The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs said that comments by retired military that are partisan in nature erode public trust and he is against it. There are many holes in his thesis and I’ll cover them below. I will say upfront that active duty in uniform must never speak out concerning partisan politics in uniform or in any military related capacity and we honor and respect the lifetime of service to America by the General. It’s a clear breach of the UCMJ to speak out in public and it erodes good order in discipline at all levels but this is not the case. Now the issues I have with this statement he made.
First, to say as the DOD and VA do that it’s OK and we encourage you as a veteran that served to strap on the uniform and march in the local parade but thou shalt not speak out about politics is a clear violation of the first amendment and also a double standard. It says do things we approve of even in your post active duty life but shut up if it’s about politics.
Second, to imply it impacts on the profession of arms begs the question about union fire fighters in uniform in Wisconsin speaking out, marching and then even running for Lt. Gov after doing public speeches opposing Scott Walker in uniform as the union chief did in Wisconsin. How can one “profession” get a pass and another not?
Third, what about veterans that run for office, is stating their career on their political resume now off limits also because of “using the uniform”?
Next, this public trust issue. About 10% of the country is a veteran and they all have families (Mom-Dad, Son-Daughter, Husband-Wife, Brother-Sister) or about 70 million total another 25% of the population. So we are saying about one in three Americans should pipe down because it effects the public trust. Really, that’s your beef General Dempsey?
I’m sorry but the General got it wrong and all veterans earned the right to speak as veterans and speak openly (uniform or not) about how they feel. If your uniform is good enough to be buried in it’s good enough to speak your mind in about a core American thing…Democracy!
The General should walk his comment back or reaffirm that we veterans earned the 1st amendment (and all amendments) rights as our civilian friends and neighbors.
This is the position of the Armed Forces Tea Party