One of the things every member should know from their first day in uniform is to remain apolitical while in uniform (i.e. serving on active duty).
But that’s not what Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, said when he made this point:
“If someone uses the uniform, whatever uniform it is, for partisan politics, I’m disappointed by that, because I think it does erode that bond of trust that we have with the American people,” Dempsey told Fox News in a video posted Wednesday.
He’s referring to the retired SEALS who've spoken out against President Obama and the dangerous violations of OPSEC which have “leaked” out under his administration (although it is hard to continue to hammer the administration about it when it appears one of the SEAL team members on the bin Laden raid is going to publish a book about it – but that’s a story for another time.).
Are they using their “uniform” to make this point? I’ve watched the video and I don’t recall anyone in uniform or anyone using their uniform (is he referring to stills and video of our forces in combat used in the vid? Not clear, but certainly doesn’t appear to be the intent of the remarks.). Are they all identified as what they were, i.e. former military members? Yes. That’s certainly not something one needs to hide nor is anyone required to hide those facts by law or regulation. In fact, that’s what gives their words credibility.
(I wonder how Dempsey felt about Mr. John “reporting for duty” Kerry and his use of the “uniform” in Dempsey’s sense, for partisan politics.)
It’s one thing to claim that those in uniform should not, no, must not involve themselves officially in partisan politics. I whole heartedly and fully agree. It’s another to try and stifle the voices of retired service members who are speaking out on political (and military) issues they find important.
None. Of. Your. Business. General.
In fact, Dempsey trying to tell former service members to keep quiet about politics is, ironically, involving himself in partisan politics while in uniform.
Scott Taylor, one of the former Navy SEALs in the group, defended the video to Fox News’ Greta van Susteren on Tuesday, saying of Dempsey: “He’s active duty, we are not. We’re now citizens and we have a First Amendment right to be able to speak out, and we feel as though we’re doing the right thing.”
Correct. He, and they, have every right to do what they’re doing. It may sting a bit to hear this, Gen. Dempsey, but you need to butt out.