Sunday, May 31, 2009

Keeping Your Oath: NOT Just Following Orders

NOTE: The below article was originally published in the April, 2008 issue of S.W.A.T. Magazine, but is republished here with S.W.A.T.'s generous permission. Because I wrote this article back in January, 2008, I didn't know who would win the nominations for either party, much less who would be president, so I used the hypothetical of Hillary Clinton as President (I think it safe to say she was the average S.W.A.T. reader's worst nightmare back then). When you read it, just replace Hitlery with Obama, Holder, and Rahm Emanuel (who you can picture wearing the Chairman Mao signature pant- suit, if you like). You can see that I was thinking a great deal about the meaning of our oath back then, well over a year ago, while I worked as a volunteer for the Ron Paul campaign in Nevada. That's about the time I first got the idea to start Oath Keepers. - Stewart Rhodes

Just Following Orders

By Stewart Rhodes

S.W.A.T Magazine, April 2008

"if a police state comes to America, it will ultimately be by your hands. That is a harsh reality, but you had better come to terms with it now, and resolve to not let it happen on your watch."

In a recent letter to this magazine, J.R. Uhl, Colonel, U.S. Army (Ret

.) observed that “[t]he Constitution and our Bill of Rights are gravely endangered today, and this community [of military, veterans, and law enforcement] is where they will be saved, if they are to be saved at all!” The Colonel is absolutely right.

“It” (a full-blown totalitarian police state) cannot happen here if the majority of police and soldiers obey their oaths to defend the Constitution and refuse to enforce the unconstitutional edicts of the "Leader."

Imagine that Herr Hitlery is sworn in as president in 2009. After a conveniently timed “domestic terrorism” incident (just a coincidence, of course) or yet another Prozac

induced mass shooting, she promptly crams a United Nations mandated, Great Britain style, total ban on the private possession of firearms through a compliant, Democratically controlled Congress. Dressed in her favorite Chairman Mao signature pantsuit, Hitlery signs the ban into law with the obligatory choir of sell-out police chiefs as backdrop (just like the good ol days when Bill Clinton used the oval office).

But Hitlery, having a much larger pair, goes further, proclaiming a nationa

l emergency and declaring the entire militia movement (and anyone else Morris Dees labels “extremists”) to be “enemy combatants.” Using precedents established by Bush, Hitlery declares that such citizens are subject to secret military detention without indictment or jury trial, “enhanced” interrogation techniques, and trial before a military tribunal hand-picked by the dominatrix-in-chief herself. Hitlery then orders police, National Guard troops and active military to go house-to-house to disarm the American people and “black-bag” those on a list of “known terrorists,” with orders to shoot all resisters.

Would You "Just Follow Orders"?

Would you do it? Would you just follow orders to shoot your fellow Americans? Without you and your brothers in arms to enforce her decrees, Hitlery would be powerless to do any

thing but fume and throw things at Bill. It is you who really holds the final veto, and if a police state comes to America, it will ultimately be by your hands. That is a harsh reality, but you had better come to terms with it now, and resolve to not let it happen on your watch.

A Story About Resolve

Speaking of resolve, I have a story. After the Army, I attended College and took a class on the Holocaust, where we read Browning’s Ordinary Men, concerning German

Ordnungspolizei (Order Police) Reserve Unit 101. Those reserve policemen were not Nazi fanatics, but, out of obedience to authority and peer pressure, they still obeyed orders to shoot entire Jewish families, usually old men, women and children.

German Ordnungspolizei (Order Police) Just Following Orders.

The professor, a proud socialist, told the class that no rational person could possibly say with certainty that he would not do the same. I strongly disagreed, saying I was absolutely certain I would not obey orders to shoot women and children - I would instead shoot the officer giving me that order, right through the head.

The shocked professor declared that I had the same sort of resolute certainty as the Nazis, and such certainty was dangerous. A delicate metro-sexual male student, apparently seeking approval, proclaimed that he could not say he would refuse to follow the orders.

I turned to him in disbelief, asking, “you can’t say for sure you would not shoot old women and little kids?” His answer: “I’d rather be a live coward, than a dead hero.” I kid you not. And the rest of the class sat silent, none taking my side. At that moment, I understood wha

t H. L. Mencken meant when he said “every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.” Only in the sheltered ivory towers of academia is such craven cowardice considered a virtue, and resolve considered a vice.

More Obedient German Police, Just Following Orders - to Shoot Women and Children. Do NOT Let This Happen Here.

I later lambasted their absurdity and cowardice in an editorial in the college paper, pointing out that if anyone had suggested to the 18 and 19 year old boys on board the troop transports the night before the landings at Tarawa, Iwo Jima, or Normandy that they could not possibly know if they would follow through the next day, the boys would have looked at them like they had two heads. Of course they knew what they were going to do – just what they had trained to do. And the vast majority did just that. My father in law was among them. At 16, he lied about his age to join the Marines on December 10, 1941 (just three days after Pearl Harbor), to fight the Imperial Japanese Army – and he did just that, at Iwo.


John Adams: Enlistment date - December 10, 1941. Now that's what you call stepping up!

And here was this socialist professor proclaiming that anyone who has such resolve is ipso-facto like a Nazi! It was the professor and his cowardly students, ironically, who are exactly the kind of people a totalitarian regime loves to have carry out its orders - people so without conviction, so concerned with their own safety, so empty of honor that they will do anything commanded of them just to live their miserable lives a while longer.

A Snapshot of Resolve: The Marines Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima. Who Do YOU Identify With?

Who do you identify with? The spineless waste of oxygen that would shoot little kids to save his own miserable hide, or those young men who knowingly waded into hell to defend liberty?

Just as you have honed your mental trigger in advance and trained yourself to respond effectively against physical threats, you must prepare yourself in advance to take a stand against unconstitutional (and thus illegal), or immoral orders and so-called laws. You must play a “what if” game with those questions as well, decide how you will react, and visualize yourself doing it – just like you do when preparing for future combat. Just as I know beyond a doubt that I would lay down my life in defense of my wife and children, I know I would gladly give what is left of my life to ensure that they live in a free country, and no doubt you feel the same about your kids.

To secure that liberty, and to ensure that your sons grow to be "sons of liberty" who stand tall, speak the truth, and keep their oaths, you must be a son of liberty who stands tall and keeps his oath, even if by doing so you risk your job, your pension, your liberty, or your life.

- Stewart Rhodes, S.W.A.T. Magazine, April, 2008.

Postscript: According to Wikipedia, the German police forces "were brought together on a national basis for the first time in German history by an act of the German Interior Ministry in the summer of 1936. The act decreed that the regular German police forces were to be absorbed into the SS, which would then incorporate all local, state, and national level law enforcement agencies." Take heed, because history does indeed repeat itself. Guard with jealous suspicion your local autonomy and your state sovereignty. Do NOT allow your local and state police forces to be federalized and absorbed by the national government. Make that a very firm line in the sand.

NOTE: The publisher and the editor of S.W.A.T. Magazine are true patriots and fully support the Oath Keepers mission. They also happen to put out one heck of a fine publication. Check it out and consider subscribing. You may forward or repost this article for non-profit purposes so long as you give credit to the author and to S.W.A.T. Magazine and include a link to


Dave Freeman said...

You out did yourself brother, what a magnificent and prescient article you wrote for S.W.A.T. magazine(and now thankfully posted on our blog for the benefit of all) I will definitely be subscribing to S.W.A.T. magazine for their courage in allowing you to speak your mind! This is what the First Amendment is all about. I'm proud to be your associate here at Oath Keepers and I stand with you shoulder to shoulder at our line in the sand. As I previously told you: I'm in this for the duration.


Basci said...


Unfortunately, what happened in Nazi Germany can happen here: i.e. the post-WW I Veteran Bonus March, the My Lai Massacre, Waco, Pine Ridge, etc.

Reminding all citizens of their duty to each other and Country through the mechanism you have chosen to reaffirm former oaths is a great idea, one that has the ability to catch the attention and reignite the flames of patriotism. However, we are talking civil war here, and civil war is ugly - just ask former members of the French Resistance or those of us who fled south Vietnam not so long ago. Minions of the elite will, and undoubtedly have already been assigned to infiltrate your movement in order to take it over and render it ineffective - just look at any forum and you'll see what trolls can do. Having egotistical morally bankrupt shills swear an oath verbally is like spitting in the wind. You need a mechanism which can provide a higher measure of ensuring compliance or you will eventually find yourself and your cause overwhelmed.

Lie detectors and so called truth serums have a limited effectiveness, are costly, and difficult to administer. So, what to do? Well, there is a very simple and effective measure which any moderately competent adult can administer without any expensive equipment and with no threat to any ordinarily healthy adult's life or physical well-being. This is the Old Mad Womans' (Pelosi), and all her two faced bottom feeding cohorts' worst nightmare, the infamous invoking of the drowning reflex, aka: water boarding.

However, unlike the stigmatism Ms Pelosi and other's of her ilk have attempted to lay on the process, the modern use of water is not the WW II Japanese method of forcing gallons of water down your throat until your guts can't hold any more and then jumping up and down on your abdomen. The real process involves a few ounces of water from a cup or a syringe used to stimulate a basic autonomic nerve reflex that is basically impossible to control. And therein lies the elites' hatred for it: to be tested by a method they can't ignore or control is the worst fear of the liar, the fraud, the socio-path. Again, let me stress: there is no threat of drowning - it just seems like it; there is no threat of long term physical harm; it is simply extremely temporarily unpleasant.

If you want to ensure those holding critical positions in your movement are truly sincere, if they are physically able then let them publicly take a Water Oath affirming that their allegiance is to the Constitution and to this Republic and not to those who would usurp it. I'll cheerfully volunteer to be the first candidate - you'll need yourself and a few beefeaters to hold me down but that's okay, as long as I get to reciprocate afterwards. BTW: if you think 'Water Oath' is too prosaic, then I've thought that it could go by another more lively descriptive name, such as the Holy Mother of !!!! Oath.

You probably think I'm just joking around here, but I'm not, I couldn't be more sincere. If you don't institute the proper measures to secure your movement it will be taken over and nullified before you can blink. Make the Water Oath a symbol of pride and a requirement for holding any level of responsibility. Get a few videos of old farts like you and me and a few grandmas, who are tougher than you and me put together, with a few of their grand daughters... on YouTube and see what effect it has on recruitment results. See what an effect it will have on those shills holding public office when they realize there is a public movement a foot to require such a public oath for all public officials: local, county, state, and federal. If the thought of Pelosi, Reed, BO, and all the other slime breeders taking such an oath in the public square isn't enough to excite you then close this site, get the six pac out of the fridge, turn on the boob tube, and .... whatever.

Anonymous said...

The problem with infiltration of any movement will always exist. I think that for those who would serve in "critical positions" in OathKeepers, they must be willing to supply all their immediate family's names, locations, etc., for the movement's protection against infiltration as being their equivalent of the Founding Fathers' pledge of their "lives, fortunes and sacred honors."

Anyone not with the movement would hardly be willing to put their life, much less their family's in jeopardy. Long live the Republic!

CaptGooch said...


While I do not question your belief that such a thing is someday going to be necessary to separate the "shills" of the machine from the patriots I do need to make one little correction in your understanding of Oath Keepers.

From our "We are NOT List" item #1 in fact.
"We are Not advocating or promoting the overthrow of
any government whether local, state or national.
We want our governments to return to the Constitutional
Republic which the Declaration of Independence and the
Constitution defined and instituted."

end quote

Your reference to the Free French Underground lets me know that you do see the elephant standing in the corner.
So very many do not and it is causing a good deal of concern in many places in our country and without as well.
BUT ... and this part is important .... Oath Keepers is not Le Resistance. [All Honor to their memory.]
Oath Keepers is an all out effort to let the elephant leave the room by himself because he can instead of trying to force him to leave through a different door if you catch my imagery.

We hope to enlist the oath takers of this country, transform then into Oath Keepers and inspire them to resist the unlawful implementation of tyranny and in so doing remove the need to form our own Resistance.

IF we fail and the worst does come to pass [and it is still very much up in the air at this point] then I have no doubt that there will be a resistance formed and there will be a very uncomfortable "initiation" . [Keep in mind that the Special Forces units have been doing this [WB] to each other in an effort to "torture proof" their [our] guys so.... even that is no real "test".]

Meanwhile let us Reach, Teach and Inspire in the hope that we won't need to waterboard each other to prove our honorable intentions.

In case some might have missed it ....

Reach, Teach and Inspire.

Reach out to all of our fellow Oath takers and ...

Teach them if they didn't know or have "forgotten" the responsibilities we agreed to when we swore that Oath.

To Inspire is our ultimate goal.
Inspire all oath takers to become Oath Keepers.
Inspire all of our Active Duty or Reserve Military and Active Duty or Reserve Peace Officers to Keep the Oath they swore and to refuse to Obey any unlawful order no matter the source of that order.

Not on Our Watch

Stewart Rhodes said...

Ah, no. We won't be torturing people anytime soon. What an absurd idea.

And, we won't be collecting lists of their family members either. This is not the mob. That is also an absurd idea. What kind of people do you think we are?

When it comes to those who we might consider for some actual key leadership positions, we will vett them the old fashioned way by meeting them eyeball to eyeball, seeing what they have done in life and who they associate with, and using our guts and brains to tell us whether they are a good fit for any position of trust and leadership in our org.

And we also are not in the business of doing anything we would not post all over this blog for all to see. No cloak and dagger, clandestine stuff here. Sorry.

As I have said before, if we can just spread the message about the meaning of the oath and teach more about the Constitution, and get both active duty military, police, and vets to wake up and come together in brotherhood, that is a huge accomplishment alone.

Imagine if in every county all the vets are woken up and on board, and then they reach out to and get to know all the police in that county and all the local active duty military, reserves, and guardsmen.

Once they are woken up and communicating with each other, then IF there is ever a need for them to take a stand, they will be more than capable of doing so and rolling with the punches at that time. And they will know who among them is bullshit and who is not, by virtue of long time association. It's not too hard to weed out posers, clowns, and agent provocateurs. Just hang out with them a while and you will develop that sixth sense that tells you "that boy just ain't quite right."

And then there is still the age old rule about need to know, and all that.

But as I said, and for the record, our mission is such that when it comes to Oath Keepers I don't say crap in private I would not say here on this blog. So why should I worry about it?


Anonymous said...

Thank you, Mr. Rhodes for that inspiring article. You made my morning.

I live in a societal construct that is devoid of inspiration. I can't believe I let myself get so busy last few days that I neglected to visit Oathkeepers.

There is a blog I visit everyday, Angelqueen. There was a thread on it entitled "When The Military Persecution Comes," or something to that effect. I was reading through the comments, such doom and gloom. People were gassing off just picturing soldiers crashing into their homes in the middle of the night--which actually could happen. It's not a joke. But just for giggles, I posted a link to here.

I wound up smiling ear to ear when other posters turned up who know more about Oathkeepers than I do! Some of them were Oathkeepers themselves! Excellent!

That just proved to me that Oathkeepers are everywhere, we just need to find each other.

I'm only a housewife, everyday is Saturday. But, and I swear it right now, if I could ever come to the assistance of an Oathkeeper, you bet I would.

O.K. said...

"I wound up smiling ear to ear when other posters turned up who know more about Oathkeepers than I do! Some of them were Oathkeepers themselves! Excellent!

That just proved to me that Oathkeepers are everywhere, we just need to find each other."

Excellent news! Thanks anon!