Monday, March 06, 2006

Blurring another line

We've been talking (actually ranting) about the Bush Administration blurring the line between Church and State since he first took office. Many of us on our side of the aisle winced everytime George II talked about "Faith Based Initiatives". But take a good look at the picture to the left. Can you spot another line being blurred here?

Let's identify what's going on here . The blonde lady standing at the podium is Colorado Republican Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave and the two UNIFORMED Marines behind her are honored guests at a Republican Lincoln Day Dinner. (Lincoln Day dinners are sort of like our version of Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinners except they're more hypocritical (snark-button off) So what's wrong with this picture?

Well, for one thing Military Personnel are prohibited by the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) from participating in political events while in uniform. The other is that this is a conscious Republican strategy. Here's what Robert (I outed Valerie Plame) Novak had to say about it.

At the same time, the Bush administration is going directly to the public with its war message. Raul Damas, associate director of political affairs at the White House, has been on the phone directly to Republican county chairmen to arrange local speeches by active duty military personnel to talk about their experiences in Iraq. To some Republican members, this unusual venture connotes a desire to go directly to the people to sell the president's position without having to deal with members of Congress.
(Source: Inside Report by Robert Novak ; Lincoln Tribune 2/11/06)

So why is this a big deal? It's a big deal because of two issues really.

The first and, in my mind most important is that in our Democracy, the military subordinates itself to civilian leadership which is (theoretically at least) elected by the people and stands accountable to the voters. The military does not run the government and the military does not dictate who our leaders will be in the same way that Caeser's praetorian Guard did in ancient Rome. At least they don't yet.

The second reason is stated very eloquently by Josh Marshall in Talking Points Memo

The existence of this ban and the enforcement of it are hugely important both to good order and discipline within the military and to preserving our democratic republic. The military can't be made into an arm of one or the other political party. Nor can the executive be allowed to enlist members of the armed forces, either individually or en masse, willingly or not, as soldiers in his domestic political battles.

I know, I know I know......

there are just too many battles to fight at one time.

I may address that issue in a post later on but for now, just know that we're being co-opted by the Republicans again. Watch for it in your neighborhood.


on edit 8:20 PM...I expounded on those thoughts over here Feel free to jump in...


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