In a blatant attempt to silence the growing number of war critics in and out of the military, just in time for the presidential election I might mention, the New York Times abdicated its fourth estate responsibilities by falling in line with a runaway war policy.
Like a deer in headlights, the Times printed without question or scrutiny an
“open letter to all those in uniform, warning them to stay out of politics as
the nation approaches a presidential election in which the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan will be a central, and certainly divisive, issue. The U.S. military
must remain apolitical at all times and in all ways,” wrote the chairman, Adm. Mike Mullen, the nation’s highest-ranking officer. “It is and must always be a
neutral instrument of the state, no matter which party holds sway.”
It’s no coincidence that this messaged was meant to blunt the Defense Department investigation of a Pentagon public affairs program that sought to transform retired military officers who work as television and radio analysts into “message force multipliers” who could be counted on to echo Bush administration talking points about Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo and terrorism in general.
I’m not alone with what I’m sure Republicans would say is a mischaracterization of the Admirals message.
“Veteran officers said they could not remember when a similar “all-hands” letter
had been issued to remind military personnel to remain outside, if not above,
contentious political debate.”
In fact, the military point blank admits its intention to censor.
“Members of the Joint Chiefs have expressed worries this election year about the
influence of retired officers who advise political campaigns, who have publicly
called for a change in policy or who serve as television commentators on the
war. Among the most outspoken were those who joined the so-called generals’
revolt in 2006 demanding the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald
H. Rumsfeld, as well as former officers who have written books attacking the
Bush administration’s planning for and execution of the war in Iraq.”
Try and pull that statement out of context. Adm. Mike Mullen follows that up with the “fear frame.”
“While retired officers have full rights to political activism, their colleagues
still in uniform fear its effect on those trying to carry out the mission”
The fear card continued with the suggestion that a Democratic president will lose the war for us and abandon the mission. Just look at the “troubling questions” he received from military personal;
“…he was inspired to write the essay after receiving a constant stream ofI nearly dropped the newspaper after reading those comments. Thankfully, I was inspired enough to explain my first, second and third impressions of this article, coming each time to this same conclusion;
legitimate, if troubling, questions while visiting military personnel around the
world. He said their questions included, “What if a Democrat wins?” and, “What will that do to the mission in Iraq?” and, “Do you think it’s better for one party or another to have the White House?”
We are living under a dangerous administration right now, and I don’t believe it will end soon enough.