About Us
Mission Statement
Rules of Conduct
Remember Me

Ask a Vet
Author: TriSec    Date: 01/18/2022 11:20:54

Good Morning.

Houston, we've had a problem.

Actually, we've had this problem for a long time. It's been reported here and elsewhere for a number of years about the right-wing problem within the military. The events of January 6 put that under a microscope a year ago - and now finally something has come of it.

For the first time, a handful of those who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, have been indicted for sedition, by far the most serious charges against those who attempted to halt the confirmation of President Joe Biden's victory.

Yet, despite the significance of the indictments, the move isn't likely to deal a blow to the anti-government militia movement or the participation of military members in its ranks, according to experts.

On Thursday, federal prosecutors announced that 11 members of the Oath Keepers, including Stewart Rhodes, a veteran and leader of the group, will face charges tied to allegations that he and other militia members hatched a plan to not only breach the U.S. Capitol but to reinforce their attack with heavily armed "quick reaction forces," or QRFs, that were staged outside Washington, D.C.

Of the 11 indicted Thursday, at least five, including Rhodes, are military veterans, according to records kept by the George Washington University Program on Extremism.

The over-representation of veterans in that group is by design, according to Jon Lewis, a researcher at the Program on Extremism and an expert on the Oath Keepers. Lewis explained in an interview with Military.com that the intentional recruitment of those with military and law enforcement experience "is highly indicative of the kind of guiding ethos that Stewart Rhodes has attempted to make the Oath Keepers brand."

It is astounding to me that those charged with preserving, protecting, and defending the Constitution might be the same ones that are attempting to abrogate it, but this is the inevitable result of 157 years of looking the other way; the issues of the Civil War and Reconstruction era have never been satisfactorily resolved.

But why "sedition"? It's no laughing matter. President John Adams first signed legislation about it back in 1798.

President John Adams signed into law the Sedition Act of 1798, which set out punishments of up to two years of imprisonment for "opposing or resisting any law of the United States" or writing or publishing "false, scandalous, and malicious writing" about the President or the U.S. Congress

It's been more recently codified into law (US Code 2384).

If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.

(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 808; July 24, 1956, ch. 678, § 1, 70 Stat. 623; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, § 330016(1)(N), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2148.)

So, according to the current law, Every single person that stormed the Capitol has committed a seditious act against the government of the United States.

But where does the former President sit in all of this? Since his followers acted at his beck and call, that makes him part of the conspiracy, and just as guilty as everyone else that day. But there is something else that he would be a part of.

The Constitution of the United States only enumerates three specific crimes. Piracy, Counterfeiting...and Treason.

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.

While he may not have given them arms - all the encouragement followed by the complete lack of defence for the Capitol - is that not giving the enemy Aid and Comfort?

But I digress.

Returning to our original story - several veterans were Indicted for sedition. It will be up to the prosecution of the United States to make the charges stick, and a jury of their peers to decide their guilt. But in the end, will it be enough?

Since the events of Jan. 6, the Pentagon has tried to grapple with the issue of extremism in its ranks -- an issue laid bare by the number of people with military experience who were arrested in the weeks and months after the siege.

According to data from the Program on Extremism, of the more than 700 people facing federal charges over the Capitol siege, at least 85, or 12%, have some military experience. The vast majority of those, 77, are veterans.

Modern-day groups like the Oath Keepers are hardly the first to draw on veterans for their knowledge and experience. Lewis explained historians often "point to the historical failings of this country to properly care for Vietnam veterans that led to susceptibility to seek out brotherhood, kinship, meaning ... in anti-government and white supremacist groups in the '70s, '80s, 90s."

After months of study, the Pentagon announced the first round of policy changes aimed at eliminating extremism in the ranks in late December. The 21-page report created new guidelines for activities that are banned for service members by adding more detail and clarity on what constitutes extremist activity, as well as "active participation."

Much of the activity and rhetoric that groups like the Oath Keepers espouse could now fall under the new policy, which bans a range of things from advocating terrorism or supporting the overthrow of the government to fundraising for an extremist group.

The Department of Defense's watchdog agency also announced it would review how the military has been doing at screening for extremists during the enlistment process.

"I think that this is something that will continue to be a significant problem until we see more robust action on this front by the military," Lewis noted.

"VIGILANCE", as a long ago radio host used to say.


4 comments (Latest Comment: 01/18/2022 16:45:36 by BobR)
   Perma Link

Share This!

Furl it!