Paul R. Lehman, Discharged Airman questioned Obama’s citizenship

August 28, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments
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The Associated Press
ran a story (8-18-11) about an Air Force
Staff Sgt. Daryn Moran, who refused to accept a duty assignment in Germany. His
reason for the refusal was that “he doubts
President Barak Obama’s citizenship
. The Air Force said it is discharging
Moran. The article referred to Moran as a hero to the birthers and added that “Although the 41-year-old Nebraska man
refused to report to duty and had called for Obama’s arrest in statements on
websites, several other things contributed to his discharge, including his opposition
to allowing gays to serve openly in
the military.” While a discharge of
Moran would be in order, the military should consider other forms of action in
order to protect itself from others who might want to follow Moran’s example.

The very first course of action the military should take
against Moran is a complete psychiatric examination. One has to question the
mental stability of a 41-year-old Staff Sgt. Who after all his time in the Air
Force questions the citizenship of his Commander-in-Chief. What the important
concern here is not the doubt of the President’s citizenship, but the fact that
Moran rejects the competency of all the people who voted for the President as
well as the people who vetted all the presidential candidates. He even
challenges the competency of the Supreme
in swearing in Obama as President.

So, if all the people responsible for electing President Obama and having him assume
that role are wrong or mistaken about his qualifications as a citizen of the United States, then who is right?
Evidently, Moran has been greatly influenced by the birthers. That influence
came in spite of the fact that “Obama released a copy of his detailed birth certificate from Hawaii in April
in an attempt to quell the questions about whether he was born outside the
U.S.” None-the-less, Moran did not accept this information and like many of the
birthers, considered it fake. So, under these circumstances, when someone
rejects the actions of people who are in responsible positions to provide
accurate information, the rational mental condition of the person doing the
rejecting must come into question.

The next action the military should take is a Court- martial, because this member of
the Air Force disobeyed a direct order. If the court determines that an offense
was committed, then Moran should be made to pay for his offense. An important
part of the military is the discipline that is required to maintain maximum
effectiveness. If a break down occurs in the chain of command, then the
effectiveness is destroyed. If Staff Sgt. Moran is allowed to refuse the orders
of his commander-in-chief, what is there to prevent other military personnel
from doing the same thing? What is interesting about Moran’s action is the fact
that he bypassed the order of command between himself and the President to offer his reasons for disobeying his orders. His
court-martial hearing should include questions about why he directed his focus
on the President and why did he not challenge the past presidents he served

As a relatively high ranking member of the enlisted
military, part of Moran’s responsibility is to serve as an example for those
under him.  If the example he serves
shows disrespect to the commander-in-chief, then his example is destructive and
detrimental to the military service. When members of the military swear to
protect and defend the country, they do not get to add to that pledge “only if
they personally find the commander-in-chief to be acceptable to them.”In
hearing his case, the court should take into consideration the collateral
effect Moran’s action might have on the other troops.

The final action the Air Force should take in addition to
the discharge is to make it a dishonorable discharge. For most military
personnel, questioning the orders of a commander is extraordinary. One might
understand refusing to join the military as a conscientious objector, but that
happens at the beginning of military service. What would motivate someone who
has risen to the rank of Staff Sgt. to question the status of the President?
Most people in or out of the military would look upon this action as
suspicious. Some might even go so for as to think that Moran is using this
excuse as a ploy to leave the Air Force. We are told that the birthers view
Moran as a hero because “Moran, who
has served nine years in the Air Force, drew the attention of the birther movement when he shared his
views on Obama’s citizenship on websites of groups that believe Obama is not
eligible to serve as president or commander-in-chief.”

If the military would allow all its personnel to follow in
the footsteps of Moran one wonders what kind of military it would be. One of
the by products of questioning the citizenship of Obama is not having to say
that the reason for refusing his orders from the President is because he is
African American. If the reason is not about his ethnicity, then it is about
questioning the creditability of the state of Hawaii. Either way, Moran’s
mental state has to be taken into consideration because his actions do a
disservice to the military and to all those who follow the rules of military
command. The military, like society, has established rules of conduct that help
to promote order, peace, and justice. When anyone in society decides to break
any of its rules, he or she must understand that consequences are also in place
to deal with the rule breakers. These consequences are created and enforced in
order to maintain order and prevent chaos.

The Air Force or any branch of the military cannot prevent
its personnel from having doubts or any thoughts whatsoever, but each person
takes an oath of service. Unless Staff Sgt. Moran has forgotten, he took an
oath that says:

“I, (NAME), 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.

The bold print was added for emphasis and to underscore the
responsibility that Moran accepted when he joined the Air Force. His service is
to his country regardless of who represents it. So, since he can no longer
adhere to that pledge, then America is better served without him in uniform.



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  1. Dr. Lehman, I agreed with you whole heartedly. This man is in desparate need of a mental evaluation. His striving for personal military success (following the orders of his superiors) is somehow confounded with respecting the Commander and Chief of the military (President Obama). In following these orders he is giving reverence and approval to the leadership of an African-American. His naive, irrational feelings came from the believe that he is superior to any person of color. Your resolutions of the problem was prudent!

  2. Obviously this man is mentally ill. He needs our pity, but he doesn’t belong in the military.

  3. Totally agree. While the man is certainly entitled to his opinion when it is in conflict with his duty, oath, and responsibility then an honorable person would resign. Absent that I agree with the steps you’ve outlined, especially when the country is at war.

  4. Unbelievable. A hero to the birthers? Ridiculous is the word that springs to mind for me!

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