Military Excuses Troops' Politically Correct Speech

I recently wrote about the seeming double standard that the U.S. has for some troops over others. The good news is that I’m not the only one who is concerned about this.

Marine veteran and Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) wrote a letter to the Marine Corps requesting that it stop the discharge of Gary Stein, the Marine who expressed his opinions of the President on Facebook.

Rep. Hunter’s letter specifically states:

As you are well aware, the Department of Defense (DoD) issued Directive Number 1344.10 regarding First Amendment rights to speech and other activities. However, this policy is both vague and contradictory in the context of new “social media.” In fact, nothing in the directive actually mentions social media and what activity is or is not approved for active duty service members.

In addition to what Rep. Hunter wrote, refer back to what a military court thought about a Marine who did a commercial pornography film while wearing Marine uniform items:

For instance, as was mentioned in the “Suits & Sentences” blog, the opinion states:

We are also not satisfied, on the basis of this record, that the appellant’s statements or wear of uniform items may create an inference of service endorsement of the activities depicted. The appellant never wore a complete ‘uniform,’ so the general public could never receive ‘visual evidence of the authority and responsibility vested in the individual by the United States Government.’ He did not voice any Marine support for what he was doing or any service views on the propriety or impropriety of his conduct.

So if a Marine wearing uniform items while doing a gay porn video might not be a violation of military guidelines/law, then perhaps the soldier at a Ron Paul rally wasn’t “really” wearing a full uniform (did he at any point wear any headgear?).

On top of all this, recall that the DoD seemingly disobeys the law when it is politically correct to do so. Remember when news emerged that active duty troops marched in a gay-pride parade even as DADT still was in effect? Here’s how the DoD allegedly responded to this violation of the law:

Although “don’t ask, don’t tell” technically is still the law, Defense Department spokeswoman Eileen Lainez said just before the parade that the court’s reinstatement of the law did not change DoD’s current policy that discharges and investigations of gay service members remain suspended.

And consider what the DoD currently is doing. Gay soldiers broke the law when the misnamed DADT was still in effect, yet now the DoD is bringing them back into service—even as it is cutting other law-abiding Servicemen in light of the austerity measures that Congress mandated. Furthermore, the DoD is potentially breaking current law by bringing homosexual soldiers back into service since it still is illegal to engage in acts of sodomy under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

So I fully support what Rep. Duncan is doing. I encourage others to do so as well.

The full and unedited version of this column appears at the Foreign and Domestic Intelligencer.

Headline image: screen capture of video showing soldiers walking in San Diego LGBT pride parade in July 2011.


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