Thursday, June 12, 2008

Isn't The Army Supposed To Stay Out Of Politics?

From what I was taught in my government classes, the army is supposed to exist to protect the freedom to engage in politics, not participate in them directly. Sure everyone has their own views, whether they are in the army or not. Yet when the public affairs office links to articles that say President Obama is in essence surrendering to our enemies, that is way over the line.

From The Washington Post:

The Army's public affairs office publishes a daily roundup of Army-related news called "Stand To" -- named for the set of procedures combat units do just prior to dawn, when they go to full alert for a possible enemy attack. The daily wrapup contains links to mainstream media articles, Army press releases, foreign media stories and blogs. It's similar to the Defense Department's Early Bird -- but much briefer, and obviously more focused on the Army.

Tuesday's edition contained an entry under "WHAT'S BEING SAID IN BLOGS" that struck me as unusual -- both for its headline and its patent political bias:

Obama: World peace thru surrender (KDIHH)[...]

Seriously? Have any of these people actually read the Obama defense policy papers or speeches -- or are they simply going on what they hear on Fox News and the Limbaugh network?

And more to the point, why is the Army's official in-house public affairs shop linking to this kind of stuff? Just a few weeks ago, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told all hands to stay out of politics: "As the nation prepares to elect a new president, we would all do well to remember the promises we made: to obey civilian authority, to support and defend the Constitution and to do our duty at all times.... Keeping our politics private is a good first step." He added: "The only things we should be wearing on our sleeves are our military insignia."

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is absolutely right. Politics stays private when holding a gun (or a nuclear arsenal) to protect the country. Otherwise we'd just be another military dictatorship. Now we wouldn't want to fulfill President Bush's desires, would we?