Monday, March 6, 2006

Parade Rest

Josh Marshall has been on this story — uniformed military personnel being used as props and set decoration for partisan politics — for a couple of weeks, and now he has an example of just such an occurrance happening in Colorado.

A few weeks ago we discussed the fact that the RNC was apparently working with the White House to send active duty members of the military in uniform to speak on behalf of the president’s policies at Republican political events. That’s against the law and military regulations. And for good reason since that’s a quick ride to making the military — or factions or individuals in the military — tools of one or the other political party.

Now we seem to have an example in practice.

This is exactly what appears to have happened yesterday at a political event with Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO). This article in the Fort Collins Coloradoan shows a picture of Musgrave doing just that with the caption: “Marilyn Musgrave introduces Marine Sergeant Brandon Forsyth on Friday during the Larimer County GOP Lincoln Day Dinner.”

A look at the picture shows pretty clearly that Forsyth was in uniform. Yet those regs linked above say clearly that military personnel can attend partisan events only as spectators and not in uniform. What am I missing?

Apparently Josh has it right on the money; as he notes here, he’s heard from several active duty and retired officers who state that what occurred at the Musgrave event does violate military regs. And on top of that,

The uniformed member of the military who appears at such an event can be court-martialed for the violation. It’s not some technicality in UCMJ terms. But there’s no law against a politician or party leader putting them up to it or facilitating it. So there’s no risk for them.

So Musgrave and whomever else organized the event is putting this guy’s career on the line as well as encouraging this misconduct for their own partisan gain.

Well, that’s no surprise; the current administration has never hesitated to exploit the military for their own political ends, be it a campaign rally or an unprovoked war. Rep. Musgrave is no stranger to exploitation; she is the sponsor the the constitutional amendment that would take away the rights of gay Americans, and she has a record of corruption. (HT to AMERICAblog.) As is clearly evident by this event, she doesn’t really give a rat’s ass about anything other than her own political career at the expense of others.