I graduated from West Point in 1991.
Upon graduation I was commissioned into the Regular Army in the Infantry.
Graduated from Ranger School in 1992.
Was a platoon leader and company executive officer and battalion staff officer in line platoons and line battalions of the 82nd Airborne Division's 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment.
Graduated from the 82nd Airborne Division's Jumpmaster Course and put plenty of paratroopers out the door on night mass tactical airborne operations (and then followed them out into the darkness).
As a platoon leader, usually had the privilege of jumping the platoon radio, as well as a variety of other interesting gear usually given to taller individuals to jump, such as the Stinger Missile Jump Pack or the notorious Steiner Aid.
Sometimes was the first one out the door on jumps, in which case I would occasionally find myself blowing towards the "heavy drops" of big equipment that had been pushed out ahead of me under their own parachutes, requiring rapid evasive action in order to avoid landing on an uncomfortable-looking artillery piece looming up out of the darkness below.
Later commanded two different line companies in the 4th Infantry Division's 22nd Infantry Regiment.
Upon graduation from West Point, along with the rest of my graduating class, I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, against all enemies -- foreign and domestic.
While at West Point, the single most oft-repeated theme of every lecture given to the Corps of Cadets from the Superintendent of West Point was the admonition to pursue a lifetime of service to the country and the Constitution -- and that this requirement does not end when you leave active duty.
You can ask any member of my graduating class from the Military Academy what was the one subject they remember from just about any given lecture from the Superintendent: you will hear a response that closely resembles the above.
Also while at West Point, the single most oft-repeated theme of every "honor class" exploring ethics and personal integrity was the admonition that there is no duty to obey an unlawful order: that is to say, it is neither right nor lawful to engage in a criminal act, an unlawful act, just because of "orders." On the contrary, one's duty was to oppose criminal orders and criminal actions, regardless of the "rank" of the person ordering criminal behavior or engaging in criminal behavior.
Again, you can ask any member of my graduating class from the Military Academy what was the predominant subject of any given "honor class" during their long years at West Point, from the very first summer to the final months before graduation, and they will probably tell you the very same thing that I just said (and they will probably mention the movie Breaker Morant, which was the usual film used to examine this subject, and which is discussed in a previous blog post here).
In light of that, I believe that it is not just optional but it is a duty of anyone who is supposedlysworn to support and/or defend the Constitution and the Bill of Rights enshrined therein, and that it is not just optional but an absolute duty of anyone who is receiving a paycheck to defend the individual man or woman's inherent and innate right to life and liberty and to all the rights spelled out in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, to closely and critically examine the details of the events of September 11, 2001.
Because the events of that day were used, and continue to be used, to excuse and "justify" military invasions and occupations, the overthrow of other countries and their governments, and the destruction of life on a vast scale, without stopping, since that day fourteen years ago (now a longer period of time than the Vietnam War, which was called in a textbook I was issued while at West Point America's Longest War).
The events of that day have also been used to justify the passage of laws and Patriot Acts and National Defense Authorization Acts which excuse and "justify" the suspension or the violation of those same rights enshrined in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights -- used to justify massive increases in surveillance and the storage by state agents and agencies of conversations and video footage and "metadata," used to justify searches and seizures and detention without charges, and many more changes which would have been absolutely unthinkable prior to September 11th, 2001.
I continue to maintain that no one has a right to take your picture without your permission, and that the acceptance of the idea that we can be routinely and regularly filmed and monitored and recorded and have our license plate's location automatically photographed throughout the day and stored indefinitely would have been unthinkable and unacceptable to people in 1991 -- and yet today many people shrug this off as just "the facts of life" in the 21st century.
If no one has a right to take your picture or "surveil" you without your permission and without observing the specific provisions set out in the Fourth Amendment of the Bill of Rights, then the entire idea of flying drones over the heads of non-criminal men and women is unlawful (since drones can only fly by taking video constantly, whether using visible light or other parts of the spectrum to take that video).
And of course, there are intrusions and violations even more heinous than these which some would condone and excuse in the name of the conventional storyline of that significant and awful and murderous day.
If you are sworn to support and/or defend the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, or if you are supposed to be protecting the people on a local level as a law enforcement officer, then you owe it to the people you are serving (including any soldiers or subordinates you are supposed to be leading) to investigate all the evidence that you can find regarding the events of September 11, 2001.
To examine the events of September 11 as if you were Sherlock Holmes -- that is to say, without going in with a preconceived idea or conclusion that you are then going to force the evidence to support or "cherry pick" evidence to support.
In every Sherlock Holmes case, or every Scooby Doo episode, "the authorities" have their story that they want to say is the only explanation -- all other "meddling" around or looking for other possibilities is unwelcome.
Instead of accepting those stories, a critical thinking investigator should look at the evidence, and come up with all the possible explanations that could explain the evidence -- no explanation is off-limits.
Only then can he or she begin to weigh which of the different possible explanations have the most evidence in their favor.
I am not here to tell anyone else how to decide on this subject or on any other subject. I am arguing that the subject deserves an unbiased and very careful examination, because it is obviously of such tremendous importance.
I am not in the business of telling other people what they need to conclude. Where there is evidence that I believe is important to examine, whether that evidence fits the "conventional" storyline or tends to upset the conventional storyline, I try to present that evidence.
When it comes to the ancient history of humanity, I believe that there is absolutely overwhelming evidence that the conventional storyline is incorrect (and in fact, in some cases, not only does the evidence appear to show the conventional storyline to be incorrect but it may also demonstrate that "we've been lied to," deliberately, in some occasions and by some people who knew better, regarding the history of the past two thousand or more years). I try to present that evidence as clearly as possible here and in my books.
When it comes to the events of September 11, 2001, if the conventional storyline is massively incorrect, then the wars and the killing and the violation of human rights at home and abroad that have been predicated upon that conventional storyline are unlawful.
Not only do we have a right to not obey an unlawful order but we have a duty to not obey an unlawful order. And by extension we also have a duty to not support unlawful or criminal actions (such as by sending weapons and tax dollars to enable criminal actions). That means that everyone in the country (especially if old enough to vote or to pay taxes) has a duty to look into this question, just as much as those in the armed forces (who are actually called upon to go carry out those actions) have a duty to do so.
In fact, the rest of the world is very much dependent upon the people of the United States to be the ones to figure this out, if that is indeed the situation. Because people in France or in Kenya cannot vote in United States elections. And people in France or in Kenya are not in positions of leadership in the armed forces of the United States. They haven't taken oaths to support or defend the Constitution and the Bill of Rights of this country.
Of course, they can act through their own representatives to criticize criminal actions or withhold their support of criminal violence that tramples on human rights, but as far as deciding that an order saying to kill someone with a drone is an unlawful order, that is up to the person in that position, and no one from any other country can help them at that moment.
It is up to all of us who do live here, who do vote in US elections and who do receive paychecks as members of the armed forces or of law enforcement to figure it out.
Because, if it turns out that the evidence overwhelmingly points to the conclusion that the storyline of 9/11 that we have been told is not at all in line with the evidence, and that criminal behavior has been and continues to be predicated upon that "official" storyline, then those of us in the United States are in far better position to remedy the situation by our actions, our votes, our speeches, our demonstrations, and our refusal to obey unlawful orders or support unlawful killings, invasions, occupations, and coups, than people in just about any other part of the world.
Some places to start examining the evidence might include some of the following links (once again, if we are discouraged from or strongly criticized, reprimanded, or threatened for even looking at all the evidence, we might have to ask why that would be, and whether Sherlock Holmes would be suspicious if he found a lot of "authorities" in some particular case telling him not to look at the evidence for himself or form his own opinions).
You may or may not agree with any of the arguments presented in these particular sites (and these are just a very few examples).
But I believe it is not just optional but actually a duty to examine available evidence, track down the footnotes, go look at the sources, and do some critical analysis for yourself (each and every one of us):
and many others.
There is a very famous closing section in the very famous "Patton speech" delivered by George C. Scott at the beginning of the movie Patton (1970), in which the general (speaking to a group of soldiers who are about to go risk their lives fighting against the fascist totalitarian regimes in the European theater of World War II) says these words:
There's one thing that you men will be able to say when you get back home -- and you may thank God for it.
Thirty years from now, when you're sitting around your fireside, with your grandson on your knee, and he asks you: "What did you do, in the great World War II?" -- you won't have to say:
"Well, I shoveled shit in Louisiana."
It's no longer the 1940s. We're actually well more than "thirty years along" from the conflict in which Patton and all the soldiers he was addressing in that film fought.
But if we might imagine how those who fought against totalitarianism then, virtually all of whom have now passed from the stage of this material life, might similarly admonish ustoday, perhaps echoing Patton's words in that famous speech, let us hope that we don't have to hear them say something like this:
Thirty years from now, when you're sitting around in whatever the world looks like in thirty years, and your descendants turn to you and ask, "What did you do, when people were deciding that we had to eviscerate the Constitution and the Bill of Rights that so many risked their lives to support and defend through all the different challenges that you had learned about from history when you were growing up?" -- you won't have to say:
"Well, I went along and enabled everything they were doing, because I didn't look into any evidence for myself: I just bought everything that I was being told."