Friday, March 30, 2012

Political Speech and U.S. Troops

U.S. Troops have been getting in trouble for political speech during the past few months. First, there was the Soldier who appeared on stage in uniform at a Ron Paul rally. Then, a Marine got in trouble for his opinions.

It’s interesting how things change in just a few years. You see, a few years back U.S. Muslim soldier Nasser Abdo appeared on Al-Jazeera TV (in full uniform) to denounce the U.S. Abdo never got in trouble for doing this; he only got in trouble after the government allegedly found him in possession of child porn and later still after he allegedly planned to massacre U.S. Troops a la Nidal Hasan.

On or about the same time, U.S. Muslim soldier Zachari Klawonn went on Al-Jazeera TV (in full uniform) to denounce the U.S.

And if is accurate, not only did Klawonn not get in trouble for doing this, the Army actually approved his right to do what he did. From

A spokesman for Fort Hood told that, as an American, Klawonn had a right to express his views and that he had informed his commanding officer that he was going to appear on Al-Jazeera. The spokesman said the Army did not agree with what Klawonn said.
Also from
Chris Haug, Army branch chief of media relations for Fort Hood, told that Klawonn has the right to share his personal opinions with the media, even though the Army disagrees with the statements Klawonn made, which Haug said were “inaccurate.”

“He’s an American citizen” Haug said. “As long as there is no security risk, the military can’t stop him from speaking to groups like Al-Jazeera or saying these type of things.”

Haug said Klawonn informed his battalion commander that he would be speaking to Al-Jazeera.

“(Klawonn) informed Lt. Col. Douglas White about this interview on August 24th at 8:23 a.m.,” Haug said. “He expressed an interest in raising the Muslim awareness around the post--to express a positive image for Muslims, and so forth. He’s been working directly with our spiritual fitness center. There’s been quite a bit of movement in terms of movement in the Muslim community in a very positive way.”

That was 2010. The rules are no longer the same.

Various Milbloggers have ridiculed and/or condemned the Soldier at the Paul rally and the Marine who expressed his opinions, saying that Troops do not have the same free speech rights as civilians. And I’m sure people will find minor details on how Abdo’s and Klawonn’s cases are different from what the Paul supporter and Marine did, and therefore they will claim the Muslim soldiers were right while the Paul supporter and Marine were wrong. I get that. And I get that there used to be a standard for what Troops could and could not do.

But what we are witnessing is Alinsky-ism at its finest: use our own morals/standards to destroy us. In other words, the left is counting on conservatives and others who are Right-of-left to condemn and destroy anyone (Right or left) who speaks contrary to the leftist agenda while currently serving in the Armed Forces (even while not in uniform). At the same time, the left will never do the same. The left is counting on conservatives saying, “Just because they aren’t doing the right thing doesn’t give us the right to do the wrong thing too. We’re better than that.” This behavior is entirely acceptable and correct in a civil society or when dealing on an individual basis. But it is completely unacceptable—indeed, suicidal—when reacting to a tactic that is being used as a weapon in a war (yes, a war) to destroy us in a completely uncivil society. And that is exactly what is happening in America today: leftists are forcing conservatives to play by a set of rules designed to cripple and destroy us even as they have no intention of doing the same.

Thankfully, some conservatives seem to recognize this tactic. OneNewsNow reports on how the American Civil Rights Union (ACRU) is voicing support for the Marine (and noting double standards). And The Marine Corps Times is reporting on how Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA)—himself a Marine veteran—isn’t ready to roll over on this issue either. Congratulations to these conservatives; it is encouraging to see that not all of us are yet ready to surrender on this issue.

Personally, I have thought about how U.S. Troops can avoid this new crackdown on speech—at least how Reservists and Guardsmen can. Running for office provides a Reservist or Guardsman a whole lot more leeway of what he can and cannot say; what he can and cannot do. And with this in mind, for such Troops who realize what is going on and what is at stake, running for office (even if one thinks his chances of winning are slim) is a legal and moral way to get the same speech rights that American civilians enjoy . . . including American civilians who regularly cheer for our death and defeat, and otherwise hate our guts.

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