Thursday, April 5, 2012

Political Speech and U.S. Troops, Part II

I recently wrote about the seeming double standard that the U.S. has for some Troops over others. The good news is that I’m not the only one who is concerned with this.

Marine veteran and Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) wrote a letter to the Marine Corps requesting that it stop the discharge of Gary Stein (the Marine who expressed his opinions regarding the President online).

Rep. Hunter’s letter specifically states:
As you are well aware, the Department of Defense (DoD) issued Directive Number 1344.10 regarding First Amendment rights to speech and other activities. However, this policy is both vague and contradictory in the context of new “social media.” In fact, nothing in the directive actually mentions social media and what activity is or is not approved for active duty servicemembers.
I can vouch from an Army perspective that military guidelines on free speech and Servicemen are vague and contradictory at best. Furthermore, enforcement of any such rules seems arbitrary. Consider the Soldier the Army punished for appearing on stage at a Ron Paul rally. It’s true that the Army could cite the following portion (Section 1-10) of AR 670-1 (“Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia”) to back its decision:
j. Wearing Army uniforms is prohibited in the following situations:
(1) In connection with the furtherance of any political or commercial interests, or when engaged in off-duty civilian employment. 
(2) When participating in public speeches, interviews, picket lines, marches, rallies, or public demonstrations, except as authorized by competent authority. 
(3) When attending any meeting or event that is a function of, or is sponsored by, an extremist organization.
(4) When wearing the uniform would bring discredit upon the Army.
(5) When specifically prohibited by Army regulations.
Yet then one has to ask why the Army would allow two Muslim soldiers to appear on Al-Jazeera to denounce the United States. True, at least one of them received authorization from a competent authority (his command). However, one could then question why his command would authorize him to denounce the U.S. on a terrorist-supporting network, something that would appear to violate items (3) and (4) in the above list.

Furthermore, refer back to what a military court thought about a Marine who did a commercial pornography film while wearing Marine uniform items:

For instance, as was mentioned in the “Suits & Sentences” blog, the opinion states:
“We are also not satisfied, on the basis of this record, that the appellant’s statements or wear of uniform items may create an inference of service endorsement of the activities depicted. The appellant never wore a complete ‘uniform,’ so the general public could never receive ‘visual evidence of the authority and responsibility vested in the individual by the United States Government.’ He did not voice any Marine support for what he was doing or any service views on the propriety or impropriety of his conduct.”
So if a Marine wearing uniform items while doing a sodomite porn video might not be a violation of military guidelines/law, then perhaps the Soldier at the Ron Paul rally wasn’t “really” wearing a full uniform. (Did he at any point wear any headgear?)

On top of all this, recall that the DoD seemingly disobeys the law when it is politically correct to do so. Remember, when news emerged that active duty troops marched in a sodomite-pride parade even as the so-called DADT still was in effect? Here’s how the DoD allegedly responded to this breaking of the law:
Although “don’t ask, don’t tell” technically is still the law, Defense Department spokeswoman Eileen Lainez said just before the parade that the court’s reinstatement of the law did not change DoD’s current policy that discharges and investigations of gay service members remain suspended.
And consider what the DoD currently is doing. Sodomites broke the law when the misnamed DADT was still in effect, and yet now the DoD is bringing them back into service—even as it is cutting other law-abiding Servicemen in light of the austerity measures that Congress mandated. Furthermore, the DoD is seemingly breaking current law by bringing sodomites back into service since it still is illegal to engage in sodomy under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). This apparent contempt for the law becomes even more unbelievable at a time when the Army has implemented its Army Profession Campaign (part of the Center for the Army Profession and Ethic) which is emphasizing professionalism, discipline, ethics, and morality amongst its Troops.

So I fully support what Rep. Duncan is doing. And the questions I raised need answered. And if what is being done now doesn’t stop and the rule of law and morality don’t come back into play, then we as a nation will have firmly established that not only are we a post-Constitutional nation, but we are an anarchic nation where law and morality are held in contempt while those who wield the weapons of political correctness and outright brute force rule supreme.

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