The PJ Tatler

'Veterans in Defense of Liberty' Rises Up to Give Veterans a New Voice in the American Conversation

When men and women join the American military, they take an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies. It’s an oath we all take very seriously, but when they leave the service, many veterans lose a tangible way to continue to fulfill it. They also lose the brotherhood and camaraderie that go along with serving our country in the armed services. A new veterans group, called Veterans in Defense of Liberty, has risen up to fill both voids.

Dr. Scott Magill, founder and executive director of Veterans in Defense of Liberty, served in the Marine Corps from 1965 to 1971, and then in the Army Medical Corps from 1981 to 1988. He says the new group fulfills a longstanding need.

“Never in the history of the world has there been an organization to allow veterans to continue to honor the oath they took to defend the Constitution against all enemies. For years veterans have been crying out, saying ‘What can we do?'”

Magill says there are currently 28 million veterans in the United States. Many belong to groups like the Veterans of Foreign Wars or the American Legion, or to no group at all. VDL (or “ViDoL) is not just another veterans group that functions as a social club or lobbying arm to defend veterans in federal budget battles. Magill says ViDoL is a veterans’ group with a clearly defined mission: Restore the constitutional republic that veterans spend years, and devote their blood and lives, to defend.

Dr. Magill: “You can poo-poo the Tea Parties as we’re seeing people on the left do today, but let them try to denigrate our 28 million veterans. It doesn’t take a large percentage of that number to stand up and say ‘We will take back our constitutional republic’ for us to have an impact.

“We’re going to accomplish that by several means. We have a lot of educating to do. We have to educate ourselves and the public as to why the Constitution is important.”

Quoting Daniel Webster, that should the Constitution fail there will be anarchy throughout the world, Dr. Magill cited the need for veterans to stand up and be counted. One way Veterans in Defense of Liberty plans to do that is to educate active duty military serving in the continental United States (CONUS in military-speak) on voting. Dr. Magill says that just 11% of active duty military across CONUS voted in the 2010 elections, and just 30% voted in 2008. He cited various reasons for the low voting rate, including the fact that many active duty are young and have not yet established the habit of voting before being stationed away from home around the country. ViDoL will educate and register active duty military to vote where they’re stationed, to make an impact on their host states.

ViDoL is also working on a way to fight the politicization of naming Navy ships. In 2010, the Navy named the LPD-26 the USS John Murtha, after the late congressman known for smearing US Marines serving in Haditha, Iraq; and in 2011 it named the USNS Cesar Chavez after a leftist labor leader who had no connection to the military at all. Both namings angered veterans across the country. VDL has a remedy that’s working its way through Congress, which would take the naming duties out of political hands and put them in the hands of veterans groups, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society and the Military Order of the Purple Heart. Veterans should get a say in the images and names that the military projects now and into the future, Magill says.

Though the group has only existed since September 2010, it has already had an impact. When the Veterans of Foreign Wars PAC endorsed liberal Democrats Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi in the 2010 elections, ViDoL stood up and opposed those endorsements. The VFW PAC eventually dissolved over the issue.

Veterans in Defense of Liberty’s board includes Dr. Magill at the helm, along with Medal of Honor recipient Major General James Livingston, Kris Kobach, Sharron Angle, Jim Robbins and others. With its focus on constitutional issues, it aims to be more than your average veterans group. As one Vietnam veteran explained when he joined, VDL finally gives him sense of legacy.

It’s that legacy that drives Dr. Magill: “It is an honor to be surrounded by men and women who understand not only the rights but also the responsibilities, which come with liberty. To be in the company of those who understand that unless we exercise those responsibilities the rights will soon dissolve into history, thereby leaving our children, our grandchildren and their grandchildren, devoid of the understanding of either.

“Veterans in Defense of Liberty provides the love and brotherhood we shared in the military, the ability to come together again, with a mission that allows vets to fulfill their oath to the Constitution. No other group does this. Long after we’re gone, Veterans in Defense of Liberty will exist to make sure these threats to the Constitution we see now will never happen again.”