By Jack Cashill
July 5, 2012
Former Lt. Col. Terry Lakin knows what despair feels like. He felt it full-bore on a late December day in 2010. Having been stripped of his rank, income, benefits, pension, and authority at court martial, this much-honored 17-year U.S. Army veteran was about to lose his freedom.
The good doctor had refused deployment to Afghanistan. He had been there before in his role as flight surgeon and would have been happy to go again. He had his bags packed and was ready to leave. All he asked from his commander-in-chief before boarding the plane was a sign, a nod to the constitutional niceties, a show of his birth certificate. It was not forthcoming.
Now, Lakin was on his way to Fort Leavenworth's Joint Regional Correctional Facility. Of all his hardship deployments, Bosnia included, this would be the hardest. After he bid a tearful farewell to his wife and three young children, his military minders chained his hands together and attached those chains to a band around his waist. They chained his legs and attached those, too. They then loaded him into a van and drove him to Reagan National.
There, Lakin endured his ultimate humiliation: a seemingly endless perp walk -- a shuffle really -- through a concourse filled with flags and patriotic bunting and the happy sight of returning soldiers. None of the display had lost its appeal, but Lakin could not overlook the irony of his being chained and bound amidst it all.