American Morning

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November 18th, 2009
07:20 AM ET

An oath to the Constitution, not the president

By Jim Acosta

In the first two parts of our series, “Patriots or Extremists?” we looked at the growth of private militias in this country. Now we turn to a group whose founder says he doesn't need a militia. That's because his organization is recruiting its members... right out of the military and law enforcement.

Just a couple of miles off the Las Vegas strip inside a casino ballroom, dozens of men and women are taking an oath. An oath, they say, to the Constitution of the United States – not to the president.

"If we're going to watch while our country dies and think that there's nothing we can do about it, we're wrong," says Richard Mack, a former sheriff.

They call themselves the "Oath Keepers," and last month they held their first national conference.

The group's founder, Stewart Rhodes, a former Army paratrooper and staffer for Congressman Ron Paul, says his members recite a revised version of the oath that's used for enlistment in the Armed Services, but they exclude this phrase: "I will obey the orders of the President of the United States."

"Our role is not to be obedient to whoever happens to be the leader. Our role is to defend the Constitution and the republic," says Rhodes.

The Oath Keepers aren't in Las Vegas looking for gamblers. They're seeking out police officers, sheriff's deputies, military veterans, even active duty members of the Armed Forces. If you've taken an oath to protect this nation, the Oath Keepers want you.

So are the Oath Keepers a militia group? “We don't need to be. We're the military and the police," says Stewart.

The Oath Keepers call on their members to disobey any orders, as they put it, "to disarm the American people," or "to force citizens into detention camps." It's a pledge Rhodes recites in an anti-Obama DVD called: "The Fall of the Republic."

Mark Potok, who monitors extremist groups for the Southern Poverty Law Center, says the Oath Keepers are exploiting false rumors found on fringe Web sites.

"Many of the Oath Keepers are people who believe martial law is about to be imposed it is right around the corner," says Potok.

Rhodes insists his group is not anti-government and not anti-Obama.

Read Jim's follow-up to the 'Patriots or Extremists?' series

Brian McGough with the Democratic-leaning veterans group Votevets.Org worries soldiers in the Oath Keepers will pick and choose which orders to follow, disrupting the chain of command.

"All they're doing is hurting their unit. All they're doing is hurting the military and all they're doing is hurting their friends. They should really think about that."

Critics say the Oath Keepers simply vindicate this recent report from the Department of Homeland Security that warned "right-wing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans."

The DHS declined to comment for this story, but Rhodes blasted its report at the founding of the Oath Keepers earlier this year.

The group was founded at the site of the first shots fired in the American Revolution - Lexington, Massachussets.

As for those orders the Oath Keepers say they will not obey – there is no proof that the government is building detention camps around the country. And there are no proposals coming from the White House or Democratic leaders in Congress for new gun control laws. The Department of Homeland Security has no comment on the group.


Filed under: Controversy • Patriots or Extremists
soundoff (282 Responses)
  1. Michael

    I think people will start to become a little confused when they find out most of our law enforcement, military, and our civil servants who actively protect and save lives every day are 'right wing extremists.'

    But don't take my word for it, look at political polling results done among those groups.

    November 18, 2009 at 2:03 pm |
  2. carmel

    these groups of people are terrorists. they commit terrorist acts against fellow americans. need you be reminded of oklahoma city??? or the KKK? terrorism isn't only in the middle east. it is here in our own country. they spread hate and violence, just like any other terrorist group.

    November 18, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  3. Miss America

    michelle – i agree. you said it beautifully. also, thank you so much for serving and protecting americans.

    November 18, 2009 at 1:58 pm |
  4. Realist

    "All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent." Thomas Jefferson

    The lunatic fringe from the left and the right spews propaganda into our homes daily. Our country is portrayed as polarized. And to a certain extent...it is.

    If there still is a silent group of people of good conscience in this country, I suggest they remain silent. We should let the extremists (because at this point, it seems like rational thought has been forgotten) on the right and left kill each other off so that the people of good conscience can start the republic over again.

    Utopian dreamland? Probably.

    November 18, 2009 at 1:58 pm |
  5. Chris

    These groups are absolutely hypocritical. Where were they when Bush was lying to us and sending soldiers off to a war that had nothing to do with 9/11. Where were these people when Bush had Katrina survivors sitting in the Superdome with the national guard right outside keeping them in? All of a sudden a black president comes in and crazy rumors are abound about how he's going to do this and that. Has anything of that nature really happened? Have detention camps been built? Has someone come to your house and told you that you can no longer carry your guns? Stop believing the lies spread by certain individuals. Individuals that are the same ones that lead us into the Iraq with falsehoods and deception. Wake up people. As a veteran I am disgusted by anyone that would go through with this. You are basically saying that you will do what you want to do. Now if we were taking people and killing them off or sending them to detention camps for no reason, I could see the point but there is not even one sign that this is happening. Another question I have for these people is would they lay down their guns if we were taking muslims and putting them in detention camp. I bet they would be the first in line to put muslims away. Hypocrites!!!

    November 18, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  6. the truth

    Ok time to lock up these crazy people and throw away the key...these folks have some brain damage, are smoking something or perhaps a little of both.

    If these guys "cared" so much about the constitution where were these guys when the patriot act was passed?? Oh that's right they were probably republicans so they had no problem with it..but since there guy isn't in charge anymore it's the end of the world and the country as they know it. I see....

    Lock them up for being traitors and throw away the key

    November 18, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  7. Kansas Man

    I am still seeing comments that the only reason anyone could disagree with President Obama is because he is black. Please, get over it! People disagree with President Obama because of his libral views, not his ethnicity. There are plenty of black conservatives out there (my favorite being J.C. Watts) that would not catch any flack from the right. Our president is of an extremely liberal persuasion, very, very few of his critics care about any of his other charateristics. Those very few who do care about his ethinicity are a dying bread with about 6 teeth between them all!

    November 18, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  8. Realist

    "All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent." Thomas Jefferson

    The lunatic fringe from the left and the right spews propaganda into our homes daily. Our country is portrayed as polarized. And to a certain extent...it is.

    If there still is a silent group of people of good conscience in this country, I suggest they remain silent. We should let the extremists (because at this point, it seems like rational thought has been forgotten) on the right and left kill each other off and start the republic over again.

    Utopian dreamland? Probably.

    November 18, 2009 at 1:55 pm |
  9. Lynn

    Nobody negatively impacted America's image abroad more than George W. Bush did during his eight embarrassing years in office. No president in recent history has run up a deficit as large as he had. So, where were the Oath Keepers then? Where were the Oath Keepers when Dick Cheney and his henchmen were lying about Iraq and plunging our country into unnecessary war and bloodshed?

    November 18, 2009 at 1:54 pm |
  10. MSquared

    Just what America needs right now...a bunch of fanatics of our own. "Be the first on your block to have a home-grown terrorist cell next door!"

    November 18, 2009 at 1:54 pm |
  11. Ccampa

    Arent they just republicans?

    November 18, 2009 at 1:52 pm |
  12. MSquared

    Where were these douche bags at 8 years ago when then President Bush was busy sailing this country down the toilet? Probably voting for him...perhaps the worst president in our nation's history. Bunch of hypocrites.

    November 18, 2009 at 1:52 pm |
  13. Marianne

    Obama has brought this on by not proving he is an Amercan citizen. In fact his father is Arab/British/Kenyon and his mother was not old enough to give him citizeship. There will be millions of people taking the oath. I expect a revolution. Obama wants marshal law. There are s many military personel against Obama that there will be plenty of leaders. I have been reading that Obama may have lung cancer and has purple lips which means he may have poor blood ciculation. So maybe he will die with his next fainting spell, After all there is a God and I'm sure he is pretty upset at Obama. It seems god takes his time dishing out justice when he gives people free will. It will happen soon. Another thing the old guard in Congress will not get back in no matter how big their war chest is.

    I pledge alegence to the Constution of America, We the People.

    November 18, 2009 at 1:50 pm |
  14. Gary

    Since Obama has become President we've taken ownership of Banks, Insurance companies and auto companies. We tried to increase financial regulation, even CEO pay. He is trying to regulate emissions, healthcare and more. Next they will try to raise taxes. I think that we reacted with our frustration with Bush by electing Democrats and now the country is moving in the wrong direction. I will vote against Democrats at every level in the next few elections. It is the only way to wake them up. Hopefully they'll be forced out of office before they bankrupt us.

    November 18, 2009 at 1:46 pm |
  15. Robholio

    Where were these fools for the last 8 years when the Bush Administration was ignoring, omitting, or trying to amend the Consitiution to its own ends? Why don't they go by their true names: Neo-Conservative Racists.

    November 18, 2009 at 1:44 pm |
  16. Victory Gin

    Why weren't these idiots 'up in arms' when bush was sending the military to do his father's dirty work? The 'rights' they are so worried about were in jeopardy the moment Bush stole the presidency in 2000. The nimrods are about 9 years too late to make any sense.
    These are certainly not the rational, clear minded people I want protecting me. It seems like they are just another bunch of bigotted racists hiding under the guise of protecting the constitution.
    Someone get my hip boots, it's getting deep in here...

    November 18, 2009 at 1:44 pm |
  17. DTM1976

    It's not a militia. Oath Keepers aren't asking anybody to pick up arms. Read their tenets, it is a list of things that those who have taken an oath refuse to do because they are unconstitutional. In every type of professional military training and education the oath is study to make sure that everybody understands the oath they are taking. There are specific comparisons made to the oath we take and those taken by other militarys and how many oaths swear allegience to a leader. We do not. Our oath is to protect and defend the constitution, that includes the leaders of our country as long as they are acting within the framework of the constitution. Along with the information on the oath there is specific instruction on the fact that we cannot do anything illegal and that if we do, even if we're following orders we are still liable.

    Bottom line the oath is to the constitution and those that take the oath are responsible to follow that oath and not to do anything contrary to it, even under orders.

    November 18, 2009 at 1:41 pm |
  18. John

    As a 20 year veteran I took the following Oath that I will continue to stand by for as long as I live. I also believe that soldiers who support this organization or any any other like organization should be punished for openly demonstrating against the oath that they swore to uphold. "So help me God." If you want to openly protest against the democratic party than vote them out of office but don't put rebelious acts into the hearts and minds of our soldiers who already have a hard time with deployments and seperation. Our Oath of Enlistment is as follows:
    "I, AMERICAN SOLDIER, 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."

    November 18, 2009 at 1:38 pm |
  19. Mart

    In repsonse to Robert. Back when the constitution guns were more available then they are now. There were no govenring laws, had there been then maybe the Revolution would nto have happened. Also, you don't take into account the rapid population increase due to the industrial revolution so therefor there ar eless per a person.

    November 18, 2009 at 1:34 pm |
  20. WFG

    From the Constitution of the United States in regards to MILITIAS:

    Power of Congress: "To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions"

    Power of Congress: "To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress"

    Power of the Executive: "The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States"

    So, you see Russell Mollot, the creation and use of miltias are governed by the Constitution and are subordinate to the Executive and Legislative branches of the Federal Government and State Governments. Miltias have NO RIGHT to stand on their own and have NO RIGHT to decide to disobey laws and decisions made by the Executive and Legislative branches.

    November 18, 2009 at 1:30 pm |
  21. Ben

    Why didn't they do all these non-sense when Bush was in office. When we needed them the most. So much laws and the U.S. constitution were trampled upon and violated. I'm a republican and a conservative, but when I hear rants like these it gives me a pause because the devil is in the details. Confederates and KKK believed they were defending the constitution back in the day. As long as these non-sense, eventhough well intensioned doesn't lead into extremism. Obama is only in office say 4 or 8 years and he will be gone. So what becomes of this groups when we have a republican in office or better yet a white male in office, I can't wait. Behind every non-sense like this, there is always some godfathers in the background and some money to be made, follow the money and you will understand the devil in the detail.

    November 18, 2009 at 1:28 pm |
  22. Pamela

    No one in the United States pledges an oath to the President!
    Military personnel pledge to obey the orders of, but not an oath directly to the President!
    Where did these nut jobs come from? (must be leftovers from the Bush admin)
    Maybe they should leave the US if they dislike it so much!!!!

    November 18, 2009 at 1:27 pm |
  23. Jerry Blondell

    I am a United States Merchant Marine. I have taken three oaths in my life.

    First, as a child to become a Cub Scout.
    Second, as a young man to become a Merchant Marine.
    Third, as a grown man commiting my wedding vows.

    I have held all three close to my heart throughout my life with equal and unwavering reverence.

    I will defend the Constitution of the United States of America by any and all means necessary.

    Jerry Blondell
    Armada, MI

    “The power under the constitution will always be in the people. It is entrusted for certain defined purposes, and for a certain limited period, to representatives of their own choosing; and, whenever it is executed contrary to their interest, or not agreeable to their wishes, their servants can and undoubtedly will be recalled. “

    – George Washington

    “Now more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave, and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature. If the next centennial does not find us a great nation....it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces.”

    – President James Garfield

    “If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.”

    – Samuel Adams

    “When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.”

    – Thomas Jefferson

    "The ultimate authority...resides in the people alone."
    "It is proper to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. We hold this prudent jealousy to be the first duty of citizens and one of the noblest characteristics of the late Revolution.
    The freemen of America did not wait till usurped power had strengthened itself by exercise and entangled the question in precedents.
    They saw all the consequences in the principle, and they avoided the consequences by denying the principle. We revere this lesson too much ...to forget it."
    – James Madison

    "If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen."

    – Samuel Adams

    A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained in arms, is the best most natural defense of a free country.

    – James Madison

    November 18, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
  24. Jeremy FL

    donal if you new anything and ill quote "Sedition is not patriotism. Sedition is treachery and treason. In earlier times in America, seditionists and traitors who shouted out their anti-government slogans and anger were hanged" um thats what the minute men and militia were in revolutionary war read your history and for the assult rifle will kill more people no the mind behind the gun is the only danger a firearm on the ground cant hurt anyone the mind who picks up the gun is now villian or the upstanding citizen, also it was hand guns not rifles in Fort Hood. As for the racist thing
    1. minorities can be racist
    2. the Government has put people in concentration camps before Native Americans, Japanese look up how many Natives Americans and when they got there rights as U.S citizens it was long after other minorities and 10 million were here when settlers first got here in 1600 how many are left?
    3.the militia was here and accepted before the U.S was yet an idea aka French and Indian war
    4. Militias have been here since before our founding and only getting notice now to distract americans from what the government is doing
    5. the Government has lied to us before and so have the President's "I am not a criminal" if they did it once they will do it again

    November 18, 2009 at 1:23 pm |
  25. Tim Brock

    My post is not based on racism, it is based on the prsidents choices not the color of his skin. I was going to vote for him in the begginning because i wanted change too but as i listened to the real news that reported the truth i realized this guy is a bigger fool than Carter is.

    November 18, 2009 at 1:16 pm |
  26. Steve S. Utah

    I personally take comfort in the fact that we have a group of men and women in military and law enforcement positions that are willing to commit themselves to a higher authority, and take an active role in preserving freedom should it ever be at risk.

    November 18, 2009 at 1:15 pm |
  27. jim

    "The Commander-in-Chief derives his authority only from the Constitution"
    Is this that same Constitution that you are swearing to uphold? In what way are you upholding it if you are defying one of its directives by not obeying the President it has placed in command?

    November 18, 2009 at 1:14 pm |
  28. WFG

    "The Commander-in-Chief derives his authority only from the Constitution. His authority, therefore, is subordinate to that document. An educated soldier will not obey a 'rogue president'". All three branches of government – Executive, Judicial, Legislative were created under the constitution. Do you advocate that all citizens should be allowed to pick and choose which actions by these branches they want to obey? So, if a law that is passed by the Legislature, signed by the Executive and upheld as constitutional by the Judicial branch you would advocate disobeying this law simeply because you disagree? And you'd be OK if I decide to disobey any laws that I don't like even if you happen to support them? Where does it stop?

    November 18, 2009 at 1:13 pm |
  29. Steve

    So where were these guys during the Bush administration when the government was really spying on its citizens and passing the Patriot Act which allowed all sorts of infringements on the Constitutional rights of Americans? The only good answer I can come up with is that this really isn't about the Constitution, it is about the man who was duly elected under the Constitution and how much they dislike him.

    As far as disobeying unconstitutional orders, that is pretty much already covered in the oath they took to begin with. Orders to something illegal should not be followed, that is not something new. Making up what you think is legal and not legal however, will only get you court-marshaled or fired or arrested.

    November 18, 2009 at 1:10 pm |
  30. John Hobbs

    Where were these militias when Bush was using the Constitution to his and his rich buddies' advantages?

    November 18, 2009 at 1:09 pm |
  31. Tim Brock

    Why should the american people try to protect the constitution, congress is out to destroy it and Obama is out to change it. Obama is running this country like a true Kenyan

    November 18, 2009 at 1:06 pm |
  32. WFG

    "For a year, Obama has been leading this country away from the Constitution and towards socialism." Can someone explain how? I'm tired of hearing this assertion without any evidence to back it up. How come the people who make this assertion weren't equally horrified when the Bush administration pushed programs designed to spy on American citizens which is the act of a dictator.

    November 18, 2009 at 1:06 pm |
  33. John C

    A lot of postings here keep mentioning things like "changing my country"... "taking away my rights"... "going away from the constitution"... common thread among all these comments is a lack of detail. My life hasn't changed that much. I can still vote, travel betwen states without notifing the government, and even owe a gun. As for the "socialist heathcare" last time I looked the President made some suggetions and the legislative body took it up to make a law. Gee, just like it is supposed to go under the constitution. If you don't like what is going on then write your representatives, if they don't pay attention to your wishes then don't vote for them. It really is very simple. The country will be fine, some just don't like the color right now.

    November 18, 2009 at 12:57 pm |
  34. jim

    Extremists, terrorists, revolutionaries. What do you think the British called them during the Revolution. If there are no hidden agendas of gun control and internment camps then their oaths are meaningless. While I dont feel a need to join these groups, I recognize their right to do so themselves. "I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" Remember this. History is written by the victor, The only difference between a terrorist and a patriot is if their side wins in the end.

    November 18, 2009 at 12:56 pm |
  35. Joshua Payne

    Ok first Ill say I respect these folks for going for a cause they believe in but at the same time I see them as nothing more then a glorified lynch mob. Also possible rather illegal. There is a reason we haveour police force and our military. Cause generally when some folks decide to take matters into their own hands you have far more problems then solutions. I generally try to put faith into man kind but not in this instance. Oh and the whole thing about allowing a state to create its own soverignty. W.T.F thats basically saying lets let the union be destroyed if a state dosen't want to obey one law or the other they can just break away. Dosen't that sound a little like an event that caused the deaths of many Americans? Oh and im from South Carolina.. lil irony there for ya huh? Besides sometimes the military does need to take actions against citizens of its own country. It sucks but hey sometimes citizens can be ass holes.... I mean hell I guess next time there is a riot of some sort you would just have them be let alone and do whatever they want. Keep your guns and have some fun yes but don't try and take the law into your own hands. Thats why we have that whole checks and balancesd that many people seem to forget about. Oh and becides the consitution is at times up to some of your own interpretation. Like the bible or modern art or anything like that. Have your meetings and what not but remember. If your gona be in the armed forces or in any branch of protection agency one thing you are going to have to get used to is orders. You may not like the order but thats life. We do things we may not like or agree with. You took an oath when you went into the armed forces and the fact that some are so willing to break that oath shows that you can't be trusted to do your duties and what not.

    November 18, 2009 at 12:55 pm |
  36. Henry Arking

    The so-called "Oath Keepers" seem to think that taking an oath to defend the Constitution once is not good enough – but that your oath needs to be born again, as it were, through them. What rubbish! These anti-government, anti-civil society private militia lunatics probably think the movie "Red Dawn" was a documentary – or at least they wish it was!. I am already absolutely clear about the meaning of the oath I took to defend tjhe Constitution, but if I ever had any questions about it, I sure as heck wouldn't ask these nutjobs!

    November 18, 2009 at 12:54 pm |
  37. Pete

    Michelle,

    "If the man suggests that perhaps we put some controls and checkpoints in place for people who want to buy assault rifles (you know, like the one used to kill and injure so many of our brothers and sisters in uniform at Fort Hood), instead of letting every nutbag stroll in off the street and arm himself to the teeth without any restraint, then I don't see a problem with that!"

    The shooter at Ft. Hood *did not* use a "assault rifle", even the gun ignorant media got this correct when they reported he used two handguns.

    I would strongly urge you to learn something about guns before you make sweeping statements about controlling something you clearly know nothing about.

    Enroll in a concealed handgun license class if your state has such a thing, even if you don't ever intend to buy a gun, the class will teach you quite a bit including the truth about guns so you are not blinded by the voluminous propaganda that is bandied about.

    November 18, 2009 at 12:52 pm |
  38. John

    i'm really really tired of all these right-wing groups. please just calm down, no one is out to get you, i promise.

    November 18, 2009 at 12:49 pm |
  39. james

    Let me ask you whats scarier People who want to help, save, and take care of our country or a Leader who calls Fox news, people who disagree with his National Health Care in town hall meetings, or people that have tea parties un-American, goes to Russia and promises to stop the missile defense shield in Europe without anything in return?

    To me its obvious, its the leader. The Saturday Night Live sketch on him was brilliant and the truth. He has not done anything to help improve our country, in fact its worse then it was. He has bankrupt our country with this "Bailout" for the banks when he should have given the money to us the citizens. This guy talks more junk on stuff he can not back up then anyone ever could. Remeber when he was un Europe "campaigning" what the hell was that? To me that was un-American.

    This is what happens when you vote an inexperienced senator as President. Even McCain would have been better, he has experience, has military experience and has proven himself as a leader.

    Lets pray 2012 comes fast so we can vote his ass out or at least it will be the end of the world.

    November 18, 2009 at 12:46 pm |
  40. kathjw

    Wth the Marxist president we have and his crime orginazation in the White House with him racing to control absolutely everything and everyone in America I applaud the Oath Keepers and suppport them fully. With Obama spouting his crap of a civilian army at his beck and call the people in this country that are not communist need someone of their side when the government takes us kickin and screaming out of our homes and into the "camp". I dont them many Americans see how close we are to total collapse of this economy and the nation as it has it been for over 200 years. I cant imagine what else peoples sitting on their butts on their couches staring into space need to get up and work to save this Republic. The progressives in the government and big business have been working very patiently for this take over since the early 1900's. We have just kept electing them to office because we were to lazy to watch what they were doing. God Bless the Oath Keepers.

    November 18, 2009 at 12:46 pm |
  41. David D

    So far this administration has worked to empower illegal aliens and socialists and done nothing to protect the constiution and the rights that it gives the legal individual citizen. All we will hear is excuses and blame and not actual accountability for this administration. Why else would the continually play the blame card and want to cloud the future with the past on these legally shaky boondoggles? Because they can't tout their own successes because there are no successes to date. One year of your precious vote has been wasted and there, again is nothing of note on the horizon that will get done for this country. So far this President has done nothing but vacation all over the world at our expense and gotten some great photos. Thank goodness the Obama administration will be gone after one term because the American people wanted change and that is what they got, in pennies and nickels... change.

    November 18, 2009 at 12:43 pm |
  42. Brian

    Those that turn their guns into plow shares will plow for those that do not. – Thomas Jefferson

    I support the Constitution. I served in the military. I believe in the American dream. If you do not like it here, I invite you to leave for the country of your choice. If not, may I suggest Afghanistan or, maybe Somalia.
    I'm not an "Oath Taker", but, when our school system no longer requires children to say The Pledge of Allegiance, there is a very serious problem HERE. That, in and of itself, would make it very easy for me to become an "Oath Taker."

    November 18, 2009 at 12:42 pm |
  43. PA-Pilot

    Every member of the military and police has an absolute duty to disobey orders that are in direct contravention of the Constitution. These are known as "illegal orders." An order to go door to door to disarm the citizens would be an illegal order. An order to kidnap Americans and put them into detention camps would be an illegal order.

    Not without having first sworn out a complaint and presenting evidence that probable cause exists, shall a warrant be issued for the detention of an American Citizen. Then and only then can an American be deprived of Liberty by the State. The rights enumerated in the constitution cannot be usurped by the federal government or any other.

    November 18, 2009 at 12:40 pm |
  44. CNNbadPRSpin

    Where to begin? First, I am not an "oath keeper" or "tea party member". I am someone who supported President Obama during the election however I do understand where these groups are coming from and think they have very valid points that should be discussed. CNN however isn't covering the story but instead are spinning it.

    The spin is done by softly linking oath keepers to militia members and the lunatic fringe. Listen carefully to the language used in the report. Second it is spun by trying to make this a partisan issue event the degree of distancing our president from the past administration while the current administration is adding to and worsening the mistakes made by the Bush admin. While the current administration is getting the heat (they always do) I don't think the issue with this groups is about political party so please don't link it to that. Bush started the bailout and Pres. Obama is continuing it albeit called stimulus.

    Next, the reporter and Mark Potok make statements as though they are undisputed facts. Example, "absolutely not evidence of martial law being considered". In fact martial law was threatened during the first TARP debate in order to push the bill through. See the quote from Rep. Brad Sherman – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDcWa8fOlzs. There are several other reasonable cases that make the topic at least arguable as to whether or not our government would enact martial law.

    During the live broadcast of this piece the reporter mentioned that there is no evidence that the government is trying to take away rights. Not true, we need only reference the Patriot Act and Home Land Security Act to see the many of the most basic rights have been compromised. At the very least the point is very arguable and the counter point should NOT be stated as definitive fact.

    There is so much more wrong with this piece and not enough space to get into here.

    What is really missing from this type of report is the real motivator behind these groups. Among their foundational arguments is that the real problem isn't Democrats or Republicans (although certain Republicans are trying to claim ownership of these groups) however instead the roots our countries problem can be found in Central Banking (the Federal Reserve, IMF and World Bank). All the important policy making that truly effects our loss of freedom is coming from there. Everything else is just a mere distraction of smokde and mirrors. Again whether you agree or not, the body of these view points are at least arguable and should be addressed without such blatant PR spin as seen CNN, FOX, ABC, CBS, MSNBC, CNBC and NBC have been doing lately. This why the latest PEW study sites 63% of people feel the media gets it wrong http://people-press.org/report/543/

    CNN, please be better than who your are. America need better right now.

    November 18, 2009 at 12:40 pm |
  45. DAL

    The only thing this piece does is place conjecture upon conjecture. Why is supporting the Constitution a bad thing? Have the Oath Keepers DONE anything wrong?

    Also note that the Enlisted Oath and the Officer Oath are DIFFERENT. Officer's are only required to defend the Constitution and NOT the President. Way to spin it CNN. And you wonder why you're at the bottom of ratings? You know we in the military call you guys the Cryptologic News Network because not even 10 minutes after you posted a story it was 'sanitized' to meet the political correctness of whichever administration was in office. You might want to wipe that brown off your nose.

    November 18, 2009 at 12:36 pm |
  46. Richard McCarthy

    Where were the "Oathkeepers" when George Bush and Dick Cheney were in office and trampling all over the Constitution? These people have selective memory when it comes to recent history. Law and order for them is whatever's convenient and aligns with their distorted view of reality...

    November 18, 2009 at 12:36 pm |
  47. C Newlin

    These people are creepy.
    They somehow got hold of my email and put me on their mailing list without my permission. Since I'm an Obama supporter and supporter of gun control, I can't imagine why they thought I would be sympathetic to their "cause".

    November 18, 2009 at 12:35 pm |
  48. MB

    Okay it funny how these groups are popping up because where were they when Bush was in office? When Wall Street was stealing people money? Where were they when we invaded a country for now good reason? Yes, I said that because I was a soldier over there. All I can say is Stupid is as Stupid does, people like this guy pray on the stupid that follow people because they just want to be part of a group. What is so funny is we the people run this country; it is our decision that we put people in D.C to represent us. Therefore, if you do not like the way the country running, first start with Congress and Senate. Because no one is secured in there, if they are not looking out for you best interest then you need to make a change. I know many people do not like President Obama because of his skin color. Give over because next we will have a woman. So stop your crying and complaining!!!! Because if you’re not part of the solution, then you’re part of the problem.

    November 18, 2009 at 12:32 pm |
  49. Dave

    Patriotism is like love; too much of it can blind you from the reality and rationality. To me, Patriotic = good and Over-Patriotic = Extremist
    One thing for sure, TODAY, I see militia as people with one-sided view with no sense of diplomacy (violence is the answer to everything, with these groups) .

    Paranoia is the fuel that keeps the militia in motion, period!

    November 18, 2009 at 12:30 pm |
  50. Mitch Lloyd

    I know these individuals have the best intentions in mind. However the execution seems weak and needlessly disruptive at best. The premise of there "cause" is steeped in rumor and suspution, most of which is not factual in any respect. My only question: Where were the "Oath Keepers" for the last nine years?

    It seems that the spirit of democracy is lost. The only way to make change is to fully participate in the system, not disrupt the safety of others.

    November 18, 2009 at 12:24 pm |
  51. WWP

    So are the Oath Keepers a militia group? “We don't need to be. We're the military and the police," says Stewart.

    That is the scariest thing I have read in a month, or more.

    All silliness, US armed forces swear to follow the President because he is Commander in Chief. President swears to uphold the Constitution. Citizens might swear allegiance to the flag. Most politicians swear to uphold the Constitution. There is a reason the US military must be controlled by civilians and good another reason it is illegal to use regular military in domestic situations. I am sure the people in the article are well meaning but they are as irrelevant as the "border patrol milita" whom had their 15 minutes of fame and have not been heard from since.

    November 18, 2009 at 12:22 pm |
  52. Stephen Leiby

    The President even has to take an Oath to support the Constitution, if his orders as the Commander in Chief opposes the Constitution ; he and his followers have commited treason..

    November 18, 2009 at 12:21 pm |
  53. Stephanie

    I don't think it can be called Patriotism when the key element of their reason for being is something as small as having an African American president. If that's all it takes to trigger this group, then I'd say that's going to the extreme. They are recruiting people trained for warfare, people who think they're above the law..
    I'm all for patriotism, but this group scares me... They're building an army right here in our heartland against our commander and chief, based on untruths, misinformation, and their own fear and prejudice... Thats not patriotism.
    One more question... What is the ratio of whites vs "other" (African American, Asian, Hispanic... you get the idea) in this extremist group??

    November 18, 2009 at 12:20 pm |
  54. Matt

    I am neutral on the role of the Oath Keepers. Until they do something illegal, then watch, but don't criticize. What burns me, is seeing the statement from Homeland Security again. I still cannot believe that they would stoop to the level of attempting to classify anyone that doesn't support the Democratic party as a domestic terrorist. If you are a combat veteran of Iraq or Afghanistan, if you vote for third party candidates, if you vote Republican then you are being scrutinized. Really makes you appreciate the time you spent deployed to come home to Homeland Security scrutinizing you as a possible terrorist.

    November 18, 2009 at 12:19 pm |
  55. Cheryl Marshall

    It is about time Americans woke up. I would like to join – how do you sign up. This is very exciting to me. The constitution is what this country is built on not a leader. Leaders come and go – but my children and their children would like to continue to be blessed by the freedoms we do have that are not corrupt but whole. If we did what we already know – there would be no questions.

    November 18, 2009 at 12:17 pm |
  56. Tony

    What next, disband Congress when the health care bill passes? On no, clearly this is outside the framework of the constitution and not what the founding fathers wanted. Are they really forgetting that the President takes an oath to uphold the Constitution too? Is it because he is not conservative and doing everything they do not want? Or, is the real anger about him being African American?

    November 18, 2009 at 12:16 pm |
  57. jim Tolman

    It’s amazing how complacent and/or ignorant most Americans are when it comes to the Constitution. The language in the Constitution was clearly written to prevent the government from getting to big and powerful and no longer be run by the people but by a select corrupt few. Our government is slowly eroding away the check and balances that are suppose to be in place. If and when the government becomes so corrupt and starts creating its own laws the constitution is clear, The people are to remove that government.
    The media is seems to be quick to put an evil label on a militia group but says nothing against truly anti American groups like the ACLU which are tearing away our freedoms everyday. Which is why the media in general, has been loosing the respect of the people.
    Sure there are some extremist groups that call themselves a militia and they will have a completely different agenda than standing up for the Constitution. These groups are the ones that gives the title “militia” a bad name.
    This is where the Media is supposed to be the watch dog, not the government. Articles like this one are good and needed. It lets the public know what the group is about as well letting a group know that their actions are being watched.
    But unfortunately this article is not the norm for what is reported in the main stream media and it seems that true investigative journalism is dying out and has been taken over by lazy, bias or the story was quickly written to beat a dead line then never followed up on.

    November 18, 2009 at 12:14 pm |
  58. J. A.

    I don't know if any of you realize it, but there is a precedent of the government confiscating guns in this country. During the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, cops and National Guard went door to door in high-and-dry areas of New Orleans and did just that. The people whose guns were essentially stolen by the government were not hoodlums running the streets or looting. These were people sitting in their own homes, minding their own business.

    Also, in regards to the possibility of martial law, it was announced last year by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now that the Army intended to deploy around 20000 soldiers within U.S. borders under the new NORTHCOM, starting 2008 Oct 1. Another several thousand have been requested since then. While this fact, in and of itself, does not suggest impending martial law, the concern stems not just from that but from the creeping militarization of our police forces over the past decade or so, as well as the increasing incidence of police brutality over the past few years. Again, there is no definite sign of impending martial law, but these events, in addition to scaremongering over the H1N1, with the President announcing a state of emergency over it a few weeks ago, certainly has me worried.

    November 18, 2009 at 12:14 pm |
  59. Craig

    Robert wrote "I'd support gun ownership if there were only as many guns and gun makers in the US as there were then and not now"

    That sir is a ridiculous notion. It's not the number of guns. It's the % of the population with guns and back in early America EVERY house had a gun. Every single one. There is nowhere close to that % today. So yes by comparison today we have less people armed.

    "The constitutions of most of our States assert that all power is inherent in the people; that... it is their right and duty to be at all times armed."
    –Thomas Jefferson to John Cartwright, 1824.

    I am not part of one of these militia's because "organized" groups of people are subject to agendas and personal whims. That is not to say however that they are not right.

    November 18, 2009 at 12:13 pm |
  60. Steven in Dallas

    >> Personally i think everyone who owns a gun should have a psychological test in order to own one. There are some crazy people out there

    Good idea. And on that note, I think that everyone who exercises free speech should have a psychological test in order to talk. After all, there are some crazy people out there...

    Point being, you think you can pick and choose which articles in the Bill of Rights are sacred and which aren't? If the second amendment falls, then none of the others are safe from what ever mechanism was used.

    November 18, 2009 at 12:13 pm |
  61. Wendy

    I love the left side of the debate here...you feel that whether we like it or not, Obama is our President and you are correct. I swore and oath to obey the orders of the President, regardless of who fills that office, and I will faithfully uphold that oath.

    Unlike you on the left, who from 2000 – 2008 emphatically stated that GWB was not "your" president and you were outspoken about it and out spoken about America. There is no need to deny this because there are countless videos, blogs and emails that are all permanently a part of the world wide web to back up this claim....NOW, 2008 to present, you expect what you did not give for 8 years and you expect it without question.

    If you want cooperation, you need to be cooperative. You cannot force your will upon anyone. The British learned that about America a few hundred years ago.

    Me...a registered independent...will still uphold my oath, regardless of my personal opinion of anyone who happens to be the President for the next 4 (or more) years.

    November 18, 2009 at 12:10 pm |
  62. Stephanie

    If these people are "extremists" then our founders were "extremists" also, and so were all of our ancestors who gave their lives for this frightening thing called freedom. How could freedom and those who defend it be more frightening than terrorists who want to blow you to pieces or saw your head off? Wow, some of you people really only need a light rinse on occasion to keep your butts in line. Talk about conspiracy theories. I could only hope and pray that IF and WHEN the s___ hits the fan, people like the oath keepers are here to defend our right to our Constitution and BOR. These are normal men and women with the training, the will, the knowledge and the conscience to defend us. They aren't out to destroy or kill anything or anyone. They are taking an oath in a climate that leaves our future as a free nation in question.

    If you don't think groups like this have cause to come together, you are NOT paying attention. Incrementalism is socialism's best friend. CNN and ABC loyalists should all consider themselves grossly uninformed. There is some really scary, factual news out there for the grabbing. Ignorance is no excuse. Neither is laziness when it comes to finding out what words mean (look up fascism). The truth is staring all of us in the face, some "news" outlets ignore it completely. Bail outs. Nationalization. We're broke. Fraud is running rampant. China owns us. There are no jobs. Only half of us pay taxes (support the nation and the world) and the other half thinks they deserve more. Copenhagen Treaty. Cap & Trade. Some bill they called Healthcare, which is clearly not about healthcare. Getting us used to rationing care early, with more government task forces making recommendations that endanger lives to save costs.

    How much does America think the taxpayers can take?

    November 18, 2009 at 12:08 pm |
  63. Dick

    Jim says,
    "And there are no proposals coming from the White House or Democratic leaders in Congress for new gun control laws"

    Please read S45 and tell me there is no plan to take away our guns.

    November 18, 2009 at 12:06 pm |
  64. Chris

    The left wing nuts are trying to display people defending their country as extremist racists. That can't be further from the truth. People across the country are seeing their country, rights, and liberty taken from them by the power hungry people in D.C. and they want to do something about it. We voted them in to do a job. That job was to defend the constitution. Instead these people tear down the constitution by voting in unconstitutional laws that strip our liberty, rights and freedom all in the name of a crisis.

    When your liberty is all gone, you only have one person to blame, yourself for not doing anything about it. WAKE UP AMERICA. Don't you see these people have an agenda to grasp more power and liberty from YOU, the american people. They sneak in like a thief in the night and steal what is most precious from you as you are blinded by their smooth words. Well, their words are laced with poison.

    When all your liberty is gone, then... you will wish you would have done something about it. But then, it will be too late. And you will reap the rewards of your laziness.

    November 18, 2009 at 12:06 pm |
  65. Angus

    Its remarkable to me that so many on here are horrified that fellow citizens would take an oath to the Constitution of the United States. We ALL should do so! The government derives its powers from the consent of the governed, so why should we give up that power? By blindly following leaders who would distort the Constitution we would do so. These folks are merely following the Constitution..no harm in that.

    November 18, 2009 at 12:06 pm |
  66. shawn

    I am a Canadian Citizen. I have read the posts relating to this article and am interested in this subject. I am curious, who do you think runs your country? The government, or the citizens that elect that government? A government of the people, by the people, for the people? Is that familiar? Doesnt that mean that YOU are in charge of the government? Yes they have power but isn't that power supposed to be wielded through the discretion of the citizens? If the government works for YOU then doesnt your Constitution say that it is the duty, obligation, of the people to remove that government? But by what means? A bullet? That doesnt seem very democratic. I think it implies removal by vote or impeachment. Is it possible that your founding fathers wanted you to have guns so that your new-found independence from the British would be reinforced and maintained by the people because the armed forces at the time were not in sufficient number to protect the American continent by itself? The terrorist Muslims feel that citizens of the U.S. are fair "military targets". Do you know why this is? Because they feel that the government is "by the people, of the people, for the people" thereby making no distinction between Joe Taxpayer and any Executive Orders that result in the death of any non American citizens anywhere in the world. The Oath Keepers mentioned detention camps. Is it possible they are for the illegal immigrants that are in your country and not for the actual citizens? Im sure Constitutional protection doesn't apply to illegals. Wow. You guys have a black president? I wasn't sure. I just thought he was an AMERICAN that loves his country enough to risk his life and that of his family knowing some cracker may vote him out from 500 yards. By the way, you can fix your healthcare and still be capitalist. Elite few profit from your current system but thousands of people a month declare bankruptcy due to medical bills. Not cool.
    That is not "for the people" it is "for some people". What your country has accomplished since Confederation is amazing. But realize that not every country wants to move at your pace to install democracy...particularly if it means bloody civil war. Patience is a virtue. When other countries come around let them remember who supported them...not who bullied them. 'Nuff said.

    November 18, 2009 at 12:03 pm |
  67. Jared

    Robert... Your logic is flawed. The percentage of gun owners in the time period of our founding fathers was more than double what it is now... The only reason there are more guns is because the population has grown. Also I would like to know where a kid can get a gun for $25. You are clearly a Liberal with no knowledge on this issue what so ever. Ammo in most instances cost $25. The average STREET price of a hand gun is over $500.

    November 18, 2009 at 12:03 pm |
  68. shellyc

    Have any of you good people read any of the "executive orders" that have been passed? Did you know that in some of the recent laws passed regarding H1N1 that you can be detainted and your property seized? Those are the things that few people know and that cause these kinds of groups to form. There is the potential for such things to happen in this country.

    November 18, 2009 at 12:02 pm |
  69. Average Joe

    Why should we defend the Constitution? What if the Founders were wrong? The remarkable thing about that document is that it can be changed, not that the Founders had it right the first time. I remind you that the Bill of Rights was a set of amendments. None of those things were in the original. If you are going to take an oath, swear allegiance to ethical principles, not a 200 year old document that wasn't perfect the first time and is still imperfect.

    November 18, 2009 at 12:01 pm |
  70. emma

    If the group is not banned military can be members but may not be able to take part in activities. Also, if you are basing your opinion on this article alone the you don't have the full story. Think a moment it says only to disobay those orders that improsen, or rende citizens defensless. In truth thats what the constitution says. The military is not required to follow "unlawfule orders" in fact they can get in trouble for them. The military and polices job is to protect and defend no diffrent than this group. As of yet they have not perfomed/benn connected to any vilont act and if policy is correct condem those acts. They are a group of militia (which is legal and supported in the constitution) who are here to support the constetution regardless of the president. They sond like conservative to me, which is fine. There is a lot going on that is under debat not just in the presidency that many people don't agree with. It sound more like the group is trying to raise awarness that the government is not just the president but the whole population of the U.S. unfortunatly they seam like they are riding the ine line between a very outspoke group and an exstrimest group. I thingk calling them exstremest may be a little radical at this point but they are defenatly noteworthy. you never know even if you disagree with them you may learn something

    November 18, 2009 at 12:00 pm |
  71. john

    I will tell you right now that this group is not dumb, racist, extremist, or any other of the words used to describe us. I am a young guy with a masters degree, well traveled and have alot of ethnic friends. I am worried about where this country is headed and the absolute power of gov't over myself and my family. I was proud to take the oath keepers oath and I will not follow any orders to disarm my fellow countryman! Be careful what you say b/c we might be the ones defending YOU one day!

    November 18, 2009 at 11:59 am |
  72. VB Lincoln Park NJ

    This so-called defense of the Constitution group is just the latest EVOLUTION of the KKK, Neo-Nazis, et al.

    November 18, 2009 at 11:59 am |
  73. Neato NCO

    It always amazes me how wound around owning firearms certain people are. Trying to solve all of your issues with guns and paramilitary organizations is to do nothing but invite woe to your doorstep. These groups should be analyzed and reacted to on an individual basis, but I would concur that this one is especially dangerous. Openly recruiting and advertising your membership of police military and other civil and federal workers seems a scene right out of a conspiricy novel. Military members involved in this group should reconsider their choices.

    And also wearing non military badges, patches and identification is out of regulations. If I saw my soldier wearing that I would have some serious questions about his loyality and decision making ability. It is interesting to note that this group designed its logo to look like a special forces band.

    November 18, 2009 at 11:59 am |
  74. Citizen

    When liberal folks disagree with something the government is doing, they protest it peacefully and run awareness campaigns.

    When conservatives disagree with the government, they form militias and blow stuff up.

    They are the military arm of the Republicans like what the IRA is to Sinn Fein.

    November 18, 2009 at 11:56 am |
  75. R. Staton

    I think these are dangerous exstremists. I wish the goverment would take their guns and all guns away (except police and military) and repeal the 2nd amendment. I know this won't happen but in a perfect word it would be nice. I think any military person who takes this oath should be court martialed. As far as the guy who thinks he has to carry a gun to his mailbox, what is he afraid of? Letter Bombs? I will never carry or use a gun and I feel pretty safe here in Arizona, although there are a lot of gun nuts here.

    November 18, 2009 at 11:56 am |
  76. Real Soldier

    I saw these clowns. A lot of skinhead white supremacists along with a bunch of angry, unemployed, wanna be Rambo loser white men.

    Not a person of color (Latino, Afro-American, Asian, etc..) among them.

    Does any REAL law enforcement official want to be associated with white supremacist hate mongering groups like this one?

    November 18, 2009 at 11:55 am |
  77. Bored

    Children...all.....you are boring. Grow up and become an adult. Stop playing soldier like you did when you were ten years old. iS YOUR LIFE THAT DULL THAT YOU HAVE TIME FOR SUCH IDIOCY? If you want to do something good go volunteer for a credible organization. You make me ill.

    November 18, 2009 at 11:49 am |
  78. Harry J

    "When the people fear government, there's tyranny. When government fear's the people, there is liberty" Thomas Jefferson.

    While we did not make this statement, many of us truly believe that it clearly represents our feelings about our present government's actions. It is moving in an unsettling direction, is too dictating, too intrustive and polarizing. Our Federal Government is becoming too big and we are fearfull.

    In the theory of thirds, there are 1/3 for, 1/3 against and 1/3 that do not have an opinion. When there is 1/ 2 for and 1/2 against it is polarizing and makes us fearfull. We are approacing that point with political parties (Dem/Rep), Taxes (those who pay and those who don't). It is very unsettling.

    If we are labeled a patriotic gorup, then we wear a badge of honor and it is true, just like Thomas Jefferson and our other founding fathers.

    November 18, 2009 at 11:48 am |
  79. WA. Seattle

    Look at the video. I saw only white members. This wasn't done under Bush but it should have been. This is just racism once again rearing it's ugly head. If our President was white this wouldn't be an issue. Our country has taken the right to bear arms way out of control. You just have to read the news to see what is happening in our country. Gun attack after gun attack. We have the military, the citizens of this country do not need to be armed to the extent that we are seeing everyday in the news. I really do not see an attack happening on US soil in the near future. People pledging to not obey the President of the United States! Come on!

    November 18, 2009 at 11:48 am |
  80. Left Behind

    @ the Oathkeepers... My father, a retired police chief and current federal firearms dealer, says you're all a bunch of nut cases, and they should do a comedy reality show about you. Open your eyes a little wider so you can see past the redness of hate within them. White supremacy advocates, hate mongers and anarchists alike will probably flock to your side. Honest, hard working, compassionately patriotic Americans will shun you.

    While I don't support "redistribution of wealth", I DO support a government control on wages and compensation so that a more prosperous nation evolves from the sweat and tears of those who support it the most.

    Detention camps? Hate to break it to you, but they already exist in the form of tent camps for the homeless, which are popping up in cities on a DAILY basis. And they exist BECAUSE of people like the Oathkeepers, who think that only a few people with higher education and the ability to oppress others should be allowed the luxury of an income that provides the basic necessities for existence.

    Why are so many people homeless? The facts are pretty obvious. At current minimum wage, a single person who works 40 hours a week takes home just under $200 after taxes, and must make the choice between a roof over their head or food to eat. Why? Because the cost of a small studio apartment with utilities averages $750 a month, leaving nothing to buy food.

    I hope God comes back soon. You're all going to get a rude awakening. Those of you who know it's coming and are preparing the RIGHT way, good for you. Those of you who think guns and bullets will protect you then.... HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Better learn to turn a spadeful of dirt, and do it soon, 'cause we're not going to feed you while you're holed up in your lead-lined bunkers waiting for the nukes that never come.

    November 18, 2009 at 11:44 am |
  81. I.W.

    Any member of the armed forces or law enforcement who takes this oath to disobey orders should be discharged or fired immediately for insubordination. By that very constitution they are supposedly swearing to uphold, the President is the head of the executive branch, which means, if they are upholding the constitution, they obey his orders. One cannot competently act as law enforcement while a member of this group.

    Their very basis perverts the constitution. Maybe they should read it before "swearing to uphold it." If they do not like following the orders of the head of the executive branch of government, then they shouldn't be in it.

    November 18, 2009 at 11:38 am |
  82. FormerParatrooper

    What the Oath Keepers are missing most is basic literacy. There's no need to modify the oath. "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."

    The regulations and the UCMJ already include rules that allow (and require) a soldier to oppose patently unlawful orders.

    November 18, 2009 at 11:38 am |
  83. Justin

    When the president is part of your preferred political party it is your duty to unquestioningly support him.

    However, when the president belongs to a rival party it is your DUTY to question EVERYTHING he does.

    Or at least that's the way the Republicans work. They constantly chastised the left when there was any dissent regarding the war or terrorism. They would claim it is our duty as Americans to offer our unwavering support to our president during wartime.

    Now that Obama is president, the Republicans did a 180 and now they claim it is our duty as Americans to question everything the president does. Because he's clearly a dirty, filthy, Muslim, communist, terrorist who's out to crush the US and her ideals as we know it and turn the US into a socialist regime.

    Ridiculous as this sounds, a large portion of conservatives earnestly believe this garbage.

    November 18, 2009 at 11:38 am |
  84. Donal

    I can't believe what is happening here. These people are delusional. The President is the Commander-in-Chief as mandated in the Constitution. These people are traitors in the true sense of the word; to uphold the Constitution means upholding the President. There are plenty of checks and balances to ensure the Presidential power can not be used adversely against the United States and the American people. These "oath keepers", average people not constitutional scholars, actually believe they are smarter than all the institutions that already protect America's constitutional interests; the U.S military, police forces, the Secret Service, FBI, CIA , the Justice Department, Homeland Security et al? These people are mouthing seditious words. Sedition is not patriotism. Sedition is treachery and treason. In earlier times in America, seditionists and traitors who shouted out their anti-government slogans and anger were hanged. Let's try these traitors for sedition and see what the Court decides.

    November 18, 2009 at 11:36 am |
  85. Bruce Baran

    This is nothing more than another right-wing extremist movement with an anti-government, conspiracy-oriented ideology, frightfully familiar to earlier extremist groups such as the militia movement, survivalist and white supremacist groups. They spout the same old tired and idiotic rhetoric consisting in part of a one world order, imminent gun confiscation, an illegitimate government which replaced a legitimate government, along with the construction of large numbers of concentration camps in which to place American dissenters, and the self described right to “take back” the government. The rise and fall of these types of extremist groups has been linked directly to increases in unemployment and the lack of education among their members. Similar events in Germany, with increases of violence against foreigners has been linked to the same rise in unemployment as the major cause of the occurrence of right-wing crime, and the increase of extremist groups in Germany prior to the rise of power of the Nazis has also been linked to the same increase in unemployment and lack of education among its members. This is an interactive process, and it requires not only psychopathic people who are ready to lay violent hands on others (Who need not necessarily be similarly unemployed), but also those who harbor hatred against foreigners and minorities (I would suspect they loathe the very idea of an African –American president) and also against those of us whom they deem, fail to enforce their twisted version of acceptable social norms, i.e. violence against foreigners and minorities.

    November 18, 2009 at 11:35 am |
  86. Dave in Virginia

    Extremism, wheather it be the ultra conservative or the ultra liberal segment of this society, will be the undoing of this country. We as a Nation are becoming what we hate the most. We are having extreme intolerance (Racial and Religious) pushed at us from ALL sides.
    The Radical Extremists that we are at "WAR" with are are winning, we are becoming more like them and thinking more like them everyday.
    We have only loathing and distrust for anyone who does not believe exactly what we believe. I fear for our society. I don't know if we will ever return to being the shining example of Freedom and Prosperity that the rest of the world aspired to be once. I hope so, for my kids sake.

    November 18, 2009 at 11:35 am |
  87. Auctoritas Caritatis

    I find it exceedingly amusing that groups like this flourish now that someone they don't agree with holds the excessive power the Republicans gave to the Executive branch. I find it even more amusing that we heard not hide nor tail of these groups as our civil liberties were infringed on during the fear-driven legislation rush during the Bush administration.

    How suddenly, the cry of "Deficits don't matter" rings hollow when their party doesn't control the government. How suddenly the civil liberties stripped away during their reign seem to matter when they don't trust the one wielding the abuses of the Bush administration. How suddenly they know the fear we felt as we watched the Republican party advance away from the America we know. Did they think that what they wrought would disappear overnight?

    No. Instead they continue the same fear mongering that they relied on. Only this time, their words ring even more hollow as they create causes to rally against that have no foundation in the reality of our State. They claim to be patriots and go by many names, but the truth is that their name is Granfalloon.

    November 18, 2009 at 11:34 am |
  88. Patriot

    I am a patriot first and foremost. I agree that our rights as citizens to keep and bear arms "shall not be infringed". I oppose anyone who attempts to take our rights away. I applaud the oath keepers and I too shall join their ranks. It's the liberals who have degraded our great nation from what the founding fathers had intended.

    Was George Washingington , Abe Lincoln, et al. extremists ?

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton just announced the Obama Administration would be working hand in glove with the UN to pass a new “Small Arms Treaty.”

    Disguised as legislation to help in the fight against “terrorism,” “insurgency” and “international crime syndicates,” the UN Small Arms Treaty is nothing more than a massive, GLOBAL gun control scheme.

    Ultimately, the UN’s Small Arms Treaty is designed to register, ban and CONFISCATE firearms owned by private citizens like YOU.

    If passed by the UN and ratified by the U.S. Senate, the UN “Small Arms Treaty” would almost certainly FORCE national governments to:

    *** Enact tougher licensing requirements, making law-abiding citizens cut through even more bureaucratic red tape just to own a firearm legally;

    *** CONFISCATE and DESTROY ALL “unauthorized” civilian firearms (all firearms owned by the government are excluded, of course);

    *** BAN the trade, sale and private ownership of ALL semi-automatic weapons;

    *** Create an INTERNATIONAL gun registry, setting the stage for full-scale gun CONFISCATION.

    I urge evey american patriot to go here and join;

    nationalgunrights.org

    Don't think another cilvil war can't happen , pray that it won't be necessary.

    In closing I have but 1 thing to say;

    You can have my gun when you pry it from my cold dead fingers.

    November 18, 2009 at 11:30 am |
  89. Andrew

    The main event behind the Oath Keepers and their standing have centered around Katrina, not President Obama. In that period of time, the people of New Orleans were disarmed, placed in, forced to stay in camps (a la the Superdome), and prevented from leaving. A number of military and law enforcement personnel came back from raiding homes in flooded New Orleans, detaining civilian, disarming them, and them herding them against their will said that they were unprepared to face that situation.

    Suddenly, there were sliding down the slope towards military policing more easily then they expected- and this unsettled them. The Oath Keepers were formed as an eduactional and fraternal organization- when faced with the wrong order in the wrong scenario, knowing that you have people who will turn down that order (properly) helps keep the fortitutde of an individual in a bad situation. Likewise, the members are people who have "Been there, done that"- a feat much of the people you meet every day cannot (or will not) understand. If doctors formed a group to reaffirm their oaths to do no harm, who would care?

    Please note the Army officer oath of office: "
    I (insert name), having been appointed a (insert rank) in the U.S. Army under the conditions indicated in this document, do accept such appointment and 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; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter, so help me God."

    My issue with the article is this- it is based on the Oath Keepers having an organizatinal oath that excludes allegiance to the President of the United States as if its included in the oath already taken- it is not true in all cases. As far as I'm concerned, this organization should be an organization of officers, the people who actually recieve the orders (at some point give them to the enlisted members for execution) and are ultimately responsible for everyone's actions.

    Also, please note that the Constitution, as the basis of our society, should be properly capitolized as a respected proper word, and that President Obama should be a full term, not just "Obama" or "Bush"- eight years of rampant disrespect being the "in" thing have degraded a respected position.

    November 18, 2009 at 11:28 am |
  90. Retired NCO

    These people shred the very Constitution they claim to defend. The Constitution empowers the President, who has been elected and chosen BY The People Of The United States Of America. Any US Service Member who signs such a document of disobedience to The President (and the officers appointed by him) should face a Military Court Martial.

    November 18, 2009 at 11:26 am |
  91. Stephen Leiby

    Based on Jim Acosta's report of Oath Keepers was the first paragraph written ; when in reality they accept anyone that will take the oath to defend the US Constitution. I don't know if they meet monthly and train like traditional Militia groups ; but they are still classified as belonging to the Unorganized Militia.

    November 18, 2009 at 11:26 am |
  92. Kathy

    The way this country has been changing towards a collectivism mentality is scarey! I am actually glad to hear that there are trained people who are ready to protect our constitution. I voted for Obama and am not yet convinced he represents the status quo just yet. However, I do have to say that it sure is beginning to look like he is going down the same road that every President since Carter has.. For those of you who reject any notion that our country is and has been heading towards Socialism, I seriously suggest they do some of their own thinking and start researching on their own, rather than listening to the garabage from both the left and the right! People need to wake up and stand up for our individual rights that are guaranteed in our constitution. Begin by looking into the Federal Reserve, the Council on Foreign Relations and the Trilateral Commission, I think you might learn something helpful.

    November 18, 2009 at 11:25 am |
  93. Mark

    These groups are what America is all about. They form based on common thoughts and ideas. Really, if all of these groups have problems with the government, then they should take action. Forming groups won't resolve the issue. How about forming another political party that is dedicated to their beliefs. Recruit, fertilize and watch it grow. If enough people believe and join, they can oust the current parties the old fasion way.

    November 18, 2009 at 11:20 am |
  94. Jeremy FL

    Anyone who ever says a militia is a extremist group is a utter fool. If you know anything about U.S history you would know we won our independence from Brittian on the lives shoulders and blood of the people in the militia. Conrwallace himself under estimated the militia and he lost the war cause he vastly under estimated the civilian population aka (THE COLONIAL MILITIA & THE MINUTE MEN). If it wasnt for the people rising up to help the continental army we would still be part of the U.K. But before you insult Americans and call them extremists for doing the very thing that gave us our freedom and constitution think that what your saying is anti-American and socialist cause you are disrespecting there very people who died to give you your freedom. The people have the right to bear arms uphold & defend the constitiution & bill of rights and the right to form militias in the defense of the country and or from the government.Those brave men who came before us were willing to give there lives and alot did for freedom and independence for future generations and they were not military till after Vally Forge think im talk bs then read your American history the civilian militia won that war. As for this if former military/civilians take a solem oath to keep the American population safe from the enemy at home or abroad and to uphold the constitution & bill of rights then the populace should be thankful that people just like our fore fathers are still around and willing to make the same sacrifices if need be that they did so long ago. I say thank you and i salute you and the people serving in our military /militias past & present.

    November 18, 2009 at 11:18 am |
  95. Cindy

    It is gun owners like this group that scares me more than external terrorists.

    November 18, 2009 at 11:17 am |
  96. Harry

    These people should be treated as traders. These are the facts:

    – The group was created last year
    – They take an other to the Constitution (the parts they like)
    – They exclude the Commander in Chief (in the Constitution)
    – The Commander in Chief since last year is B. Obama
    – B. Obama is Black

    I think this is all about racism in America and I am glad that these traders and racist are now coming forward so we no who they are.

    November 18, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  97. uncle sam

    I see that this is a non bias non opinionated report good job -Jim Acosta sarcasm off. I am prior service I can see why this group would interest me I'm tired of what I been seeing going on in the world and would love to take out a few commies myself if you could forward my email Jim Acosta to the Oathkeepers, that would be swell of you. This was written for comic relief of an otherwise boring troll thread full of paid comments and messages and this post aka comment is not to be taken seriously.

    November 18, 2009 at 11:09 am |
  98. Johnny

    A member of the military should not join such a group, if they do they need to have their badge taken away or court-martial if in the service. The oath they take is to uphold the Constitution of the US and obey the orders of the Commander in Chief (the President) and through him his or her appointed Officers (the Officer Corp in the military).

    Military members always have the right to disobey an order that they feel violates their oath to the Constitution.

    This is a fringe wacko group that just can't accept the fact that we have a President who is a Minority and a Liberal Democrat!

    PS Retired E8, 1st SGT US Army 22 years. Ranger, 2 tours Iraqi, 1 tour Afg., Desert Storm, 2 Purple Hearts, Silver Star..........and a registered Democrat.

    November 18, 2009 at 11:02 am |
  99. Cathleen

    Just another bunch of nuts wearing tin foil hats and drinking the Kool-Aid. The problem is that there are now so many of them.....

    November 18, 2009 at 11:00 am |
  100. Pat

    Militia's have been around for many, many years, and rightfully so!
    These are your true patriots and they are necessary, more so now than in recent years, as our economy tanks, and our government tries to force socialism down our throats.

    November 18, 2009 at 10:59 am |
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