by Shaun Appleby, Thu Jun 12, 2008 at 04:26:58 PM EDT
Whoops. Glad this saw the mainstream light of day, thanks to The Huffington Post, but as it was on a national-security themed column in the Washington Post it may be worth a bit more exposure here, regarding the Army's public affairs office daily roundup of Army-related news called Stand To:
Tuesday's edition contained an entry under "WHAT'S BEING SAID IN BLOGS" that struck me as unusual -- both for its headline and its patent political bias:
Obama: World peace thru surrender (KDIHH)
And more to the point, why is the Army's official in-house public affairs shop linking to this kind of stuff? Just a few weeks ago, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told all hands to stay out of politics: "As the nation prepares to elect a new president, we would all do well to remember the promises we made: to obey civilian authority, to support and defend the Constitution and to do our duty at all times.... Keeping our politics private is a good first step." He added: "The only things we should be wearing on our sleeves are our military insignia."
Unfortunately, the message didn't get to through to the Army.
Let's be clear: It is okay for the services to have a message. Both the Early Bird and Stand To speak for the Pentagon and the Army as institutions, and that's okay. They generally support the troops, the military, the chain of command, and the current endeavors in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nothing wrong with that.
And I have no objections to what Mr. Hooah wrote, besides the fact that I think it's factually wrong. He has his opinion; I have mine.
But the Stand To page is different -- and Tuesday's edition crosses the line. This isn't some citizen's blog or website. It's the in-house public affairs digest of the United States Army. It should not be amplifying partisan political attacks, nor should it be airing them at all. This appears like yet another example of the unusually cozy relationship which has developed over the last generation or so between the military and the right wing of American politics -- an unhealthy development, to say the least.
Philip Carter - Army Shows Its Colors WaPo 12 Jun 08
I'll say. And one wonders what the best way to push back on this kind of thing might be. E-mail your Congressperson? Get Move On on the case? Thoughts, folks?[Update]: Brigadier General Anthony A. Cucolo III, Chief of Public Affairs, US Army is apparently reachable via firstname.lastname@example.org. The Army Public Affairs website doesn't seem to have a direct email address. Funny, that. Stand To has a feedback address as well, email@example.com. Drop 'em a line and let them know how you feel, I reckon.
[Update]: As pointed out by Steve M the link to the anti-Obama blogsite no longer appears in the edition of Stand To in question. That was pretty quick.