We all learned during the Bush Administration that it’s easy to support the troops. You send the poor guys off to war without body armor or adequate intelligence, and pretty much forget about them. Then, when you’re at the gas station, you buy a dozen magnetic yellow ribbons (from a private business that gives none of its profits to the troops or charities associated with the military), and slap them on your gas-guzzling SUV. Mission accomplished: troops supported!
Well it turns out maybe we should’ve paid more attention to the troops, because now there’s a teabagger group in the military that thinks it’s totally cool to not support presidential orders. This should end well:
A new Tea Party group, Armed Forces Tea Party Patriots, has grown quickly since being launched last month by an active duty Marine Corps sergeant. The group, which vows to “stand up on the very soil we defended to preserve common sense conservatism and defend our Constitution that is threatened by a tyrannical government,” currently has over 400 members, who have signed up through its Facebook page, though many are not active duty military. And it has close ties to the broader Tea Party movement.
“People in the military need to be heard,” the group’s prime organizer, Gary Stein — a Marine Corps sergeant stationed at Camp Pendleton in southern California — told TPMmuckraker in an interview. “Our opinions do count.”
Many people in the military “feel like they can’t speak out against Obama or Congress,” said Stein. “The armed forces should have a little bit more say than we think we do,” he said.
Hey, that sucks that they feel they can’t speak out against their bosses, but that’s what happens when you’re in the military! In fact, check out what Article 88 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice says:
Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Transportation, or the Governor or legislature of any State, Territory, Commonwealth, or possession in which he is on duty or present shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.”
Well that seems pretty clear. Your move, Sgt. Stein.
My oath was to the Constitution, not to the politicians, and that oath will be kept. I won’t ‘Just follow’ orders. There is at this time a debate within the ranks of the military regarding their oath. Some mistakenly believe they must follow any order the President issues. But many others do understand that their loyalty is to the Constitution and to the people…”
According to Talking Points Memo, Stein has already been told by his superiors to cool it, and experts tell TPM that soldiers have been punished for much less in the past. At this point, any punishment for Stein could turn him into a martyr for lunatics and anti-government nuts (not mutually exclusive groups), but we’re all for it. The military isn’t a place for politics and advocacy. It’s amazing to us that the kind of people who forever said gays shouldn’t be allowed to serve in the military because it would “hurt morale” aren’t all over this. Is there anything that would hurt morale more than assholes like Gary Stein undoing centuries of military history, breaking the chain of command and disobeying lawful orders?