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Truthout: Binders Full of Generals

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“Former and retired service members, especially generals and admirals, are connected to the military service for life,” Dempsey wrote on a Pentagon website in June. “When the title or uniform is used for partisan purposes, it can erode the trust relationship. We must all be conscious of this, or we risk adversely affecting the very profession to which we dedicated most of our adult life.”

General Dempsey might have sincere sentiments, but his statement will clearly not stop this problem, and the Romney campaign has just increased the problem 359 more times. This is such a serious breach of ethics by these former retired brass that I would suggest the same bold requirements be applied to them, if they wish to endorse a political candidate, as I suggested for retired military officers who want to go work in and profit from the defense industry.

Congress should pass a law that if top military officers want to endorse a political candidate for federal office, they must also give up their rank, their retirement pay and their military perks. It would not work to just forbid these officers to use their rank in the endorsement, because the media would pick up that they were retired military officers and report it. If retired officers feel so strongly that they must, as any civilian citizen may, publicly endorse a federal candidate, they must also have the honor to give up their title, pay and perks in order to avoid damaging the military institution they served.

Unless we stop this slide of our top military personnel into areas that corrupt the institution, our junior officer corps will become cynical and jaded, and the best officers will leave before they ever reach the top military level. Presidential campaigns should not encourage this behavior, and the Romney campaign just pushed the limit much farther – 359 times.  (Click HERE for original article)

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  1. Comment by Duck:

    Give up their military retirement to participate in the political process by endorsing a candidate or go to work for private industry? Aren’t you just a liberal key board Gestapo commando tart, coat tailing on the military industrial complex democrat paranoia!

    You apparently forget, or have no idea, that military personnel are people, and even better, Americans (well, most of them are). Are you an American? Do you by chance also rail against the Patriot Act?

    You suggest we silence and restrict civilians who, by the way, were gagged and restricted by requirement for 20-30 years of their military lives to begin with.

    I don’t recall any statement nearly 30 years ago when I signed my military entrance documents, saying that if I chose to stay in 20 ~ 30 years and earn a retirement, that the constitutional, personal freedoms I gave up (knowingly) by joining the military, would be on my back for the rest of my life. I do know I can still be held to account under military justice by the mere fact I draw a pension, but that is so obscure and reserved for heinous crimes against America itself, not some whimsical act. How about you though, any such restrictions in your life?

    Would you further suggest any military flag officer or just any well known former military person, be restricted from running for political office? Seems that’s not a far leap. Any former presidents spring to mind? Google it, I know you know how to do that.

  2. Comment by Hamlin Tallent:

    So, It is interesting to me that you can print my name and opine that it is the money that causes me to support Romney. You have never met me or talked with me. You don’t know me. It is even more interesting that you believe retired military should take no public stance on the future of the country. Does that also mean Admiral Nathman and General Powell should not support Obama, or is supporting Democrats okay with you? You are something of an idiot aren’t you?

    • Comment by Forseti:

      It is not that we believe retired military personnel should not take a stance on the future of our country. A citizen of the US is free to take any stance they so chose. Retired and active duty military are subject to UCMJ, regarding politics:

      Article 2 of the UCMJ, retired members of the military drawing pay, as well as active-duty service members, are subject to UCMJ provisions.


      This site supports everyone and anyone who has served our country honorably. However, anyone- especially retired senior officers who put career advancement and cold hard cash before the safety of our troops on the ground should be held accountable. As a taxpayer I am fed up with the fraud waste and abuse of funds that goes unabated at the Pentagon. I am also disgusted at the thought that I am supporting six digit retirement salaries for retired flag officers who have been in charge at defense contractors, while soldiers have died.

      Maybe you should use your soapbox and MAN UP to supporting the men and women currently serving in the military and keep them out of harms way from preventable dangers, while they are serving our country.

      And finally, this article was written by Dana Rasor and published by TruthOut. Ms Rasor founded the Project on Military Procurement (now called the Project on Government Oversight, or POGO) and I doubt she would appreciate being referred to as an idiot.

      • Comment by Hamlin Tallent:

        i do not see how you link the fact i supported Governor Romney to career advancement and cold hard cash. BTW i did MAN UP for 32 years and while doing so every thing i ate, drank, flew, sailed in, wore, shot, dropped, etc. was made by a defense contractor. The uniformed military actually “makes” nothing. It consumes. So your demonization of defense contractors without the benefit of citing any specific crime is a bit astonishing.

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