THE DUTY TO DISOBEY
The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States of America
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:
For more than seventeen years, I have had the privilege of serving my country as a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, including overseas assignments in imminent danger/combat areas in Bosnia and Afghanistan.
The United States is an example to the rest of the world of a stable, civilized democratic government where all men are created equal and the rule of law is cherished and obeyed. The U.S. military teaches and promotes the rule of law and civilian control of the military to many other nations and militaries around the world.
Every soldier learns what constitutes a lawful order and is encouraged to stand up and object to unlawful orders. This is called "the duty to disobey." My officer’s oath of office requires that I swear to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.
I recently received deployment orders for a second deployment to Afghanistan. My orders included a requirement to bring copies of my birth certificate. I will provide a certified copy of my original birth certificate with common, standard identifiers, including the name of an attending physician and a hospital.
Every day in transactions across the country, American citizens are required to prove their identity, and standards for identification have become even stricter since the terrorist attacks on 9/11.
Since the fall of 2008, I have been troubled by reports that your original birth certificate remains concealed from public view along with many other records which, if released, would quickly end questions surrounding your place of birth and "natural born" status.
Many people mistake the online Certification of Live Birth for an original birth certificate. Until the summer of 2009, the Hawaiian Department of Homelands would not accept this Certification of Live Birth to determine native Hawaiian identity–the Department insisted upon also reviewing an original birth certificate.
Many do not understand that the online document was from 2007, generated by computer, laser-printed, and merely a certification that there is an original birth certificate on file which may or may not be sufficiently probative. An original birth certificate is the underlying document that presumably includes a hospital and attending physician’s or midwife’s name that should lay to rest the "natural born" dispute.
In 2008, after pressure from the news media, Senator McCain produced an original birth certificate from the Panama Canal Zone; a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing examined and affirmed his "natural born" status and Constitutional eligibility to serve as President.
The U.S. Senate was silent about your eligibility, despite statements from Kenyan citizens that you were born in Mombassa, including your paternal grandmother and the Ambassador from Kenya to the U.S. during a radio interview. Hawaiian state officials claim they cannot release an original birth certificate without your consent.
I have attempted through my chain of command for many months to get answers to the questions surrounding your eligibility. I also sought answers, unsuccessfully, through my Congressional delegation.
You serve as my Commander-in-Chief. Given the fact that the certification that your campaign posted online was not a document that the Hawaiian Department of Homelands regarded as a sufficient substitute for the original birth certificate and given that it has been your personal decision that has prevented the Hawaiian Department of Health from releasing your original birth certificate or any Hawaiian hospital from releasing your records, the burden of proof must rest with you.
Please assure the American people that you are indeed constitutionally eligible to serve as Commander-in-Chief and thereby may lawfully direct service members into harm’s way.
I will be proud to deploy to Afghanistan to further serve my country and my fellow soldiers, but I should only do so with the knowledge that this important provision of our Constitution is respected and obeyed. The people that continue to risk their lives and give the ultimate sacrifice to the service of our country deserve to know they do so upholding their vows to the oath of office and the Constitution.
Unless it is established (by this sufficient proof that should be easily within your power to provide) that you are constitutionally eligible to serve as President and my Commander-in-Chief, I, and all other military officers may be following illegal orders.
Therefore, sir, until an original birth certificate is brought forward that validates your eligibility and puts to rest the other reasonable questions surrounding your unproven eligibility; I cannot in good conscience obey ANY military orders.
Lieutenant Colonel, United States Army
Dr. Terrence Lakin, MD is an active duty Army Lieutenant Colonel who serves as Chief of Primary Care at the Pentagon’s TRICARE health clinic.