Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is extremely frustrated with orders that the White House is contemplating. According to sources at the Pentagon, including all branches of the armed forces, the Obama Administration may break with a centuries-old tradition.
A spokesman for General James Cartwright, the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, states that the Obama Administration wants to have soldiers and officers pledge a loyalty oath directly to the office of the President, and no longer to the Constitution.
“The oath to the Constitution is as old as the document itself.” the spokesman said, “At no time in American history, not even in the Civil War, did the oath change or the subject of the oath differ. It has always been to the Constitution.”
The back-and-forth between the White House and the Defense Department was expected as President George W. Bush left office. President Obama has already signed orders to close Guantanamo and to pull combat troops from Iraq. But, this, say many at the Defense Department, goes too far.
“Technically, we can’t talk about it before it becomes official policy.” the spokesman continued. “However, the Defense Department, including the Secretary, will not take this laying down. Expect a fight from the bureaucracy and the brass.”
Sources at the White House had a different point of view. In a circular distributed by White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, the rationale for the change was made more clear.
“The President feels that the military has been too indoctrinated by the old harbingers of hate: nationalism, racism, and classism. By removing an oath to the American society, the soldiers are less likely to commit atrocities like those at Abu Ghraib.”
“We expect a lot of flak over this,” the classified memo continues. “But those that would be most against it are those looking either for attention or control.”
The time frame for the changes are unknown. However, it is more likely that the changes will be made around the July 4th holiday, in order to dampen any potential backlash. The difference in the oath will actually only be slight. The main differences will be the new phrasing. It is expected that the oath to the Constitution will be entirely phased out within two years.