The Liberty of Defense

by Steven Schippert
Originally posted October 23, 2010

Sworn To Support And Defend The Constitution; Not Land, Government Or Even People

National Security and Defense are no longer apolitical issues. In reluctantly acknowledging this fact, more thinking and writing on political issues has gradually made its way into the ThreatsWatch space. To put it succinctly, it’s not just about Defense. It’s about what we defend.

There are two disparities at play in the American body politic that cause this deep politicization of Defense and National Security. The first is a wide disconnect between the leadership of both major parties – and to a greater degree the Democrat party – and the American voting public from which they have historically drawn their support. The second, a specific subset of the first but requiring its own elaboration, is the radical nature of the leadership of the Democrat Party.

When asked what it is exactly that I do and why, I’ve given many variations of the National Security answer. Passion for National Security is only a partial answer. The next question, though rarely asked, is and should be, “National Security to what ends?” Eight words explain it best and most concisely.

The Defense of Liberty – The Liberty of Defense.

The Defense of Liberty is straight forward and needs no elaboration. There are many patriots – and more and more each day – who have embraced the Defense of Liberty. But ‘The Liberty of Defense’ is much more revealing.

The Military Oath of Service begins, “I do solemnly swear 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; … ”

We do not swear explicitly to defend soil or borders. Nor do we swear explicitly even to defend people, citizens. We do not even swear explicitly to defend the nation explicitly as a geographic, social or economic entity. It could be said that these are implied, and indeed they are.

It is, however, absolutely vital to understand what it is that we do swear – explicitly – to support and defend: The Constitution of the United States. And as I had previously written, that oath stands honored – and, frankly, more thoroughly understood and respected – to this day, long after my 8 years of active duty service as a United States Marine.

The Oath was carefully written to ensure that the Constitution has guardians. Those guardians include not only those in military service, but also the President of the United States, members of both Houses of Congress and other civil servants. The various versions of oaths of service were never intended to simply defend the nation as a geographical entity. Nor, it should be consciously acknowledged, do they command the defense of its government.

The Constitution is the very codification of our Liberty and American Liberty has always been truly exceptional in the world in its scope and near-holy reverence. The only time it should not be exceptional is if and when other nations of the world embrace the same. Likewise, never should we squander or dismiss American Liberties in order to conform with perceived standards as set by other nations of the world.

And swearing to defend this – the exceptional idea, the very codification of Liberty, the heart and soul of the great American experiment – is the Liberty of Defense. The two are inseparably intertwined. To remove one from the other condemns Liberty to a memory in short order and reduces its Defense to just another military force on the globe protecting soil, people and power interests and little more.

Thankfully, more Americans are beginning to consciously think of more than a cracked bell when they hear the word Liberty. And, likewise, they are also beginning to think of more than just an old historical museum relic when they hear the name of its codification, the Constitution of the United States.

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Steve Schippert served in the U.S. Marine Corps from June 1985 to June 1993, including service during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm to liberate Kuwait. Steve’s career has included being a program director for a television station, and eventually a move into information technology and a career as an instructor for a significant IT product certification program.

Steve began writing online in August 2004 primarily on issues of foreign policy, national security and media coverage of the War on Terror at his personal blog, The Word Unheard, which was closed after his efforts moved to ThreatsWatch. Steve has also written on political and social issues at Wizbang, and provided regular reports on the War on Terror for Winds of Change.NET. Steve has also been published in the Washington Times and online at the Weekly Standard and the National Review and is currently a regular contributor at National Review Online’s MilBlog, The Tank.

As a regular guest, Steve is Crane Durham’s terrorism and national security expert on Durham’s Nothing But Truth daily national radio broadcast on the American Family Radio Network. Steve has also provided terrorism, security and military analysis on The Hugh Hewitt Show, The John Batchelor Show, The Martha Zoller Show and others, and his written work has been featured on MSNBC.

In 2009, he began a weekly National Security podcast, The Steve Schippert Show, which is published each Monday morning on iTunes and available online at Take That! Radio. For significant events and developments, Steve produces special productions as warranted. Thousands already subscribe to the Steve Schippert Show via iTunes.

At ThreatsWatch, Steve focuses on the strategic and operational impact of policy decisions and events, particularly with regard to emerging threats, such as Iran and Syria or the democratization efforts in Lebanon. Steve also contributes significantly on the Arab-Israeli conflict, Pakistan, North African conflicts and the War on Terror’s progress.

Steve is a co-Founder of ThreatsWatch and of the Center for Threat Awareness where he serves on the Board of Directors. Steve is the Managing Editor of ThreatsWatch and is the Producer of its FireWatch program.

You may reach Steve at and follow him on Twitter @StevenSchippert

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