Monday, May 26, 2008

Top Officer Warns Military to Avoid Politics

Admiral Mike Mullen, the USA's top military officer, yesterday warned senior officers against involvement in domestic politics. He did so in a commencement address and in an unprecedented essay in the nation's official military publication targeted to the senior officer corps. Read more about the JCS Chair's pointed warning here.

One might observe that it's about time. A more realistic appraisal is that it may be too late.

Recent revelations about the Pentagon's main-stream media propaganda machine that placed retired generals on newscasts as expert commentators, armed with approved talking points, make very clear the depth of involvement of the US military in shaping political opinion and influencing policy. Legislators and informed citizens are appalled as the integrity and political neutrality of the military are at stake. A big deal, as recent events in Lebanon demonstrate. Let's be clear. What we risk here is the US military ending up as a private militia for the far right.

There are already serious questions about the Bush administration's stacking the senior officer corps with born-again fundamentalist Christians, many who are millienialsts and believe that we are now in at the end of days. The Air Force Academy is a case in point. One of four service academies dedicated to turning out the US military's corps of officers, the Academy has been literally taken-over by fundamentalists and turned into a Madrassa for Christian "warriors." Read about it here. Now that's scary. Here's what Republican, former Reagan-administration official and Academy alumnus M. Weinstein had to say about the issue in a 2007 OpEd.

When I began asking questions about what I saw going on at Colorado Springs in 2004 I never expected that the inquiry would lead me to the horrifying conclusion that our country had been taken over by people who have used our own freedoms to enslave us. But that is what happened. When I began I, like most people, was focused on the personal. I believed that what was happening at the United States Air Force Academy, the harassment of cadets and staff with unwanted evangelism, was limited in scope. As the months passed, however, I found myself forced to constantly reassess my basic assumptions. The logic of events was stark and undeniable. Promises of an open inquiry were ignored; decent and courageous people like former Air Force Chaplin MeLinda Morton were intentionally muzzled to ensure the truth would not be heard and the wrongs righted.

As a Republican and an Academy graduate I find myself in head on conflict with my own oath to protect the Constitution. As a Jew I confronted a situation through ears that still hear the cries of my people walking silently into the brick buildings that would reduce them to ash. I cannot stand still and let that happen to my country.

No comments: