Friday, March 24, 2006

Naked Blogging

I’m writing this blog in the buff. I know it’s not a pleasant thought, but Gordon England, Deputy Secretary of State, has forced me into this compromising position. On March 14 he issued a memo titled “Political Activities by Members of the Armed Forces.”

He says that soldiers can’t do anything political while wearing the uniform. And so, I’m blogging naked.

OK, in reality, I’m wearing clothes. One, because I don’t think Mr. England’s memo applies to blogs. And two, because I think he’s bluffing.

The argument in this memo is that if people see soldiers wearing the uniform and at a political event, they will assume that the military supports the political group or ideology. The memo forbids “any activity that may be viewed as associating the Department of Defense … or any component … directly or indirectly with a partisan political event ….”

The memo goes on to say that this applies even to retired servicemembers. So, this should apply to Bud Day, former prisoner of war and recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, who appears in ads smearing a certain senator and former presidential candidate while wearing a U.S. military flight jacket as well as the Medal of Honor itself (

Mr. England, are you going to arrest Bud Day?

I’m also worried, because my brother, who brought this memo to my attention, once appeared in uniform as a backdrop for G.W. as he spoke at a military installation in Texas.
Mr. England, are you going to arrest my brother? He was told to stand there. He didn’t mean to give the appearance that the military supported the Republican agenda. He was just following orders.

Or, and I hate to be cynical here, is it OK as long as the soldier is campaigning for the Republicans and the current administration? Or, and I hate to be even more cynical here, is just a scare tactic to keep a wave of disgruntled soldiers from speaking their minds in public.

So, prove me wrong Mr. England. Either retract your ill-advised memo or arrest Bud Dad and George Bush (but not my brother, he’s the only one I’ve got).

Photo: Deputy Secretary of State Gordon England. Great memo Gordo.


Blogger Unknown said...

If soldiers are not supposed to be active in political work while in uniform, then what is the U.S. military doing in Iraq? Isn't the task of the military in Iraq ENTIRELY political?

Or should they now go about their work naked in Najaf, nude in Nassiriyah, in the buff in Baghdad and bare in Basra?

Wouldn't that be Shock and Awe!

12:53 PM  
Blogger Spencer Case said...

I do think there's something awkward about, say, going to the Republican National Convention in my DCU's just for the hell of it. I can therefore understand some reasonable restraints.

But if this is extended to retired people, as I understand it, that seems a little extreme. What about politicians who wish to promote themselves based on military careers? That seems legitimate.

9:38 PM  
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