Truthout: Binders Full of Generals
“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)