When Generals Where Apolitical, Those Were The Days

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Annie, Sep 6, 2004.

  1. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    Eisenhower didn't vote, at least in a primary, until after WWII. If only it was so today:

    http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=20040913&s=kaplan091304

     
  2. Merlin1047
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    Merlin1047 Senior Member

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    "During a presidential contest in which both sides have embraced militarism as a campaign theme, such statements may not seem particularly notable. Over the long term, however, showcasing generals in the political arena harms both the services and the civilians who must control them. "

    I'm not sure that I'm reading the author's intent in that last sentence. If the campaigns are soliciting the endorsement of active duty officers then that is indeed a problem. But involvement of retired officers poses no threat to the constitutional process.

    First, it seems to me that the Democrats embrace military men and women with one arm only. They're using the other hand to hold their noses. The anti-military legacy of the Clinton era is still alive and well. If anything, the Democratic party has become even more virulently anti-military as a result of the embarrassment that the SBVFT has caused their candidate. The so-called "militarism" of the Democratic campaign is a thin veneer painted on to fool the rubes. It is already wearing off in spots and it will vanish entirely in less than two minutes after the conclusion of the election.

    Once a general or an admiral retires, he has as much right as the next person to express his opinions and to support a candidate. Involving military personnel in a political campaign is dangerous only if it is done while they are still on active duty. Dwight Eisenhower retired and was elected president. The country seems to be no worse for wear from that experience.
     
  3. 5stringJeff
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    5stringJeff Senior Member

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    Arrrggghhh!!! Say it isn't so!!!

    LTG Christman was the Superindendent of West Point my final two years. Great guy, great Supe. I can't believe he's a Kerry supporter.

    All things said, though, there are many generals (Tommy Franks comes to mind) that have endorsed Bush. As long as they're retired (i.e. gone from the military) they are free to speak out.
     
  4. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    I'd say they always have the right to express opinions and support any candidate, provided they didn't dis the CIC, with that said, there has been a tradition that most on duty officers, kept it apolitical.
     
  5. Merlin1047
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    Merlin1047 Senior Member

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    There are substantial restrictions on political activities while on active duty. The following is an extract from the applicable directive:

    http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/html2/d134410x.htm

    Department of Defense

    DIRECTIVE

    NUMBER 1344.10

    Augsut 2, 2004

    USD(P&R)

    SUBJECT: Political Activities by Members of the Armed
    Forces on Active Duty

    References: (a) DoD Directive 1344.10, "Political
    Activities by Members of the Armed Forces," June 15,
    1990 (hereby canceled)

    (b) Sections 973, 101, 888, and Chapter 47 of title
    10, United States Code

    (c) DoD Directive 5200.2, "DoD Personnel Security Program,"

    April 9, 1999

    (d) DoD Directive 1325.6, "Guidelines for Handling
    Dissident and Protest Activities Among Members of the
    Armed Forces," October 1, 1996

    (e) through (h), see enclosure 1

    1. REISSUANCE AND PURPOSE

    This Directive reissues reference (a) to update DoD
    policies on political activities of members of the Armed
    Forces on active duty and implement section 973(b) through
    (d) of reference (b).

    2. APPLICABILITY

    This Directive applies to the Office of the Secretary
    of Defense, the Military Departments, the Coast Guard
    when it is not operating as a Military Service in the
    Department of the Navy by agreement with the Department
    of Homeland Security, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs
    of Staff, the Combatant Commands, the Office of the
    Inspector General of the Department of Defense, the
    Defense Agencies, the DoD Field Activities, and all
    other organizational entities in the Department of Defense
    (hereafter referred to collectively as the "DoD Components").

    3. DEFINITIONS

    The terms used in this Directive are defined in enclosure
    2.

    4. POLICY

    It is DoD policy to encourage members of the Armed Forces
    (hereafter referred to as "members") to carry out the
    obligations of citizenship. While on active duty,
    however, members are prohibited from engaging in certain
    political activities. The following DoD policy shall
    apply:

    4.1. General

    4.1.1. A member on active duty may:

    4.1.1.1. Register, vote, and express his or her personal
    opinion on political candidates and issues, but not
    as a representative of the Armed Forces.

    4.1.1.2. Make monetary contributions to a political
    organization.

    4.1.1.3. Attend partisan and nonpartisan political
    meetings, rallies, or conventions as a spectator when
    not in uniform.

    4.1.2. A member on active duty shall not:

    4.1.2.1. Use his or her official authority or influence
    for interfering with an election; affecting the course
    or outcome of an election; soliciting votes for a particular
    candidate or issue; or requiring or soliciting political
    contributions from others.

    4.1.2.2. Be a candidate for, hold, or exercise the
    functions of civil office except as authorized in paragraphs
    4.2. and 4.3., below.

    4.1.2.3. Participate in partisan political management,
    campaigns, or conventions (unless attending a convention
    as a spectator when not in uniform).
     
  6. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    All of which I was referring to. They cannot say the CIC is a dodobird or worse! :rotflmao: :rotflmao:
     
  7. Merlin1047
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    Merlin1047 Senior Member

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    And this troubles me a bit:

    http://www.freerepublic.com/forum/a39f592627a2a.htm

    Military Breaks Ranks With Non-Partisan Tradition

    Foreign Affairs News
    Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer
    Published: October 22, 2000 Author: David Wood
    Posted on 10/24/2000 06:45:06 PDT by Stand Watch Listen

    Many In Service Turn To Bush, Reject Political Correctness

    Washington -- Traditionally uneasy about partisan politics, the 1.4 million Americans on active duty in the armed forces are preparing this year to speak with a big voice in the presidential election.

    The trend toward increased partisanship is marked by a surge in voter registration on military posts around the country, and by an increase in political endorsements by retired senior officers.

    Many in the military are taking the Republican side with a vengeance, saying they do not trust Democrats to manage or use the military properly.

    "In my 18 years in the Army I have never seen anything like this," said Maj. Don Vandergriff, an armor officer stationed in Washington. "So many people, captains to colonels, are saying that if (GOP candidate George W.) Bush gets in, political correctness will go away and they can return to being warriors, and the military will be taken care of."

    This accelerating trend of military partisanship, which has its roots in the bitter domestic divisions of the Vietnam War, deeply worries seasoned observers and some officers themselves. They see it as an alarming breach in the once-sacrosanct division between military and politics.

    It "tells people that the military no longer stands above the political fray, that it has an investment in certain policies," said Richard H. Kohn, professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "It undermines the trust that the most senior political leadership has in the military."
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    There is nothing wrong with members of the military participating in the political process by voting and voicing their opinions. After all, they have certainly earned it the hard way. But the thing that must be avoided at all costs is a military PAC or voting block. The danger here is that we could ultimately be ruled by a type of military junta.

    But the article goes on and points out something I feel is rather silly, if not flatly false. I cannot recall ever having been counselled or read any policy regarding officers not voting, but:
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Voting always a duty

    Voting has always been a duty in the military ranks, especially for younger recruits. In the 1996 presidential election, for example, 64 percent of the active-duty military voted, compared to 49.8 percent of the general public.

    An equally long tradition, however, held that military officers ought not to steal, lie, cheat or vote - the last in the belief that to be effective as professionals they had to be scrupulously apolitical.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    As I said, I have to challenge the accuracy of that second paragraph in regards to voting. Throughout my time on active duty, I was alway encouraged to vote.

    Anyway, the article is lengthy so I will not post it here. However, it is informative and interesting and I recommend it to anyone interested in this topic.
     
  8. Merlin1047
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    Merlin1047 Senior Member

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    Actually, they can. As long as they do it in civvies - and with a bag over their heads.

    :banana:
     
  9. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    I can see why it worries you, but it's a direct result of Kerry running on his record of 35 years ago and the Swiftboat Vets. Not good, but reality.
     
  10. 5stringJeff
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    5stringJeff Senior Member

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    I absolutely agree. I have always been encouraged to vote. This "tradition" is something I've never heard of - although not lying, cheating, or stealing is the West Point Honor Code.

    Stupid Free Republic... :mad:
     

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