U.S. Army Maj. Stefan Frederick Cook filed a request last week in federal court seeking a temporary restraining order and status as a conscientious objector with the intent to stall and eventually prevent an upcoming deployment to Afghanistan.
In the 20-page document — filed July 8 with the United States District Court, Middle District of Georgia — Cook’s California-based attorney, Orly Taitz, asks the court to consider granting his client’s request based upon Cook’s belief that President Barrack Obama is not a natural-born citizen of the United States and is therefore ineligible to serve as commander-in-chief of U.S Armed Forces.
Cook further states he “would be acting in violation of international law by engaging in military actions outside the United States under this President’s command, and that Plaintiff would thus be simultaneously unable to perform his duties in good Rule 65(b) Application for Temporary Restraining Order 22 conscience and yet be simultaneously subjecting himself to possible prosecution as a war criminal by the faithful execution of these duties.”
I know that plenty of enterprising military members have used creative ways to try to get out of a deployment, and maybe Major Cook's lawsuit is just a new iteration of that sort of thing. Certainly only a handful of right-wing websites or blogs have continued to raise questions about whether Barack Obama was born in the United States and whether, if he was not, he is eligible to be president considering the "natural born citizen" requirement of the Constitution. Everyone else seems to consider the matter of Barack Obama's birth certificate a settled one.
And that's probably true. Except for one small detail: while plenty of people have seen Barack Obama's Certification of Live Birth, his actual birth certificate--the "long form" or "vault copy," as some call it--has not been publicly released.
Does that mean that the actual birth certificate would end up proving Major Cook's claim? Not necessarily. There are plenty of reasons why the Obama administration might not want the original birth certificate to become a matter of public record. It might, for instance, show some embarrassing fact or other about Obama's parents (such as their marital status) or some similar detail that Obama doesn't want to be in the public eye.
I can understand those sorts of considerations, even if I think the wiser tactic would be just to release the original birth certificate rather than fight lawsuit after lawsuit to keep the certificate sealed, as Obama's lawyers have done up to now. What's much odder to me is that this administration, which has promised to be an open book, has never released Obama's college records.
President Bush, after all, took a lot of grief from late-night comics and the media elite over his not-so-inspiring college grades. Other presidents have pointed to their academic records with pride, or at least with self-deprecation. But Barack Obama's college records are sealed. We don't know how well he did at Occidental College or Columbia University, let alone what his law school days at Harvard were like. We do know he graduated magna cum laude from Harvard, though, so clearly Obama's not hiding bad grades there, though he wouldn't be the first person to coast through undergrad work and then buckle down and get serious post-grad, if that turned out to be the case.
Why the secrecy? Why not inspire young men and women--particularly young African-American men, who absorb all sorts of negative cultural messages about college and hard work--by showing how he managed to get through school and get a law degree? Why cover up something that really should be open to the public?
I really can't think of any reason why a sitting president would continue to demand that his college records be kept sealed. I'm certain this level of secrecy would never be tolerated in a Republican administration--the news media would demand access to these records, and hint darkly on evening newscasts that the president must be hiding something damaging enough to avoid the traditional step of making his college records public. But the media has been inclined to avoid asking Barack Obama how his college grades were--or why he's never revealed them to the public. And in an administraton that promised "change," this change toward secrecy and a cover-up of something that's routinely revealed during most candidacies seems more than strange.