The Libertarian Party must not allow our opposition to unconstitutional wars to become perverted into disrespect for our nation’s active duty military and veterans.
William Ramsay was a close confidant of William Wallace. He signed the Declaration of Arbroath, the document that gave birth to what we now know as libertarian ideals. He fought at Bannockburn and many other battles in the Scottish Highland Wars.
Decades later, his son Alexander Ramsay would finally secure Scottish Independence, after a brutal 8 year guerrilla campaign. This shadow war was conducted from a network of caves Alexander lived in with his most loyal brothers, who eventually overcame certain defeat and the life of outlaws to become masters of their own destiny.
My father’s name is also William Ramsey, and though he did not realize it in the 1960’s, his veins are filled with blood of these very warriors. When he graduated from college in 1966, as the Vietnam War was intensifying, his genetic memory expressed itself into his conciousness, and he made a life changing decision.
While most young men were getting high and chasing girls, William Ramsey was compelled to join the Army.
Communism was as evil and for at least 8 centuries the men of our Clan have expressed an inability to witness tyranny without confronting it.
There is a portion of men wired to put duty and honor above safety or wealth, and the Scots have them in large numbers.
At the resulting physical, he was diagnosed with a heart murmur, and he was rejected for service.
Most men would have felt any sense of duty satisfied, but a Ramsey is unlike most men. He subsequently went to the Navy office and was rejected there as well.
My father found a third recruiter, who was happy to take him, and before the summer was over, he was in boot camp with the United States Marine Corps.
Years later, as I explored our Scottish/Norman heritage, I would learn that giving up is not in their DNA.
In Officer’s Candidate School, he forged a particularly strong friendship with two men, Nick Lia and William Rawson. I will never meet them in this life, but I honor and cherish their memory.
There is a unique brotherhood between men who suffer a trial, as military training is intended to be, and who accomplish and overcome adversity together. It forged the bond between these men.
They met our family, and stayed with my grandfather before being deployed, as if they were a cousin or sibling.
William Rawson was older, a “Mustang”, having been prior enlisted. He took Nick and my father under his wing, mentoring them and keeping them squared away. He was tough as nails, intelligent, and led from the front. The men he would soon lead into historic battles loved and respected him deeply.
Nick was an all American kid, and an excellent Marine. He was in love, and brought his beautiful fiancée to meet my grandfather before he deployed, with assurances the Ramsey family would have a table at the wedding after his tour of duty.
In the summer of 1967, the three “brothers from another mother” deployed with the First Marine Division. They were assigned to a place called Da Nang, in the northern portion of South Vietnam, near the DMZ, and thus began what my father sarcastically still refers to as “Uncle Sam’s Asian Vacation”.
They had no idea they were about to be a part of some of the most brutal combat of the 20th century.
Late in the evening on January 30, 1968, a series of attacks began, and exactly 9 years before my birthday of January 31, what was later dubbed “The Tet Offensive” was in full swing.
These were not a few mortars and a few dumped magazines, characteristic of previous smaller guerrilla raids, but full scale attacks by large forces of the North Vietnamese Army, with highly skilled Chinese advisers, and supported by rockets and artillery.
The First Marines have left an unparalleled legacy on the history of modern warfare, fighting battles like Belleau Wood and in the Argonne in WW1, The Battles of Peleliu and Guadalcanal in WW2.
In Korea they were at places like Inchon, and the infamous “Frozen Chosen” Reservoir. The list includes nearly every major action in the last 100 years.
The 1st Marine Division is the tip of America’s spear, where the metal…or mettle..is the hardest.
In the Tet Offensive, they honored those who came before them, and left their own indelible mark in the history books.
The city of Hue, not far from DaNang, was poorly defended by ARVN troops, and fell immediately. The Communist flag waved over Hue January 31, 1968.
The 1st Marines were tasked with rescuing those trapped by the sudden attack, and with beginning an effort to clear the city of Communist forces and partisans.
Led by legendary Col. Stanley S. Hughes, they fought their way house by house, often engaging in brutal hand to hand combat, to the heart of the city. They spent the next month clearing Hue.
The world did not see urban combat of that ferocity again for over 35 years, when the 1st Marines entered the city of Fallujah, in Iraq.
None of these warriors had any part in the political machinations that led to these wars, and many were conscripted.
Their deeds of valor cannot tarnished by any misconduct among the political class.
William Ramsey, 1967, Republic of Vietnam
Lt. William Rawson and Lt. Nick Lia did not make it home. Their stories ended with “KIA, Republic of Vietnam”.
My father returned home late in 1968, having already been to war, before the first numbers were drawn in the draft lottery. My dad set an example, and I enlisted in the United States Navy at the age of 17.
I thought I knew everything then, I could say I was lucky to be able grow old enough to gain wisdom.
A more accurate sentiment would be one of appreciation for the unfathomable number of brave warriors throughout history who died young, so I could have the opportunity to study history and foreign policy in relative peace and freedom. I owe those years, and my mere existence, to those defenders.
Despite my fervent opposition to interventionist foreign policy today, I consider my dad and his fallen brothers heroes.
The best reason to oppose unnecessary war is because of the honor, courage, and commitment of the brave young men who make these sacrifices in every generation.
Most of us were not very politically aware or knowledgeable at 18 or 22, the age at which most join the military.
A person at that age who volunteers to serve, especially knowing they are going to war, displays character and selflessness rarely seen in men twice their age.
Finding out that the war was fought for the wrong reasons, sold by silver tongued devils on capitol hill, is irrelevant to any moral discussion of the warrior class.
If a man jumps on a grenade to save his brothers in arms, and it does not detonate, is he less of a hero? Neither are the active duty and veterans of our military less honorable for taking an oath to defend the Constitution and the inalienable rights it enumerates. Today the US has an all volunteer force, who do not choose war or peace, but service, with the possibility of earning death or disability to protect the life and liberty of strangers.
Young men like that are a national treasure. They form the group of natural protectors, that always seem to appear in the people’s hour of need. Their DNA is wired for duty.
Their predecessors were so successful, people now forget that the artist, the writer, and the women and children, are only safe because of men like this.
America is 150 years removed from combat on our soil. We have grown so comfortable that we have lost sight of reality with respect to the human relationship with violence.
One of the historical cycles I have learned since my honorable discharge in 1999 is that the deeds of hard men create good times. Good times create soft men, and their arrogance creates hard times. The cycle then repeats, and the only solution to breaking it lies in embracing the idea that “if you want peace, prepare for war”.
An armed society really is a polite society. If we were to beat our swords into plowshares, there is a 100% certainty we would plow for those who did not. Those who demean men who maintain a relationship with violence are seeking to enslave you.
I have heard people demean veterans in all sorts of arguments that hold them responsible for wars started by civilian politicians, and even their general martial attitude, as if being drawn to a warrior lifestyle makes them bloodthirsty.
These self righteous and short-sighted people, so insulated from the realities of history and the dark side of mankind, cannot understand that we will never BE free without these men, neither will never STAY free withoyt them.
In addition, if we demean them, we will lose the most powerful tool we could ever wield against the military industrial complex in the political world.
Libertarian hipsters clad in skinny jeans and sarcastic know-it-alls parroting Frankfurt School talking points will never convince the body politic to abandon our ignorant and unconstitutional foreign policy.
The voice we need are the voices of veterans, the ones who have BEEN THERE. This group has the best chance of success in explaining the futility of spreading “Democracy” at gunpoint around the globe.
We need them, and we should respect them, recruit them to the LP, and honor them. Active duty military overwhelmingly supported Ron Paul, and support Johnson over Trump and Hillary.
It is not the soldier, who agrees to follow orders that may get him killed in an act of sacrifice for his fellow Americans, who deserves our scorn. Instead, think about the type of person who would squander the lives of such special people for profit.
The warrior class does not purchase the equipment, with money stolen from the people, to protect other countries. They do not meddle in the affairs of other nations for economic or religious motives. That is the realm of the political class.
Let us join together and tell the warmongers in Washington D.C., that to disrespect the blood of the brave is high treason.
Let the nations veterans lead the charge, and demand they bring our brothers and sisters home to their families.
Our military and veterans will lay on grenades, or call in the airstrike on themselves to save you from an invading force. Daily, a choice is made to risk faulty ordinance, gunfire, bombs, snipers, friendly fire, and whatever horrors of battle that must be endure to protect your life and liberty.
We are that portion of men, compelled through the ages, to be the protector. In each generation, we have died,so the rest may live.
Make sure every time that body count number on your TV news goes up, that you remember it represents a person, with a family, that you will never get to meet.
Let us HONOR our warriors, by only asking them to sacrifice for a real threat.
In service of this idea, I hereby announce the founding of the Libertarian Party Veterans Caucus, dedicated to enlisting libertarian veterans for deployment against the politicians who have betrayed our founding principles. We have honored our oaths, and demand Congress and the President do the same.
Spit on Politicians, not Soldiers.
About the author:
Ryan Ramsey is a US Navy Veteran and lifelong political activist. He Chairs the Bradford County Affiliate and Represents the nine counties of Region 4 for the Libertarian Party of Florida.
In addition, he hosts “Global Dissident Voices” and “Sons and Daughters of Liberty Radio” on the SDL Radio Network.
He sits on the National Council of the SDL, is the Director of The Florida Liberty Project, founder of Jacksonville Open Carry, and the singer and guitarist of the “Rock Against Communism” band “Lovecrime”.