An Open Letter to Retired U.S. Army Colonel, Ronald A. Nelson

June 10th, 2013 6 comments

An Open Letter to Retired U.S. Army Colonel, Ronald A. Nelson

Author: Norton R. Nowlin

Dear Col. Nelson:

By way of introduction, I am a former U.S. Marine Corps sergeant, E-5, honorably discharged in 1977 from six-years of active-duty. When I raised my hand to the swear in July 1971 and took the military enlistment oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic, I also implicitly made an oath to myself that I would never obey an order from a superior officer, or the President of the United States, that was immoral, illegal, or, in any way, defiled the U.S. Constitution. I know that you took an, even more, binding oath as an officer in the U.S. Army to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution, but I am wondering if you also made that special oath to yourself to never obey orders from superior officers, or from the President of the United States, that were immoral, illegal, or damaging to the U.S. Constitution. The first real public example of disobedience to such an implicit oath, which became, merely, a political showcase, was what a U.S. Army lieutenant, named William Calley, did supposedly under-orders, in 1969, in My Lai, Vietnam. Lt. Calley attempted to exculpate himself from the murders he allegedly committed by saying that he was merely following orders. I think that you will recall that the Nazi soldiers, who committed the atrocities against the Jews during the 2nd World War, also claimed that they were merely following the orders of their superiors. I sincerely hope that you took such an implicit moral oath yourself, and that you swore to yourself never to betray that oath.

Nonetheless, while Lt. William Calley actually committed acts that were morally and legally reprehensible, I am also prone to think that acts of deliberate omission are in direct violation of that implicit oath, as in turning one's head to direct knowledge of actions stemming from orders given by superior officers, and the President of the United States, which are immoral, illegal, or in direct violation of the U.S. Constitution. As a U.S. Army colonel, you, no doubt, were a commander of large numbers of soldiers in the field, probably in combat. You probably were, at one time, stationed at the Pentagon working in a command capacity. Were you there in an official capacity in January 1991 when Dick Cheney and G.H. Bush publicly claimed that NSA satellite photos confirmed that Saddam Hussain's entire army was encamped on the Kuwaiti-Saudi Border, threatening an invasion of Saudi Arabia? These photos were the basis for the invasion of Iraq, also known as Operation Desert Storm. Were you at, any time, aware, in 1991, of the efforts of the Pulitzer Prize-nominated journalist, Jean Heller, in persuading her newspaper, "The St. Petersburg Times," to purchase satellite photos, taken by the Russian commercial satellite, the Soyuz-Karta, of the same area on the Kuwaiti-Saudi Border on September 11th and the 13th of 1990, the same dates given by Bush and Cheney for the NSA satellite photos? Were you aware of what those Russian satellite photos revealed, as determined by Peter Zimmerman, a satellite photo expert at GeorgeWashingtonUniversity? They showed zero troops, zero tanks, and a complete absence of any type of military presence on the Kuwaiti-Saudi Border. There weren't even any tracks in the sand. Were you aware that Jean Heller called the Pentagon and challenged Cheney to compare satellite photos? Are you aware that he told her, through his adjutant, to go to hell? Well, I spoke to Jean Heller directly, at length, about these issues, and I have no reason to doubt her veracity. As such, there was no reason for the U.S military to attack a third-world nation, Iraq, and, with shock and awe, reduce it to rubble, and, during the process, get quite a few American GIs killed. It was all based on a horrible lie. If you weren't at the Pentagon, at the time, how many military officers, colonels and generals, with whom you were probably acquainted, knew about that lie, and supported it? Did you lean about the lie after the fact?

Sir, why is that U.S. military colonels and generals only become "real" patriots, and choose to speak-out against federal deceit and duplicity after they retire? As a colonel, you were probably privy to numerous secret matters regarded as "national security," which should have been known by the American electorate. Many of these secrets were probably not even sanctioned by the U.S. Senate, and were in direct violation of the U.S. Constitution, based upon illegal, and immoral, orders given the CIA, NSA, or DIA, or by the President of the United States. If you were privy to them, why didn't you speak out against them then, when they occurred, instead of waiting until you retired? I suppose you were merely following orders.

It seems that you do have a fan club on the Internet, who have been made to believe that you are a paragon of Christian and patriotic virtue. I would very much like for you to honestly answer, for your fans, the questions that I proffered in this letter; and a final one, subsuming the others. During your time spent as an officer in the U.S. Army, did you, at any time, turn a deaf ear, or your head, to actions committed by the U.S. military, which were immoral, illegal, or in violation of the U.S. Constitution? I hope you remember Daniel Ellsburg, and the infamous "Pentagon Papers." Do you recall that Ellsburg went, first, to two U.S. Senators about the illegal military, CIA, actions in Vietnam with the hope that Congress would intervene. But they didn't want to get involved, and that's when Daniel, a true patriot, went to the "New York Times." Perhaps that's why he was exonerated of all the charges the Pentagon tried to bring against him. I hope you know, sir, that truly devoted patriots, in, and out, of uniform, don't have to wear Old Glory affixed conspicuously to their suit-coat lapels, for the sacred symbol of their freedom and liberty is wrapped snugly around their hearts.

In sincere truth and liberty,

Norton R. Nowlin, M.A.

Woodbridge, VA

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About the Author

Norton R. Nowlin is a graduate of The University of Texas at Tyler, where he took B.A. and M.A. degrees in the behavioral and social sciences, psychology, political science, sociology. Mr. Nowlin also attended Thomas Jefferson School of Law, in San Diego, California, from 1981-82, where he completed a first year of law school studies. Most recently, Mr. Nowlin earned, in 2004, a post-baccalaurate ABA-approved advanced paralegal certification at Edmonds Community College, Department of Paralegal Studies, in Lynnwood, Washington. A published writer of political commentary, essays, poetry, and short stories, Mr. Nowlin was born in Oklahoma, reared in East Texas, and currently resides with his wife, Diane C. Nowlin, in Northern Virginia.

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  6. usar4me says:

    In a word… amazing. The entire world including the Iraqi government acknowledged the illegal invasion of Kuwait by Iraq and their treat to their neighbors… Saudi Arabia and Iran with whom a shaky armistice (formal cease fire) existed. Yet, this post would have us all believe that Dick Chaney and the DOD manipulated the events in Mid-East too justify military action against Iraq?

    Need I remind everyone that the Iraqi government never … never, refuted the fact that they had invaded Kuwait and attempted to justify their invasion of Kuwait by making the claim that Iraq had a legitimate claim to Kuwait as part of Iraq. He chooses to ignore the massive trail of the defeated Iraqi armor column stretching from Kuwait all the way back to Baghdad. He obviously believes that Kuwait set fire to their own oil fields of Kuwait as part of this ruse?

    Comparing Lt. Calley’s conduct in Viet Nam, with those of thousands of honorably serving members of the military, is slanderous at best and insanity at it’s worst. The use of military force to eject Sodom Hussein’s military from Kuwait was not only thoroughly debated in the UN, it was approved by the US Senate, in two separate votes. The invasion was not only lawful but thoroughly approved by the UN; it was not just a US operation. The military coalition that participated in the Gulf War was made up of 31 Nations… including NATO, Arabs, British, Italy, Spain and others. This was a war that was sanctioned most of the free world. See:

    The personal insults and ad hominem attacks by this author on my character and conduct only point to a baseless bias and ignorance of the facts… but a personal malice for those who have served honorably. His insinuation of misconduct on my part and that of thousands of honorably serving members of the US Military service is not only despicable and baseless but unworthy of any further comment.

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