LvMI because some of their members have (apparently) neo-confederate sympathies, which the SPLC views as a form of racism.

    They're wrong, of course. But I never said the SPLC was perfect, either.

  • PIRS||

    I wonder if their definition of "neo-confederate sympathies" is opposing the United States Civil War, which was the very point I was making.

  • Dale W. Green||

    If anyone is "right on the money"..it is SPLC is a Hate Group

  • ¢||

    The set of people attracted to violence also overlaps with the set of people who work for the government itself.

    By approximately 100%. Repressed knowledge that your livelihood is wholly dependent on violence counts.

  • ||

    George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were traitors ...

  • ||

    To England.

  • kinnath||

    None the less. They would have been executed by their government had their revolution failed.

  • ||

    Yes they would have.

  • kinnath||

    The vast majority of the US population just doesn't get how serious the revolution was. It's all Mother Goose and fairy tales to them.

  • Brett Knoss||

    The might have been givien amnesty. Bennadict Arnold commited treason against the British but was able to defct commiting treason against the USA.

    Califonia online sales company
    Cafe Press may face charges the Manitoba Human Rights Tribunal for t-shirts wich say Hang With me on Louis Reil Day and show Reil with a noose around his neck. Louis Reil waged the 1885 North West Rebellion and was convicted of high treason, then hung in Regina. Reil is important to the Metis is also seen as the founding father of Manitoba for his role in the Red River Rebellion of 1870. Louis Riel Day is a provincial holiday in Manitoba.

  • Rachel Maddow||

    I am so afraid. Mommy!

  • ||

    It's OK Rachel. Mommy's here.

  • Rachel Maddow||

    Hold me?

  • ||

    No. You creep even ME out. Sorry.

  • ||

    Don't you just hate it when you forget to change it to your joke handle?

  • ||

    Don't you just hate it when you screw up and forget to change it to your joke handle? Looks pretty stupid.

  • Steff||

    Yes. But that's okay. Luckily, Reason moves so fast, you might get away with it.

    I'm still giggling, though.

  • Pip||

    I get a kick out of the ads on MSNBC for their upcoming show "The Timothy McVeigh Diaries" with Rachel Maddow telling us with a worried look that home grown terror from government hating extremists is what we need fear most.

  • ||

    The Tim Mcveigh Diaries? That happened 15 years ago now. What is next the "Charles Whitman diaries"? That is pathetic. How about the Major Hussein diaries? That sounds a bit more relevant than McVeigh.

  • ed||

    It's sadly obvious that MSNBC would kill for an incident--any incident--that could even remotely justify their yearlong fishing expedition into the supposedly "angry, violent, racist, paranoid Teabagger" world. Just as the most vile anti-Bushites hoped and prayed for a humiliating defeat in Iraq, the current crop of leftist loons would give anything for a dramatic act of violence from the Tea Party. They seem quite despondent that nothing has happened. They want blood--they need blood--to validate their premises.

  • ||

    Because as we all know, McVeigh was the founding spirit of the Tea Party Movement.

    /maddow>

  • ||

    The McVeigh Tapes: Confessions of an American Terrorist
    (Documentary -- MSNBC, Mon. April 19, 9 p.m.)

    Host: Rachel Maddow.

    Marking the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, MSNBC's "The McVeigh Tapes: Confessions of an American Terrorist" faces a genuine made-for-TV conundrum. Presented 45 hours of extremely compelling audiotaped interviews with Timothy McVeigh, the producers illustrate that material through "computer recreations" that vaguely resemble a motion comic -- and make McVeigh as rendered look like a dead-eyed character in "The Polar Express." Visually, the result is more distracting than illuminating, but the net effect provides a timely look at domestic terrorism, particularly given the unsettling rise in the militia movement.

  • ||

  • ||

    "given the unsettling rise in the militia movement"

    What unsettleing rise of the militia movement? I don't see how the militia movement is any different today than 15 years ago. What a load of horseshit.

  • ||

    Yeah, that ought to do well up against Dancing with the Stars and 24.

  • Rachel Maddow||

    Yes! You get it!

  • Adonisus||

    McVeigh was a sociopath, pure and simple.

    He wasn't a white supremacist (he loudly proclaimed his disgust of racism), nor was he a 'Christian Terrorist' (those exist, but McVeigh wasn't one of them).

    No, he was just a sociopath who used the Patriot Militia ideology to justify his act of mass murder.

  • MSNBC||

    And that's good enough for us.

  • TippyCanoe||

    ...and General Electric signs your paycheck.

  • GE||

    We bring good propaganda to life™.

  • PIRS||

    +3.
    14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510
    58209749445923078164062862089986280348253421170679
    82148086513282306647093844609550582231725359408128
    48111745028410270193852110555964462294895493038196
    44288109756659334461284756482337867831652712019091
    45648566923460348610454326648213393607260249141273

  • ||

    pi

  • ||

    Mmmmmmmmmm! I like pi!

  • ||

    Well, it's good to know that TEAM BLUE shits its pants just as thoroughly as TEAM RED.

    BOOGEY BOOGEY BOOGEYMAN

  • ||

    Oath of enlistment in the US armed Forces

    "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."

    Which naturally leads to

    Uniform Code of Military Justice - 892. ART. 92. FAILURE TO OBEY ORDER OR REGULATION

    Any person subject to this chapter who--

    (1) violates or fails to obey any lawful general order or regulation;

    (2) having knowledge of any other lawful order issued by any member of the armed forces, which it is his duty to obey, fails to obey the order; or

    (3) is derelict in the performance of his duties;

    shall be punished as a court-martial may direct. [italics added by your humble servant]

    Mother Jones, Bill O'Reilly, Rob Waters - Any questions?

  • creech||

    "Private Smith, this is a lawful order." Do you really think the average soldier is going to know what is or isn't a lawful order if President Obama and General Halftrack issue the orders?

  • General Halftrack||

    Wait, what?

    I was in my office banging Miss Buxley....

  • ||

    "Private Smith, this is a lawful order." Do you really think the average soldier is going to know what is or isn't a lawful order if President Obama and General Halftrack issue the orders?

    The average junior officer and senior enlisted do. Generals don't tell privates what to do.

  • ||

    I don't know about now, but back in the '80s I spent four years in the Infantry. From Basic Training on we were fully versed in the concept of unlawful orders, and knew that obeying such an order made you a criminal and you would be punished.
    Being enlisted, we dreamed of getting an unlawful order, so we could tell an officer to go f**k himself.

  • wayne||

    Being enlisted, we dreamed of getting an unlawful order, so we could tell an officer to go f**k himself.

    As a former enlisted man myself, thus made me smile. I now work with a retired officer; I will be sure to forward this to him.

  • ||

    I was enlisted as a Navy Corpsman. We were pretty well briefed as to what was a lawful order as well.

    I can't speak for my fellow squids, but I sure as hell wanted someone to give me an unlawful order so I could do just that too :D

  • ||

    +10 to the last 3

  • Barack Obama||

    I have a lot of respect for you corpsemen!

  • ||

    Sorry Barry, but the Corpsemen are a special unit of undead soldiers. It's kind of like Universal Soldier, except they eat what they kill.

    On behalf of the United States Navy, I apologize for the confusion.

  • Ron||

    now that's funny

  • PIRS||

    "Do you really think the average soldier is going to know what is or isn't a lawful order if President Obama and General Halftrack issue the orders?"

    If he or she has read the Constitution of the United States, yes. Probably better than 5 of the 9 justices on the United States Supreme Court.

  • ||

    +5

  • ||

    So if I were in the service and was givean order that violates the US Constitution I get cout martial? I don't see where the OAth says to defend a person...get real orders must be lgal and moral, just because you are given a LAWFUL order doesn;t make it lawful. There are orders given LAWFULLY that if you follow produces time in jail.

  • ||

    Mother Jones . . . Bill O’Reilly . . . the Southern Poverty Law Center . . . .

    Well, they're certainly making all the right enemies.

  • Tim||

    Hey! He's looking out for us.

    Yes I managed that with a straight face.

  • SIV||

    The Oat Keepers got a yella streak about a mile wide runnin' down 'em. They bailed on the Second Amendment rally April 19th

  • ||

    The Oat Keepers got a yella streak about a mile wide runnin' down 'em. They bailed on the Second Amendment rally April 19th

    Why would you expect a bunch of grain silo owners to show up?

  • Quaker Oats Man||

    Quakers are pacifists too. Remember Pennsylvania?

  • ||

  • ||

    So what is wrong with this. Plaudits to this group.

  • ||

    Does anyone think the Thai military's restraint lately has been traitorous?

    On Monday, the army chief, Gen. Anupong Paochinda, seemed to back the demands of the Red Shirts when he said it might be necessary to dissolve Parliament and call a new election to resolve the crisis. The general had been seen as a supporter of the government but had remained silent throughout the protests and had not moved forcefully to implement a state of emergency declared by the prime minister last week.

    “If the issue cannot be resolved through political means, then Parliament dissolution seems to be a reasonable step,” he said. “I just want peace to prevail.”

    In another sign that the military was wavering, a military spokesman, Col. Sansern Kaewkamnerd, said Monday: “As a soldier, I’d like to say that whatever we are doing today we are not doing it for the government but for the maintenance of society.”

    He added: “We, the army, are ready to adjust ourselves and follow your direction because we are the army of the people.”
  • Nancy Pelosi||

    This talk reminds me of when straight people used to beat up gay people in San Francisco. Plus it's astroturfy.

  • ||

    Even worse, it's genetically modified Astroturf.

  • Brett Knoss||

    Why didn't the gay people carry a handgun, so they could show it to they gay beaterrs and they would run away?

  • ||

    Why didn't the gay people carry a handgun, so they could show it to they gay beaterrs and they would run away?

    It probably didn't match their outfit.

  • ||

    "• to force American citizens into any form of detention camps under any pretext"

    This has "FEMA Camp Conspiracy" written all over it.

    I bet there are some, right here in this thread, who would be okay with keeping people in detention camps if they refused to be vaccinated amid a pandemic. ...and while H1N1 turned out to be a dud, thank God, I don't think an epidemic would have to be much worse than that to get most people on board with sending people who refused to be vaccinated to quarantine camps.

    That could easily happen in our lifetime; in fact, my beef with the FEMA Camp conspiracy nuts isn't that they must be wrong about FEMA having plans to inter multitudes of people during a pandemic; it's that if FEMA isn't making any such contingency plans, then then they aren't doing their job--no conspiracy theory required.

    "Despite decades of rumors, the feds have yet to reestablish the internment camps that held Japanese-American citizens in World War II."

    Just for the record, more than 10,000 people of German ancestry were sent to internment camps during World War II. People of Italian ancestry were sent to internment camps too. Japanese internment gets all the press, and they deserve every bit of it, but none of us should ever think we're immune from such things. We're all minorities somehow.

  • ||

    "I bet there are some, right here in this thread, who would be okay with keeping people in detention camps if they refused to be vaccinated amid a pandemic"

    Tony and Chad don't count.

  • Pip||

    So don't forget to fill out those census forms.

  • Kroneborge||

    +1

  • Lord Jubjub||

    A whole lot of German speakers from the Great Plains region moved to Canada during the First World War.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Those included nearly all of the Hutterites in the US, who not only speak German, but are pacifists.

    Four of them died in Fort Leavenworth (after the war was over) due to brutality at the hands of prison guards.

  • Death Panelist||

    Despite decades of rumors, the feds have yet to reestablish the internment camps that held Japanese-American citizens in World War II.

    Just because it happened once doesn't mean it could ever possibly happen again, you crazy conspiracy nuts.

  • TippyCanoe||

    Text of H.R. 645: National Emergency Centers Establishment Act

    http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=h111-645

  • ||

    "Just because it happened once doesn't mean it could ever possibly happen again, you crazy conspiracy nuts."

    I know that was snark, but it 2008?

    The State of Texas descended on an FLDS community and stripped 439 children from their parents, all because of a crank phone call.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FLDS#April_2008_raid

    Thank God the courts sent all those kids back--they never found one shred of evidence!

    Being a minority in a democracy sucks, especially in times of turmoil. ...and like I said, we're all minorities somehow.

  • ||

    And make no mistake: those kids and their mothers were kept in the functional equivalent of "camps" for weeks. At first, they were housed at Fort Concho in San Angelo, and then moved to one of our convention centers.

    Disappointment #1: The judge who approved the seizure was re-elected (unopposed).

    Outrage #1: That same judge is presiding over the criminal trials that have come out of the raid, even after being slapped around by the Texas Supreme Court.

  • ||

    Truth be told, I'd join the Keepers in a heartbeat, but I'm holding out for a group more bent on bloodshed.

  • Zeb||

    I keep getting the Oath Keepers and the Promise Keepers mixed up. The Oath Keepers sound pretty right on to me. Promise keepers could safely be described as "pretty extreme".

  • Max||

    At least the Oath Keepers are more a threat than you are, Jesse, you babbling irrelevancy.

  • matt2||

    Substantive.

  • Warty||

    Edward/Lefiti/Morris! Shut the fuck up, Edward.

  • Max||

    Warty, I can bench press 350 lbs.

    I'd throttle you, son.

  • ||

    Why is that important to you?

  • Warty||

    350? That's pathetic, you colossal vagina. Besides, real men deadlift.

  • ||

    I've seen a guy who could barely bench 95 kick the shit out of a guy who could bench 350. What's your point, dipshit?

  • ||

    As a former soldier, I love this article. Thank you Jesse Walker.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    should a dictatorship be imposed and a popular uprising break out, its members will not only refuse to fire on the dissenters but will “join them in fighting against those who dare attempt to enslave them

    And the problem here is... what, exactly?

  • ||

    They haven't yet been assimilated into the Borg.

  • ||

    Michelle Obama at Whole Foods and they are OUT! of arugula!!! That is something to fear, comrades.

  • ||

    BigMo would beat a brother across the head with her belt bra.

  • ||

    I get more sex when I go on TV to warn the America People about the militia types. This is PAYDIRT!

  • ||

    The damn crazed republicans! The howl at the moon at bark racial epithets. They hate Comrade Obowma because of his skin color.

  • ||

    SPLC is a poor man's ACLU?

  • ||

    Mmmmm, Oaff Keepers... Zealots! Extremists! Racists! Sexists! They know nothing of religion of peas

  • ||

    What would Fuhrer FDR do? Sequester the GOP extremists! Bring back the Korematsu camps...?

  • ||

    Great article - as a prior serviceman and Oathkeeper myself, I find it truly insluting that people like Maddow are allowed to call themselves American and get away with it. If some sort of camps are ever established - I say we use them for Maddow, Pelosi, Murphy, Reilly etc - that way the funds needed to build them would not be all wasted!

  • ||

    Oh - and as to my take on the constitution: http://hubpages.com/hub/The-Co.....-Relevance

  • ||

    +5

    Me too.

  • ||

    "If some sort of camps are ever established - I say we use them for Maddow, Pelosi, Murphy, Reilly etc - that way the funds needed to build them would not be all wasted!"

    Gee, you sound like a real constitutional expert. Paranoid retard is more like it.

  • ||

    Robert,
    I laugh at your childish comment. I happen to know quite abit about our constitution thank you very much - the fact that you do not seem to is something I cannot help - only you can stop ignorance :-)

    As for the paranoid retard - where on Gods green earth did you get that? Also, if we have a government that becomes insolvent due to its own actions - how is that paranoid? I would actually celebrate such a thing - just because I support a constitional republic does not mean that I would be opposed to getting it a clean start :-)

    So my good man, why don't you do the readers here a favor and stop stealing the oxygen - believe me, there are people out there who need it more then a numbskull like you ! :-)HAND

  • ||

    I'd take the Oaf Keepers more seriously if they were at all concerned about Obama's real constitutional abuses, such as wanting to assassinate an American citizen without a trial and to get Yahoo & Verizon e-mails without search warrants.

    Both things I learned about first from outraged LEFTY commentators - Keith Olbermann and Glenn Greenwald, respectively (although I'm relieved to see on a search that Reason has at least mentioned both subjects, in passing).

    No, the Oaf Keepers don't know about those things, and might not even care, because those things sound like things Bush did, or might have done, or wanted to do & was kept from doing by those damn libruls, or "should" have done (from the Oaf Keepers' POV), or something.

    Phonies and hypocrites all.

  • ||

    Greg,
    The oath keepers have one purpose only - to defend the constitutional republic that was implemented as ameans to create a limited government that existed for the sole purpose of ensuring individual liberties.
    yes we know about things of that nature, which is why we started to begin with. I would suggest you try talking to one of us before your inane insertions that we are ignorant of the facts. Also, we objected to many issues before Obama even got into office - so kindly do your research before commenting. What has made a difference with the Obama administration though, is his acceleration into all of Bush's mistakes. As to wire tapping etc - I have also written an article on that when the White house released a report on a recently declassified project called Einstein - look it up.

  • ||

    Oh and I am certain that they will all be card carrying, constitutional authorities with individual mandates to personally decided what exactly is constitutional, and what is not. Heck, I do that already.

  • ||

    That's not what's EXTREME about them. I'm sure you can find some reasonable sounding statements in the home of any Islamic terrorist, Aryan Brotherhood member, Nazi, etc. They all claim to base their criminal violence on some benign principle.

    But before you know it, "not violating the constitution" means hanging jews from trees and slitting the throats of gays.

  • JohnD||

    BruceM is a fool or a left winger... but I'm being redundant.

  • jesse (not that one)||

    Hmm... this hanging of jews from trees story sounds pretty shocking. Do you have a link? Gay throats being slit - that must have made the 11pm news somewhere, right?

  • ||

    Hey moron. They said exactly what they would refuse to do. No interpretation required. Which of those things do you find objection to little fascist?

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Is this a Godwinism, or what?

  • Dave||

    Radical idea these dipshits never thought of... letting the Supreme Court decide what laws are constitutional or not.

    After all, isn't that how it's supposed to work under the FUCKING CONSTITUTION?

  • ||

    Real fucking brilliant, Dave.
    I don't recall an associate justice assigned to my platoon in 1991.

    And, it's not about laws, it's about ORDERS. Things that happen on the ground, not in DC.

    You ever take a military order, Dave?

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