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A Pin Drop

Posted by Dave Griffith on January 30, 2018 at 11:25 AM

My brother recently sent me the following:

“Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, was in France in the early 60's when

DeGaulle decided to pull out of NATO.

DeGaulle said he wanted all US military out of

France as soon as possible.

Rusk responded,

"Does that include those who are buried here?"


did not respond.

You could have heard a pin drop.”

I share this snippet because it is a useful reminder that all over the world American servicemen and women are defending America's interests and those of our allies. Increasingly it is becoming challenging to align our interests given the leadership in Washington, but we need to be mindful that young man and women put their life on the line to defend the Constitution and in turn our way of life. They deserve clarity in our national strategy and confidence in our leadership, especially our Commander in Chief.

I have family in the military. I have friends whose son and daughters are in the military. We all have individuals we know who are currently on active duty or in the reserves. We all know the famous quote that “freedom is not free’, but the decision to deploy deserves the careful thought that the chain of command is designed to engage in when making such a decision. I pray that the concept of “legal orders” is not lost on our President or the chain of command.

As a reminder: “e Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) 809[890].ART.90 (20), makes it clear that military personnel need to obey the "lawful command of his superior officer," 891.ART.91 (2), the "lawful order of a warrant officer", 892.ART.92 (1) the "lawful general order", 892.ART.92 (2) "lawful order". In each case, military personnel have an obligation and a duty to only obey Lawful orders and indeed have an obligation to disobey Unlawful orders, including orders by the president that do not comply with the UCMJ. The moral and legal obligation is to the U.S. Constitution and not to those who would issue unlawful orders, especially if those orders are in direct violation of the Constitution and the UCMJ.”

A reminder for any leader to deploy lies in the fields at Arlington and our other national cemeteries, and in resting places all over the world and in sacred grounds reserved not just for Americans. The price of conflict is an absolute for any country. We will answer the call as we always have, let us not do so lightly. I pray that our current administration does not treat such a decision as a reality show, that the wisdom of our President’s Chief of Staff, Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs, and National Security Chief can calm the decision-making process. These men have tremendous scar tissue, and we know that scar tissue is the best teacher. They are men of character, and they understand the price paid in any conflict. If we must act, and the world may require us to do so, let it be based on our core values and our real national interests and obligations.

The political process is in place for a reason, as are the three branches of our government. As citizens, the obligation to participate in our process has never been higher, nor has the threat to that participation in recent memory for many been greater. Let us call on all three branches to do their job.

Perhaps we need to listen for the pin?

Better yet, to act before it is dropped.

Categories: Muddy Boots, Leadership, Griffith Thoughts

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