Here’s an interesting thing

bringing several interesting questions along with it

Thousands are expected to gather in Washington DC on Presidents’ Day on Monday in an effort to demonstrate to the American public that Ron Paul is the clear choice of the troops.

…On Thursday, the military issued a warning to the organizers of the march (who are not affiliated with or funded by the Paul campaign) and reminded them of DoD Directive 1344.10 paragraph 4.1.2.10 that restricts active duty personnel from participating in political marches that could be viewed as an official endorsement of a candidate, whether dressed in uniform or civilian clothes. Kokesh and Cox have encouraged attendees to act according to their own conscience. In a message on the Facebook event page, they wrote,

It is an absurd proposition to say that members of the military supporting candidates in uniform would be construed to represent official positions of the government and rules regarding free speech for members of the military have only been used to silence dissent and keep the true will of the troops from being relevant in the American political discourse. Well, NOT ANY MORE!

*
From: Weger, Joel A CIV OGC, Ethics [mailto:joel.weger@NAVY.MIL]
Sent: Thursday, February 16, 2012 8:17
To: ETHICS@LISTSERV.LAW.NAVY.MIL
Subject: [ETHICS] Partisan Political March
Importance: High
It has come to our attention that a partisan political march targeting military personnel is being organized for February 20, 2012. See link
below: http://www.facebook.com/events/192677970828185/?ref=notif&notif_t=event_invite

As a reminder, active duty personnel are prohibited by DoD Directive 1344.10 paragraph 4.1.2.10 from marching in a partisan political parade regardless of whether they are in uniform or civilian clothes. Reservists not on active duty and retirees may not march in uniform pursuant to paragraph 4.1.4. Reservists not on active duty and retirees may march in civilian clothes provided that they do not otherwise act in a manner that could reasonably give rise to the inference or appearance of official sponsorship, approval, or endorsement.

The directive is a lawful general regulation. Violations of paragraphs 4.1. through 4.5. of the Directive by persons subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice are punishable under Article 92, “Failure to Obey Order or Regulation.”

In addition, DODI 1334.01, paragraph 3.1.2 prohibits the wearing of the uniform by members of the armed forces (including retired members and members of reserve components) during or in connection with political activities.

You may wish to advise your command regarding this particular event because of the apparent solicitation of active duty personnel.

Joel A. Weger
Senior Attorney
Department of the Navy
Office of the Assistant General Counsel (Ethics)

That policy was put in place for a reason. This country established that the Civilians would be in charge of the Military for a reason.

Yet Weger specifically said “parade:” I assume for a reason. Does that mean a “gathering” would be viewed differently?

I’m interested in the impressions and views of those who have waaaay more experience and historic background than I on this…

I will also be interested to see the coverage — if any — by the LSM. This seems to be a significant symptom of Teh Times.

Finish your assignment! »

This fella seems to be the organizer:

Dear President Obama,
I am writing to you as just one veteran, just one man, but today, you may see that I am joined by many more. We gather today before you in support of Ron Paul and not because we think he would merely be a better administrator of government than you, but because we believe your policies to be fundamentally immoral. We are demanding peaceful, orderly change through the ballot box.

We are gathered here today as active duty service members and veterans exercising the right to self-expression that we all have risked our lives to protect. Something you’ve never done in uniform. The military you command has made attempts to silence us, not just in the existing codes and regulations intended to suppress the dissent in the ranks, but also in direct warnings that your officers have issued to the troops who would be with us today – who would speak out against the status quo – who would challenge the man – who would speak a desperately needed truth, to a desperately delusional power!

Do not think for one second that you can silence this voice! Do not dare whisper the command to silence this voice! Do not deny that Ron Paul is the choice of the troops! You are not wanted as, you are not respected as, and you are not fit to be, the commander-in-chief of this great force of America’s finest who would lay down their lives to defend you.

As you have warned us about petty regulations, I too have a warning for you, Mr. President. We can do this the easy way, or the hard way. If elections in this country are halfway fair or transparent, and the GOP supports the troops enough to listen to them, Ron Paul will be the nominee of the Republican Party and you will be a one term President!

But if they’re not. If the voice of the people is not heard and the voice of the troops is not respected, we’ll be back. These veterans aren’t going away. And if you should decide against what I have no doubt is your better judgement, that you can allow just one of these people here today to suffer for exercising the rights that you swore to defend when you took office, if we are denied the peaceful change we demand, I promise you this: we’re going to be doing this the hard way.

Yours in liberty,
Adam Kokesh

20 Comments!

  1. Posted February 20, 2012 at 10:58 am |

    Methinks that ol’Adam just got himself added to a List.

  2. Ironic in Denver
    Posted February 20, 2012 at 11:20 am |

    Claire, I’m not the expert you’re looking for, but for what it’s worth, I think this thing is Not Good both in respect to the event itself and to a general view that is growing in our society.

    We’ve already got an administration (and indeed an entire political party) who thinks that the ends justify the means to the extent that the actions of the President can, and I’m being kind here, be “extra-constitutional.” We’ve seen a similar attitude in a Pelosi congress.

    Now we’ve got an alleged libertarian (conservative?) political movement that seeks to draw the military into politics, which should have any sane person’s first reflexive thought be: “banana republic!”

    However well intended the first step, this is a slippery slope.

    It’s not that I fear a military coup is right around the corner.

    It’s the growing attitude in many parts of society that breaking the rules and disrupting the fabric of our democracy is all right, as long as it’s for whatever cause some think is good.

    I’m pressed for time, writing badly, and perhaps not quite getting to the heart of this. I hope some other people here will do a better job in discussing it.

    OBTW: not that I think this is the case here, of course; but if I were a political activist who wanted to further discredit the Republican party and/or conservative movements with the general voting population, I might think of promoting something like this…..

  3. Stix1972 (Honey Badger doesn't give a shit)
    Posted February 20, 2012 at 11:54 am |

    Kokesh was thrown out of the Military basically and is a big time douchebag and works for the Propaganda tv station Russia TV put on by Pooty Poot

  4. Ironic in Denver
    Posted February 20, 2012 at 12:08 pm |

    Don’t suppose Adam is David’s brother?

  5. snap-e-tom
    Posted February 20, 2012 at 12:16 pm |

    You can read it on line.

    4.1.2. A member of the Armed Forces on active duty shall not:

    4.1.2.10. March or ride in a partisan political parade.

    Seems pretty clear to me.

  6. ZZMike
    Posted February 20, 2012 at 12:25 pm |

    Stix1972 : Kokesh is either “an anti-war smear merchant in GOP clothing” (Michelle Malkin) or “a revolutionary patriot” (Adam Kokesh). The wikipedia article is a bit biased towards him (about that discharge, “all he did was …..”).

    And he’s certainly not doing Ron Paul any favors.

  7. PeggyU
    Posted February 20, 2012 at 12:29 pm |

    Out of curiosity … do the same rules apply if the military member is endorsing the current Commander in Chief?

  8. Ironic in Denver
    Posted February 20, 2012 at 1:01 pm |

    ^ well in theory sure, but do I sense some crafty trap in Peggy’s question?

  9. DougM (jackassophobe)
    Posted February 20, 2012 at 1:11 pm |

    Offhand, I can think of some very good reasons for that directive.
    Here are a few quick’n dirty ones:
    • Military personnel are under discipline and are vulnerable to being mis-used by politicized officers and officials. There is great and ugly temptation, here.
    • It’s easy for propaganda merchants to mis-label military participation, even out of uniform, as evidence of official sanction or of military disintegration/faction/rebellion/disloyalty or of military interest in or influence on the election process.
    • The military should never be seen as participating in partisan politics in any way. They are in sworn service to the Constitution in the interests of all the people, not just a faction.

    As far as personal rights go:
    • Active-duty military are not always able to exercise their rights.
    The military operates under separate laws, morality, discipline, and behavior.
    That’s one reason for uniforms, so they and we know they’re under separate rules.
    • Temporarily sacrificing your rights as a free citizen to a military code, while on active duty, is necessary to the controlled employment of force by a free republic; but “Militarism” as a method of civil governance is anathema in a free republic.

    Do not mix them.

  10. ZZMike
    Posted February 20, 2012 at 1:21 pm |

    DougM: That’s it exactly. You’ve hit the proverbial nail on the proverbial head (presumably with the proverbial hammer).

    That was one thing the brighter recruits in Basic wondered about – if we’re all here to preserve liberty and guarantee freedom, how come we ain’t got none?

    “That’s one reason they wear uniforms, so you can tell the two apart.”

    In wartime, the uniform (on all sides) is the mark that says “shoot me, not the guy in civvies (unless, of course, I shoot you first)”.

    Certain groups of a more or less fundamentalist leaning don’t wear uniforms for that exact reason.

    There really should be more attention paid to “separation of state and military”. In some South American countries, they just don’t understand that principle, and El Generalissimo and his friends decide they would be better off running the country than that idiot who got most of the votes.

  11. Lord of the Fleas
    Posted February 20, 2012 at 2:50 pm |

    Then I suppose that when Teh Won (or any other pol, for that matter) goes to a military base to make some announcement or speech or whatever, the troops are within their (limited) rights to refuse to serve as living ornaments, standing behind said pol for the video clip that will appear on the nightly news.

    Cuz if that ain’t “being mis-used by politicized officers and officials”, I don’t know what is.

  12. PeggyU
    Posted February 20, 2012 at 3:06 pm |

    This is what had me asking that question, specifically this passage from that article:

    Veterans and Military Families for Progress is a 501(c)(4) non-partisan, not-for-profit veterans organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. It is a 21st Century organization made up of members located throughout the country, and from across the breadth of rank and military services, who served, are serving, or are family members of those who have heeded the call to serve their country in the U.S. armed forces. VMFP’s endorsement of Senator Barack Obama for President is based upon a number of non-partisan criteria assessed for major party candidates for this office, including support of VMFP’s mission, proposed policy agendas — especially those focused on coming home issues — grades, rankings and ratings of other veteran-related interest groups, and each candidate’s actions in the Senate.

    So is it ok if you are active duty military to endorse a candidate as long as you issue a disclaimer that your choice is strictly “nonpartisan”?

  13. PeggyU
    Posted February 20, 2012 at 3:11 pm |

    ^ I will add that the endorsement was for the 2008 race, not this year’s. I am trying to determine if they still exist, and if they still support Obama.

  14. Colonel Jerry USMC
    Posted February 20, 2012 at 4:36 pm |

    This is all a result of OBoBo`s Class warfare. DO NOT take the bait!!!!!!!!

  15. dick, not quite dead white guy
    Posted February 20, 2012 at 6:26 pm |

    His wording implies that all or a majority of the military is for Ron Paul for President.
    Right or wrong about Ron Paul being the best man for the job, Adam is dead wrong and has a hell of a nerve in claiming to speak for the all the military.
    Serve him right if a bunch of serving men and women bury his mailbox in disclaimers, and go on record saying they resent the arrogance and the theft of their prerogative to choose.

  16. Lance
    Posted February 20, 2012 at 6:31 pm |

    PeggyU,
    Thanks for posting that ‘mission statement’ of the VMPF.
    A skillfully written leftist screed that seems intended to
    recruit naive military people & their family members into
    an organization that supports leftist causes & candidates.

    I also wonder if the demonstration by ‘thousands’ of military
    ‘marchers’ will be interpreted by the LSM as the ‘clear choice
    of the troops’ for Luap Nor! If so, it will be an astounding
    success for the leftist, dems, etc. As if a coupla thousand
    VMPF’ers represent the almost 1.5 million active duty
    members of our Armed forces plus even more veterans.

  17. Lance
    Posted February 20, 2012 at 6:41 pm |

    Rereading Kokesh’s letter to BamBam, I noticed
    a gigantic amount of unbelievable arrogance.
    A nutcase or is he just a typical Paultard??

  18. DougM (jackassophobe)
    Posted February 20, 2012 at 8:19 pm |

    ZZMike (10)
    The “uniformed politician” thing has always amused me.
    I dunno, it’s just so … you know, operetta buffa.
    Gilbert & Sullivan thrived on poking fun of it.

    Actually, I’m sure it has a simple purpose in statist systems.
    It’s the illusion of authority, power, and discipline.
    It’s how you tell the bossers and bossees apart.
    • I have more braid and baubles and a wider sash than anybody else here, so I’m probably really, really important.
    • I have a uniform, so the Army will probably do what I tell it to do to you if you don’t recognize your good fortune in having meee to run your lives.
    • Look at this outfit, willya? Man, it’s like spotless! Now, look at yourselves.
    No wonder I’m in charge. Yeah, I knowwww ! You’re welcome!

    People are told that the gov’t is in charge of their society, so they expect to see an in-charge guy; and in-charge guys need their I’m-the-in-charge-guy costumes, I guess.

    Okay, there’s a traditional reason for the uniformed boss man: kings and chiefs were warlords, originally. In colonial administrations, too, civilian bigwigs (Viceroys and Ambassadors) wore mainly ceremonial uniforms as representatives of their hometown warlord-descendant.
    Yeah, civilians in snazzy uniforms impress the easily impressed
    … especially themselves.

    Personally? When it comes to petty dictators?
    I think there’s an, uhm, major “compensation” thing involved, too.

  19. Claire: barbarian, etc
    Posted February 20, 2012 at 11:01 pm |

    ya mean this?

    Dictator in a polo shirt
    Dictator in a polo shirt
    A backwards society
    A non-aligned nation can’t afford to buy starch
    No chance for dignity in our laundry
    When colonial powers were in charge
    We send all the mufti to the riverbank
    Pound it on a rock until it all come white
    Then run it through the wringer while the women crank
    Dictator in a polo shirt
    Dictator in a polo shirt
    The twentieth century brought us refrigerators
    Dryers, and washers with the built-in agitators
    But they all turn communist and kick out the whites
    Nothing left but the coloreds and the brights
    Dictator in a polo shirt
    Dictator in a polo shirt
    In a bloody coup
    The colonials are sent packing
    But they take some skills
    That we seem to be lacking
    The power fails and the washers all break down
    And the runners bring a message that the rebels are attacking
    Dictator in a polo shirt
    Dictator in a polo shirt
    Of the hundred palace guards
    Most have run away
    Of the loyal ones, there are but thirty
    They call to me to make a show of strength
    But I can’t come out
    When my uniform is dirty
    Dictator in a polo shirt
    Dictator in a polo shirt

    –The BOBs
    from The Laundry Cycle

  20. Curtis
    Posted February 21, 2012 at 10:06 pm |

    Not the UCMJ I know. Perhaps there has been a change. Active Duty military MAY NOT/shall not wear a uniform in a partisan event/parade speechifying event unless held by their leadership and the crown.

    You may parade your gay ass down mainstreet so long as you wear civilian attire.