Saturday, January 7, 2012

Keep The Military Out of Politics


I was watching the Iowa Caucus the other night.  When it was Ron Paul's turn to mount the stage to thank and acknowledge his campaign for their efforts,  he made a brief speech, then beckoned to a uniformed military member to the stage to "rally the troops".

This sent the blood boiling of about 5 million veterans as well as those on active duty.  One of the military's most honored traditions is that we serve our country and we obey the orders of the Commander in Chief, without reservation.  We do so whether we agree or disagree with the politics of our President.  He is our President and he represents the American people.  We, in the military, are honored professionals.  When we signed that military contract we promised to protect and defend the constitution of the United States.

We are further bound by the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).  The UCMJ specifically forbids any military member from appearing at political events in uniform.  This military member violated not only the code but he violated our honor bound commitment to rise above party politics.  That's one of the reasons the American people hold the military in high regard.

In no way does the UCMJ forbid military members from participating in political events.  It simply says when you do, you attend in civilian attire.  As every other American we are free to participate in the voting process.  After all, one of our prime obligations is to serve and protect so that all Americans are free to express their own ideas and for the freedom to choose our leaders.

Airman Thorson violated the sacred trust that America places in the military.  Ron Paul, who served in the Air Force and is well aware of these UCMJ restrictions, chose politics over honor in allowing this breech of military law and tradition.  But even more disgusting was Airman's Thorson's political rant in the uniform that is meant to be worn with honor.

During my military career I served under Commander in Chiefs whom I did not support politically.  However, I never allowed my political views to interfere with my professional commitment to defend our nation, without regard for who's occupying our nation's leadership positions.

Airman Thorson needs to be prosecuted under the UCMJ for this breech of honor, so that it may never happen again.  It was a sleazy political episode and I was extremely embarrassed to see it happen.

Our loyalty belongs to no one but the American people and their chosen leaders...and no one else.


grenadavet said...

Well, Just, in theory you are correct. In reality, the military, all through history, has been the point of the sword for political agenda. This as true as the fact that violence DOES settle things- no matter what anyone says to the contrary. Remember "Et tu,Brutus". If these weren't the case, there would be no need for a standing military, and our politicians could solve things be diplomatic means. Unfortunately, America has proven to be just as imperialistic and hegemonic as any other political power, with exception of some small Indo-Chinese and African dictatorships that just want to be left to themselves.
Ideology counts,usually with the point of a sword.

JustCommonSense said...

I respectfully disagree, my friend. Were we imperialistic and "hedgemonic" we would have claimed Japan for our own following WWII, we would not have given up a "won" territory in the Phillipines, and we would have claimed the rewards of victory when we were the only ones who possessed an atom bomb.

As to the military, your very comments prove my point. We follow the orders of the Commander in Chief and we damn sure don't don our uniform and go out campaigning for a political candidate.

JustCommonSense said...

Just wanted to add Grenada vet, we came home after victories; we didn't claim the spoils of war. Even more miraculous, we spent 20% of our entire GDP for five years following WWII in building back Japan and rebuilding Europe under the Marshall Plan. There has never been a more wonderful group of human beings than are Americans. Never in human history has a nation did so much for others, whether it be fighting world hunger or aiding in world health organizations.

grenadavet said...

I can see I hit a nerve. Just how did we acquire the Phillipines, Samoa,Guam,the Hawaiian Islands, Puerto Rico,etc, without being imperialistic and hegemonic? The current wars we are waging are by their very nature hegemonic-democracy at gunpoint,which we should have bloody well learned doesn't work. Remember Nam? The "fight against Communism" also means "accept democracy". T oo bad freeing the oppressed only works if they want to be free. I wholeheartedly agree with your comments on the great things we have done for the world after WWII. As far as rebuilding Europe and Japan, that was just good economic sense:it put Americans to work. As far as coming home, we maintained a military presence in Japan and the ETO for many years, just as we do South Korea. Truman used our only viable atomic weapons at the time to send a signal to the Soviets who were busy annexing Europe and had designs on China. The excuse that they were neccessary to defeat Japan is a farce; the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey stated that we caused far more damage with our conventional bombing raids. Besides, an invasion of the Japanese mainland was totally unneccessary;we could have sat back and just waited. They were already defeated.No,I must say that history is written by the victors, and all isn't as it seems. Please don't get me wrong, I love my country, but the truth is the truth. I also feel that as CITIZEN-SOLDIERS, we should have the right to openly and freely endorse what ever candidate we so choose. BTW, the UCMJ reg you state, I believe is a specification that a service member shall not conduct public business in daily work uniform, i.e., ACU's or BDU'S or what ever the term is for utilities. Please clarify with the article and paragraph number.

JustCommonSense said...

No, you didn't hit a nerve, grenadavet. We'll just agree to disagree on this one. i've always appreciated hearing your point of view. Thanks for your comments.