May 21, 2006

Generals, Stop Making Political Speeches

It's inappropriate for active-duty military officers to make polictical speeches. In our democracy, civilians make policy, and generals follow civilian orders.

General Tommy Franks recently spoke at the National Rifle Association's annual banquet. Where, according to AP's Conlin Fly, he said, "Terrorism is a thing that threatens our way of life. It doesn't have anything to do with politics." AP Article on Franks

First, not to defend the technique, terrorism is a long-standing tactic used to gain political ends. A famous case-in-point was the 1946 zionist Irgun bombing of the King David Hotel, killing British, who used the hotel as a headquarters, as well as Arab and Jewish civilians. In otherwords, terrorism typically has a lot to do with politics.

Second, many arguments support the contention that US-led corporate globalization, and the violent methods used to opress foreign resistance to the US infringements, spawn terrorism.

While this second point can be debated, it is not the proper role of an active-duty military officer to propagandize on either side of the issue. That's the role of civilians in our society.

So, a message to General Franks, and others like General Bantz Craddock who has been propagandizing against Venezuelan President Chavez, Stop it. It is contrary to our democratic principles for active-duty military leaders to promote policy, particularly through propaganda speeches.

Editor's Note: General Craddock is responsible for overturning the military investigators' report that recommended punishment for the commanding officer of the Guantanamo Bay jail at the time, Army Major General Geoffrey Miller. Miller later went on to "Gitmoize" the interrogation operations at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.ARTICLE

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