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Army ‘Birther’ Changes Course, Says He’d Deploy

FORT MEADE, Md. (AP) — An Army doctor who disobeyed orders to deploy to Afghanistan because he questioned President Barack Obama’s eligibility to be commander in chief told a jury Wednesday he was wrong to do so and would now deploy if he could.

Lt. Col. Terrence Lakin was speaking during a court martial hearing Wednesday at Fort Meade.

In videos posted on YouTube earlier this year, Lakin aligned himself with the so-called “birther” movement, which questions whether Obama is a natural-born citizen as the U.S. Constitution requires for presidents. Lakin had said he would “gladly deploy” if Obama’s original birth certificate were released and proved authentic.

On Wednesday, however, Lakin reversed course, saying he would now deploy even with his question unanswered.

He faces up to 3 1/2 years in a military prison and dismissal from the Army after being found guilty of missing a flight that would have gotten him to his eventual deployment and pleading guilty to disobeying orders to meet with a superior and to report to Fort Campbell in Kentucky. He asked the jury to let him remain in the Army when it decides his punishment, and jurors are expected to begin deliberating on his sentence Thursday.

“I don’t want it to end this way,” said Lakin, a 17-year veteran of the Army. “I want to continue to serve.”

Under questioning by his defense attorney, Neal Puckett, Lakin expressed remorse for disobeying orders. He said he now understands that the Army cannot answer his question about Obama’s eligibility to be president and that it was not the appropriate place to raise the issue.

“I was wrong for trying to push this issue within the Army,” he said.

Puckett asked him why.

“That’s my duty. It’s what I’ve trained for. I’m in the Army,” he replied.

“Are we done disobeying orders, Lt. Col. Lakin?” his attorney asked him.

“Yes,” Lakin replied.

Officials in Hawaii say they have seen and verified Obama’s original 1961 birth certificate, which is on record with that state. His birth was also noted in the “births” column in a Hawaiian newspaper.

But birthers have not been satisfied with that assurance or the “Certification of Live Birth” Obama has released. The certification is a digital document that is a record of a person’s birth in the state, but the certificate does not list the name of the hospital where Obama’s mother gave birth or the physician who delivered him.

Lakin explained that he tried for two years to figure out to whom in the Army he could raise his questions about Obama’s eligibility but that he was not given guidance what he should do. He acknowledged he used his deployment as a way to raise the issue and that he knew when he disobeyed orders that his “career was over.”

Also Wednesday the jury heard testimony from two men who had served with Lakin. They described him as a compassionate physician, someone who gave therapeutic massages to soldiers on his own time and who always volunteered to help out. But military prosecutors also put on the stand the doctor that was sent to Afghanistan in Lakin’s place as well as his wife, also a doctor with the military. They testified about the last-minute nature of the deployment and how it affected their lives.

A number of supporters who have been present throughout the court martial, which began Tuesday, said they were disappointed with the court martial and the fact that a military judge refused to let Lakin present evidence about Obama’s birth certificate during it, an order she gave in September. But after testimony Wednesday they said they continued to support Lakin.

Kate Vandemoer of North Dakota said Lakin “took a very dangerous step” when he disobeyed orders and said she hopes his current defense works for him. Another supporter, Rudy Davis of Texas, said that even if Lakin does nothing else he has “done more than anyone else in this country” to ask questions about Obama’s eligibility to be president.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Comments

One Comment

  1. Anna Renault says:

    There is certainly a right way and a wrond way to question the legailty of Obama’s election… disobeying direct orders is NOT one of them!

  2. Jason says:

    Anna, he has the responsibility to ensure that his orders are from the proper authority. He can’t just do everything he is ordered to by everyone. Obama is commander in chief. Lakin is one of the few people who can question Obama’s authority. I expect the challenge to fail, but I believe he is doing the right thing. If Obama is not a citizen, then his orders are invalid, and Lakin has no business following orders from him.

    1. E in MD says:

      Jason if every soldier in the military felt the way that this one LTC felt and then acted like he did, would it be you that would be going over to fight in our battles and wars?

    2. socialworker508 says:

      Hi Jason your very well versed but that’s just not howe things work in the military. Here read this:

      “I, _____ (SSAN), having been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of _____ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God.” (DA Form 71, 1 August 1959, for officers.)

  3. E in MD says:

    This story is a disgrace, being a former soldier, I did not agree with everything that I had to do while I was in but when you take the oath, you accept the good and the bad. I got out during our last president’s tenure and while there were definitely issues and situations I disagreed with in his 2 terms, I still had to “suck it up and drive on” as they say. I also believe that he just doesn’t want to go back to Afghanistan.

    Ps. If President Obama had not cleared every check done for presidents previously then he would not be in office. If McCain had won the election would this LTC have disobeyed orders from him being that McCain is a naturalized citizen from Panama? I just don’t buy it! Throw the book, chair AND table at this clown!!!

    1. socialworker508 says:

      BRAVO E in MD well written!!!! Thank you for your prior service.

      “I, _____ (SSAN), having been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of _____ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God.” (DA Form 71, 1 August 1959, for officers.)

      I must have missed the President Obama revision.

      ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?? Where is the rational in this man’s thinking? Fine, you don’t like President Obama and you don’t think he was born here….you still have an obligation to adhere to your orders to go to the Middle East. A war I might add that the former moronic, inarticulate president crafted and or declared with good reason Man up get some brass and defend your country. Excuses are tools of the incompetent buddy……

      Take his rank, pension, and his his license to practice. DUMBA$$

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