On Friday, February 11, 2000, at South Carolina's Anderson County's Republican Banquet, Dr. Alan Keyes was asked by a gentleman if it was true that he had stated at one time that Specialist Michael New should be court marshaled for refusing to put on the UN uniform; and that if it was true, what is his position on U.S. soldiers wearing a UN uniform.
I recorded this event and transcribed this particular section of the Q & A inasmuch as several here at Free Republic have questioned Dr. Keyes position on this matter.
Knowing Dr. Keyes' strength of constitutional knowledge as well as the founding era, and plain common good sense, I have been troubled by what was being bandied around.
Whether you agree or not, I find his position well stated....I, too, don't want to see a military government in America.
ROWDEE,as posted on Free Republic
Dr. Keyes responded:
Well, my position on U.S. soldiers wearing UN uniforms is that American Presidents should not ever ask U.S. soldiers to wear UN uniforms.
We are in perfect agreement on point number one.
And my second position, just so we will be clear, is that if an American President asks U.S. soldiers to wear UN uniforms, then an American Congress ought to stand up and discipline that President until he changes his mind.
We are in perfect agreement on point number two.
Now, that said, however, I must offer a warning of honest, clear caution. I did, in fact, say they had to court marshal Michael New and they did.
It may come as a surprise to Dr. Keyes and the world that we agree with this statement as well. It was entirely appropriate to court-martial Michael New. He expected it. We have never complained about being brought to trial on the deliberate disobedience of an order, because we maintained then, and maintain now, that the order was illegal. It was our hope that a court-martial and following appeals would bring the illegality of the order to the table, which the Army has, to date, been able to avoid.
This may be the point at which we should mention that the original statement of Dr. Keyes has been toned down. It is our understanding that in 1996, Dr. Keyes said on more than one occasion that, “If I were President, Michael New would have gone to jail.” This is a far different matter than calling for a legal inquiry into whether the actions of a soldier were proper or not. It sets the president up as Prosecutor, Judge and Jury. We are pleased to see that he has toned down the rhetoric.
… Soldiers who are subject to the authority of the Commander in Chief and the Constitution of the United States does not have the right to disobey the orders of the Commander in Chief on the basis of their own understanding of the Constitution.
This is the heart of our disagreement with Alan Keyes. We believe that a soldier does, indeed have the right to disobey orders… on the basis of their own understanding of the Constitution.
1. It is consistent with Biblical principles.
2. It is consistent with Constitutional principles.
3. It is consistent with the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
4. It is consistent with U.S. Army training manuals.
We cannot tolerate that or the military will fail. The one thing I think people forget when they debate something like this is that we can look at the individual as Private New. But, no, don't think about him. If I grant him the right to interpret the Constitution and overrule the President, I have also granted that right to the Joint Chiefs. I have granted to the Generals what I've granted to the Privates.
It would appear that Alan Keyes is weak on the concept that we live in a Republic (or at least, we used to, and they pretend that we still do) in which the Citizen is the King. The Citizen is a sovereign. The Citizen is the ruler of this nation. Citizens are not peons who must obey the every order of a Tyrant King. The President is the Executive Servant of the People, and he is subject to all the Laws that the People and their elected representatives have imposed upon him.
Whenever the president, or ANY Civil Servant, attempts to force an individual under his authority to disobey the Law, (which includes the Constitution, upon which all law must stand or fall), then it is the deepest duty of every individual and every “lower magistrate,” be he judge or bureaucrat or Four-Star General or Specialist 4th Class, to respectfully disagree and lawfully disobey illegal orders.
If Alan Keyes disagrees with this principle, then Alan Keyes is a potential tyrant of the worst kind.
If the President of the United States, (or any person with any authority, including that of parent or husband) were to order someone to engage in immoral sexual acts, must that person obey those orders? I want to hear Alan Keyes’ answer to this question.
Do we really want Generals who can look our supreme authority in the eye and tell them no? I don't want such Generals. I never want them.
When General Douglas MacArthur looked Harry Truman in the eye and told him he was wrong, MacArthur stood on this same principle. MacArthur was fired, as we all know. It was a price he was willing to pay. Michael New was court-martialed. It was a price he was willing to pay.
May God deliver us from the day when a person under authority may not approach a superior authority and refuse to obey an order that is not rooted in law, but is rooted in imagined authority which has no basis.
This is a government of the people, by the people, for the people; and it should never become the government of the military.
Correct. Nor can it become the government of the President. It should be a government of Constitutional Law.
So I think we had better be very careful and disciplined about this. I will not ever ask American troops to put on a UN uniform, but if I ask American troops to go and defend American interests, I wouldn't want some lawyerly debate about the Constitution in response.
Do I hear presidential candidate Alan Keyes saying that, if he wants to do something that may or not be illegal, he doesn’t want to be held to a Constitutional standard?
And if I ever did, it would mean the end of our security and you know it. Therefore, we should as conservatives shouldn't walk down roads we don't want to face the consequences of.
Do I hear Alan Keyes saying that security has become more important than Constitutional law?
So, I would tell Mr. New and all the folks what Bob Dornan apparently told them. That he should do his duty, obey the President, and leave it to the Congress to do theirs. And that is what we should do. And if the Congress doesn't do its duty, then we ought to kick the Congress out…..not invite our soldiers to substitute for our representatives. It is not their right.
Dr. Keyes, if one of your daughters ever finds herself in a locked room with an Arkansas governor and told to commit acts that violate her conscience, even if she were an employee of the State of Arkansas, you would not hold to this position.
We agree that Congress needs to find its backbone. We agree that Congress needs to do that which they swore to do – uphold the Constitution of the United States.
Therefore, we are now looking to you, Dr. Keyes, to lead the charge to get Congress to keep this from ever happening again. Thank you for your support of our legislative efforts.
And so I would be very clear about this…I hope to assume the office of the President and I want to make sure that when I get there I haven't made an argument that would give my Chairman of the Joint Chiefs some notion that he has the right to disobey my orders. He does not have that right and if he tried to disobey, I would have to seek to discipline as the Constitution demands.
Disciplinary action are subject to review by a Court of Law, and that is appropriate. The court would remedy the rare situation in which a Lower Authority were to improperly defy a Higher Authority.
And I think that's got to be very clear.
So do we.
I disagreed profoundly with some conservatives, including Pat Buchanan, when they actually misled us down an irresponsible road. I will not pander to our emotions at the expense of what I know to be the requirements of national security.
Dr. Keyes, your ability as a debater extraordinaire does not allow you the privilege to lower this debate to insulting phrases such as “pander to our emotions.” The legal defense of Army Specialist New is based upon Constitutional Law, upon the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and upon Army regulations.
While people may be emotional about the issue, just as you appear to be emotional about National Security at the expense of Constitutional Law, this specific case is a legal question which has not been settled, and in the end, if all rulings are against Michael New, the principle will still stand – any citizen can and must disobey illegal orders.
If all legal appeals fail, Michael New will graciously accept the consequences of his actions, just as the President should, if ruled against. It will not change his mind, and he will never wear a blue beret. But he will have had his day in court.
At this point I should point out that I was once a volunteer county coordinator for Alan Keyes in Texas, and that I have met him on more than one occasion, as well as his very gracious wife and charming, shy children. I admire his oratorical skills. I agree with him on almost every issue. I enjoy his radio programs immensely. But even Alan Keyes can be wrong, and when he is, he is not impervious to a challenge. We have attempted to be quiet on this issue, and to not interfere in the campaign of a man running for public office, in order that we not detract from his influence. Our constituencies overlap to a great degree. I have told many people, and continue to say it, that if the only candidates I had to chose from were the current crop of Republicans, I would vote for Alan Keyes without batting an eye. (There are, however, other choices, which is one reason I am no longer active in his campaign.)
We invite Dr. Keyes to seriously look at one issue that is actually more important than national security, and that is Constitutional Law. The Republic stands upon this bedrock foundation. Its national security may not be divorced from it. Neither you, nor any president, may commit this nation to a course of action, in the name of “national security,” that is contrary to the Constitution. Indeed, it is this slippery slope that got us where we are today. Every Tyrant resorts to “national security” to ignore the Law. We want to hear you say that.
Daniel D. New
Michael New Action Fund
"Real Americans don't wear U.N. blue!"