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Letter to my CO

*To the DP: Thanks to many on here who unknowingly have helped persuade me in this direction. I plan on presenting the following letter outlining my thoughts and convictions to my CO in the coming days and would appreciate any feedback you may have on it. Anything I should change/delete/add? Thanks*

To Whom It May Concern:

As a disclaimer, I wish to inform the reader that at this point, I have in no way made any decisions regarding my career as a Marine. This is simply to formulate my thoughts, create a discussion, and possibly consider future alternatives to my current path in the Marine Corps. It is somehow fitting (ironic?) that I begin writing this on the 238th Marine Corps birthday and continue it throughout Veteran’s Day and the entire month blindly honoring veterans.

I remember October 13, 2004 like it was yesterday. I remember sitting tall at the recruiter’s office as I signed into the Delayed Entry Program having recently convinced my parents that it was a good idea. I was excited to serve my country.

I remember July 5, 2005 like it was yesterday. I remember the formal swearing in ceremony at the MEPS station where I gave the famous oath that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. I remember saying, “So help me God,” turning around, and seeing tears flowing down my mother’s face and a huge smile on my father’s face. I remember spending those last moments with my girlfriend (now wife) and my parents. I remember the goodbyes as I left for 13 weeks of basic training. I remember sitting on the plane studying rank structure so I would be as prepared as possible.

I remember September 29, 2005 like it was yesterday. I remember as Drill Instructor SSgt Baehr marched in front of me and handed me my Eagle, Globe, and Anchor, signifying that I was officially a United States Marine. I remember trying my best to hold back tears, and although I failed, I did better than some. I remember seeing my family for the first time in 13 weeks.

I was proud.

I was a Marine.

I was a warrior.

I was a defender of the nation.

Since that time, my love for the Marine Corps grew immensely. I spent hours on my uniform preparing for inspections. I studied my knowledge and was one of the few Marines I knew that legitimately took the knowledge test and did well. I was promoted quickly and I would like to think that I was respected as a Marine. I loved telling others I was a Marine and would take every opportunity to put myself into a position to be thanked for my service.

Unfortunately, my increasing love for the Marine Corps had a negative affect on my morality. I recall a conversation with a friend that I hadn’t seen for awhile in which he asked me what I would still like to do in the Corps. I replied to him that I was disappointed that I hadn’t killed anyone yet.

…disappointed that I hadn’t killed anyone….

Looking back, I question how I could have possibly been so dark. How had my humanity dropped to the level that I had a life goal of ending another human’s life?
I guess its just part of the culture. Killing is celebrated in the Marine Corps and referred to as “getting some.” Running cadences often refer to killing in lighthearted and humorous (to them) ways. The word “kill” can replace a multitude of words in a Marine’s vocabulary without batting an eye towards its implications. General Mattis claimed that it’s “a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them. Actually, it’s a lot of fun to fight. You know, it’s a hell of a hoot. It’s fun to shoot some people.” Indeed, killing is part of the culture, and understandably so, but I am no longer part of that culture.

The only morally justified killing is in self-defense. The big lie in the military is that we are used for “defending our freedoms.” Exactly what freedoms were North Korea and Vietnam threatening? Iraq? Afghanistan? Libya? Yemen? Pakistan?

Here’s a better question: What exactly did nearly 3.5 million (since WWII – the last congressionally declared war) service members die for?

The only freedoms that have been lost have come from the hands of our own government. The Patriot Act, NDAA, our unlimited and secret surveillance state, our ever growing police state, have all been put in place by our own government in the name of “National Security” against the boogieman “terrorists.” I gave an oath to support and defend the Constitution, while our own government that I am employed by is the one that is attacking it.

I joined in order to “defend freedoms,” but I have become aware that I am doing no such thing. I am being used as a pawn in unconstitutional, inhumane, and immoral “wars” that I believe to be based solely around money. (1Timothy 6:10 – “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil…)

Major General Smedley Butler is often honored in the Marine Corps for his heroic actions, which earned him two Medals of Honor. Unsurprisingly, I failed to see his book “War is a Racket” on the Commandant’s reading list, and no one ever mentions his life after retirement.

Six quotes from “War is a Racket:”

“War is a racket. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.”

“My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of the higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military.”

“There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.”

“I spent 33 years and 4 months in active military service…And during that period I spent most of my time as a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers.”

“Our boys were sent off to die with beautiful ideals painted in front of them. No one told them that dollars and cents were the real reason they were marching off to kill and die.”

“Modern wars are maneuvered and engineered into existence in order to generate obscene profits for behind-the-scenes corporate manipulators whose sons and daughters never serve or die in those wars.”

After learning these things and researching for myself the purpose of war, the damage of war, and the lies that surround war entirely, I find it impossible to remain proud that I am part of the military system.

“Thank you for your service.” These words mean absolutely nothing to me, because I know that the civilian that just told me that believes the lie that America would be doomed without this country being the policemen of the world. I no longer believe this lie. If history is going to speak kindly regarding America, the military must be used for defense only.

“Happy Veteran’s Day.” Again, these words are worthless to me and have been said far too often. What are we celebrating again? Those who served? In order for one to serve, one must be served, so who is the recipient of our service. Is it the American citizens, who want to live quiet and peaceful lives, (1 Timothy 2:2 – “for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”) or is it for military contractors and politicians in their endeavor for greedy gain. I would argue that it is the latter. So thank you veterans for fighting and putting your life on the line for governmental corruption. As former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger admitted, “Military men are dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns for foreign policy.”

I am quite aware that this may foster the belief that I am unpatriotic or hate my country. I assure you that this cannot be further from the truth, depending on your definition of patriotism. Ron Paul wrote in his book Liberty Defined that “there was a time when a willingness to criticize one’s own government when it was wrong was the very definition of patriotism.” In the military, under the UCMJ, I am unable to do this. My free speech, my ability to criticize, has been made unlawful.

“You’re not supposed to be so blind with patriotism that you can’t face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who says it.” – Malcom X

I also understand that this may cause you to think I am a coward. A coward hides behind others’ transgressions and blames higher ups. “I was just following orders” are the words of a coward, one who will not take responsibility for his own actions. It is a glorified version of the Milgram Experiment – “I am not responsible because someone told me to do it.” Cowardly. Some may say that they are not just following orders, and they still believe in the military system and our current justification for war. That is on them.

As a human, and as a Christian who has finally understood that Americans are not God’s chosen people and do not have his eternal blessing to control the entire world, I must speak up about my personal convictions.

Laurence Vance, in his book “War, Christianity, and the State: Essays on the follies of Christian Militarism,” begins with this:

“If there is any group of people that should be opposed to war, torture, militarism, and the warfare state with its suppression of civil liberties, imperial presidency, government propaganda, and interventionist foreign policy it is Christians, and especially conservative, evangelical, and fundamentalist Christians who claim to strictly follow the dictates of Scripture and worship the Prince of Peace.”

As a believer of Christ and his teaching, I have no place in the Marine Corps.

Because of these personal and internal convictions that I have presented (along with many others), I am consciously forced to find my way out of the Marine Corps in any feasible manner. I am not 100% clear on my options, which is why I have presented this letter to discuss those options.

This letter does not come easily. I am internally torn due to potential consequences and hardships, but my conviction remains steadfast and I know this is what I must do.

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That is a great letter.

Hey Bronko,

I don't know if you remember me but almost exactly one year ago I was here on the DP seeking advice on how to get out of the Army and me and you had a great discussion; see: http://www.dailypaul.com/264747/please-help-applying-for-con...

It put a huge smile on my face when I read " letter my my CO" on the DP today, and more so when I saw it was written by some one I had received advice from during the most gut-wrenching time of my life.

Here's my advice: Commit to getting out, and take the most efficient route out. Your mind is already made up, even if you don't know it yet; I know this was the case for me when I was go through this. I tried so hard to find a way that I could commission and live with myself, and its impossible when you know the reality as you brilliantly expressed in your letter. Do not listen to people who tell you to stay and " spread the message from within". They do not understand what its like to dedicate your life to a lie, to promote and spread that lie, all while know its a lie, and besides, you cannot give anyone answers to questions they are not asking. And those who say stay in to "reform" the military. When you learn the history of the US Military's foreign involvements, and what the threats the US are, you realize the US Military is not, and never has been worth "reforming" which would be next to impossible anyway.

When I had a draft of my conscientious objector packet ready I told my CO that I would soon be applying for CO status. He didn't understand but accepted it as my right and didn't give me much grief over it. When I met with our HR person she found a way, long story short, that I could break my contract without any damage that would give the CO grounds to remove me from the program, which he did. This was nice because the Conc. Obj. route can take over 2 years for cadets.

If the conc. obj. route is the way you want to go, I recommend not sending this letter to your CO until you already have your plan to get out. Contact GI Hotline (they have a website). Call their number and leave a message if no one answers, which is likely because they are staffed by volunteers (some of which are military lawyers, which was awesome), but they will get back to you in a day or two. These guys really know their stuff and cannot describe how helpful they were while I 'orchestrated my release'. This process does take time, so if you have less than a year left it would probably be best to wait it out. Either way commit and come to terms with your beliefs; like you told me, you cannot sit on both sides of the fence with this, it will drive you crazy. Commit. We cannot change the world, we can only change ourselves, that is how one becomes free.

I am very happy with my decision. I got a job right after school as a structural engineer. I will start paying back my ROTC scholarship this month, which sucks, but is so worth it to have set free, physically and conscientiously. If you have any questions or if I can help in any way, I will make a point to check this post for the next few days I would be glad to discuss anything with you. You can also PM me and I will give you my phone no.

Best of luck, and stay strong. You will figure it out.

"War is a Racket" - Maj. General Smedley Butler


Good to hear from you! Glad

Good to hear from you! Glad all is going well for you.

See my comment above for some of the answers to your questions

Your advice of not listening to people who tell you to stay and "spread the message from within" is interesting, because IIRC, that was my advice to you when we had our discussion. If not, I at least felt that way for awhile.

"gut-wrenching" - yes, exactly this.

And since you were in an ROTC, you may understand a little more where I'm at, since I'm currently attached to an ROTC command. I am actually not planning on giving this to my CO, but to my MOI (Marine Officer Instructor) - just figured that was easier to explain to those on the DP that wouldn't necessarily understand the distinction.

So I would hope that he would at least have a conversation with me to explore options before I actually went to the CO. The MOI has said multiple times that he doesn't want to send bad Marines into the officer ranks, so I'm letting him know that I'm not the guy the Marine Corps wants. Win-win?

Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty. -Thomas Jefferson

Looking back, I see you did

Looking back, I see you did suggest the "spread the message from within" route. I wonder if you would recommend that today?

I would suggest your option 3 from above.I think this is the most practical way out. I would also try to avoid giving this letter to your instructor if you can, but still have that conversation with your instructor about exploring your options. I don't know if your already contracted for the further 6 yr obligation or not, but I think you should be able to tell your leadership you longer wish to become an officer and would like to finish your obligation enlisted. If I were in your shoes (which I kind of was), however, I would refuse to commission no matter what even if it meant do the cons. obj route.

On that note, I do encourage you to reevaluate the "just war theory". I did a good amount of reading into this when I was getting my CO packet ready. I remember the first time I read the JWT I laughed under my breath and though "well by these standards there never was and there never can be a just war". I encourage you to pick up the book " A change of Allegiance". Its the story and 'manifesto' of and by a christian soldier who went through the consc. obj. process. I don't adhere to everything said in the book, but it thoroughly dismisses the Christian arguments for war. IMO the just war theory is just another concoction the 'powers that be' (at the time) sold the their followers to allow them to get away with what that wanted to do. I do consider myself an orthodox (little "o") Catholic by the way, but I do not excuse the evil that has been done by men who claim to be from the Church.

Anyway, I think I can sense from your other comments that you have a good idea of what you need to do now. It all works out.

"War is a Racket" - Maj. General Smedley Butler


Thanks! I just ordered "A


I just ordered "A change of allegiance." I've heard many Christians debate the just war theory and I admit to not really looking into that argument yet. But I promise I will be.

Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty. -Thomas Jefferson

Get Them While They're Young

It occurred to me that the liberty movement really needs to target the high school populations somehow. Military recruiters solicit high school juniors and seniors very aggressively. I know because I was one.
Many young people are first exposed to libertarian ideas during college. That's too late for those who fall for the military sales pitch the first time they hear it only to regret it later.

How to market this message to high schools, great question?

This is something to explore.

kind people rock

Very true. This was the exact

Very true.

This was the exact case for me.

"War is a Racket" - Maj. General Smedley Butler


Very well done.

You have found the greatest of virtues within yourself. I hope your direction can help others do the same, Very well done. Thank you.

If I disappear from a discussion please forgive me. My 24-7 business requires me to split mid-sentence to serve them. I am not ducking out, I will be back later to catch up.

Be prepared for a possibly negative reaction

and the life consequences that may come along with it.

I certainly think that if this is what you want to do and it is morally correct for you, then go for it.

A counter-consideration is (depending on your remaining time), you could leave the service with an honorable discharge and spread the message of liberty in some fashion after you were done with a resume that gives you a great inroads to a lot of people.

I certainly don't think people should serve with doubt in their hearts (it is not fair to you or your fellow marines), but think this decision through again and again until you are sure.

Good luck my friend.

Tu ne cede malis.

Candidates for Liberty Webpage:

2016 Liberty Candidate Thread:

Go see an attorney versed in

Go see an attorney versed in military law before you submit that letter. Get your path to an honorable discharge clear first. Then if it is still important to you revise and submit your letter as you exit. Do not fall on your sword in front of a commander who may not share your enlightened view and could make trouble for you before you process out cleanly. Don't waste your 33 years with a bad reference on the way out is what I am saying. You must keep yourself strong and free first to educate and help others. Good luck!

“Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the government take care of him better take a closer look at the American Indian.” ― Henry Ford.

Very sound advice

There is no reason why he cannot collect on the personal efforts he has already put forth yet make a statement at the same time.

If I disappear from a discussion please forgive me. My 24-7 business requires me to split mid-sentence to serve them. I am not ducking out, I will be back later to catch up.

you are not alone!

Military Doctor here.

I feel exactly the same as you.

"But you are a doctor - you're not killing people - you're helping people!"

Whether I am the gun in the hand of an unprincipled aggressor or the kit on the table that keeps the gun in working condition - I am part of the problem and every bit as culpable for the immoral outcome.

Start talking with your chaplain. Lay out the case for your status as a conscientious objector. It takes a long time, but needs to be done.

Stunning. Beautiful. Touching.

I am in awe of what you are planning to do. You have great courage, wisdom, and vision. I pray that you hold onto and strengthen that courage when you face the inevitable opposition.

Congratulations on being awake. Perhaps you can awaken some of your brothers and sisters in the Marines - or at least plant the seed.


When you get out...

Learn how to grow pot and do so with a vengeance. You might not think it a good idea but our founders did, and they told us to do it. There are several reasons why this will be beneficial.
Seeds provide the most valuable super food on Earth. Look it up!
Cannabis has been and will continue to be a valuable currency.
Cannabis will be used to provide clothing to people if industry fails.
Cannabis is magnificent for making biofuel.
Cannabis is medicine and will always be one of the most effective homeopathic remedies for the body's well-being.
Cannabis can make plastics.
Cannabis can purify radioactive soil. Which will be of future concern.
Cannabis...well you read about it! The facts are there and are public record. The founders sported it; America at times mandated it; God brought it its ours. Use it!

Do you have stock in the

Do you have stock in the cannabis industry?

Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty. -Thomas Jefferson