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A Message to All Candidates: Our Troops Aren't Props

(As much as a probable campaign boost it was to have this Corporal endorse Ron the blowback from it could serve to be a negative for the campaign. This Corporal and other Veterans don't have to be in uniform when they choose to be involved. It doesn't lessen their credibility to be in civilian attire when supporting their candidate. Just my opinion. I just don't want to see Ron start to lose some of his biggest supporters(Military) because of a few bad decisions.)

~Paul Rieckhoff, Contributor~

Our troops are many things to many people. Heroes, parents, diplomats, victims, villains, victors. But as the GOP Primary races roll through New Hampshire this week, there is one thing that all of America must understand they’re not: political props.

And that’s not just my opinion, it’s the law.

This is why so many of us in the military and veterans community were so shocked and outraged last Tuesday night when we saw Corporal Jesse Thorsen step up to the microphone in uniform and endorse Ron Paul for President. We know the law–the military law under the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice). We know Article 88 of UCMJ prohibits contemptuous speech by commissioned officers against the President and certain elected officials at penalty of court-martial. We also know that service members are only allowed to attend political rallies as spectators, according to Department of Defense Directive 1344.10, which states, “In keeping with the traditional concept that members on active duty should not engage in partisan political activity, and that members not on active duty should avoid inferences that their political activities imply or appear to imply official sponsorship, approval, or endorsement…” And we troops and veterans understand why this directive exists.


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