by Jack Minor,
for the Greeley Gazette
A former Greeley resident who is a highly decorated officer in the Army has become part of an ongoing national debate. Lt. Colonel Terrence Lakin, has refused to obey any and all orders until President Obama produces proof he is eligible to be the Commander in chief. Lakin, a flight surgeon charged with caring for Army Chief of Staff General George Casey’s pilots and air crew, said in a statement “For the first time in all my years of service to our great nation, and at great peril to my career and future, I am choosing to disobey what I believe are illegal orders, including an order to deploy to Afghanistan for my second tour of duty there.” Lakin was selected as the Army Medical Department’s Flight Surgeon of the Year for 2004.
The issue of eligibility arrives from the qualification listed for president in the United States Constitution. Article II, Section 1, Clause5 states “no person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of 35 years and been 14 years a resident within the United States.” According to a Military Times survey, 6 out of 10 U.S. Soldiers are “pessimistic” or “uncertain” that Barack Obama is eligible to serve as Commander In Chief of America’s armed forces. Another recent survey found that nearly one in three Americans said they believed that President Obama was not born in this country. The most vocal of those who question the President’s eligibility under this clause have been derisively labeled “birthers” by many in the mainstream media. However, this group of critics actually encompasses several different theories. Some critics believe the president is a British subject, while others believe he was born in Kenya. The third group states they do not know, they merely want to see proof of the President’s US citizenship.
In response to questions regarding eligibility, President Obama’s campaign and administration have posted online images of a document that is purported to be the president’s Certificate Of Live Birth (COLB) from the State of Hawaii. Critics have stated at the time of the President’s birth, Hawaii was issuing COLB for children not born in the state. They say the true “long-form” birth certificate, which includes information such as the name of the birth hospital in attending physician, is the only document that can prove Obama was born in Hawaii. To this day, President Obama has not permitted the release of this long-form birth certificate for public or press scrutiny. The birth certificate is part of a longer list of documents, the President has not released to the public. This list includes his Columbia University records and thesis papers, his kindergarten records, Harvard Law School records, Harvard Law Review articles, passport, medical records and files from his years as an Illinois state senator.
In reporting the issue, military.com states the issue is that Lt. Col. Lakin has simply refused to deploy to Afghanistan. Margaret Hemenway, who is acting as spokesman for the case said that is not true. “It is not just an issue of deployment,” she said. “He is refusing to obey all orders, that’s what makes this case different. There have been other members of the armed forces who have refused deployment orders on this basis and the Pentagon simply changed their orders to cancel the deployment.” She went on to say Lakin reached out to official channels, requesting the documentation showing Obama was qualified to be the Commander-in-Chief, but was rebuffed at every turn. Because of this he feels he has no choice but to disobey what he considers to be illegitimate orders. Hemenway says the issue is important because “the constitution still matters in this country.”
The eligibility issue has also been the subject of numerous lawsuits, however to date none of them has reached the discovery phase which would require the President to produce documentation. Currently the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear one such case on June 29.
In spite of a concerted effort to silence the eligibility critics, several factors continue to keep this issue alive. First is simply the President’s refusal to make public all the documents that could silence the critics. Instead, the administration has spent at least $1.7 million in legal costs to defend against all requests for the documentation. In addition, many foreign news sources have reported that Obama was born overseas. The Kenyan Observer in 2008 made reference to “the Kenyan born senator.” African Travel Magazine declared “as Kenyan born, US Senator Barrack Obama gets into Kenya today…” The issue has also been kept alive by WorldNetDaily (WND), the number one news site on the internet. Joseph Farah, the founder of WND has over 25 years of newspaper experience including editor in chief of several major market dailies. Farah said in response to the issue “never have I stated that Obama was not born in the United States. I have been outspoken in calling for Obama to release his original birth certificate. Calling for public officials to release personal documents, especially when they are critical to establishing constitutional eligibility to serve, is not akin to fostering conspiracy theories. It is called good citizenship.”
State Rep. Jim Riesberg said he had no reason to doubt Obama’s eligibility to be president and that releasing the long form birth certificate would probably still not satisfy the critics.In an attempt to put the controversy to rest several states have proposed laws requiring election officials to verify eligibility going forward. Currently there is no legal requirement to verify the eligibility of a candidate for President.
Meanwhile, in a video posted on YouTube, Lakin asks the president to release the one document that would put this issue to rest once and for all. “President Obama, I ask you to respect and uphold the Constitution. Be transparent and show your honesty and integrity. Release your original, signed birth certificate, if you have one, thus proving your birth on American soil, and thus assure the American people that you are lawfully eligible to hold the office of the presidency and serve as commander in chief of the Armed Forces.”
Obama birth certificate – Army Dr. Terry Lakin, examines the partially amputated finger of an Afghan man who assists in collecting unexploded ordinance at Kandahar Airfield
– Army Dr. Terry Lakin, examines the amputated finger of an Afghan man in Kandaha