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Speaking Your Mind in the Military
July 24, 2003
By Hawker Hurricane

In recent news, an active duty military man made a mistake: he said what he really thought about our political leaders to the press.

His mistake is he let his face be seen and his name be known to the hordes of Right Wing Zealots who will use their connections to ruin his military career and his life.

It does not matter that he is right.

It does not matter that he is entitled to his opinion.

It does not matter that for eight years that these same right-wing zealots encouraged the military to do the exact same thing.

It only matters that he be destroyed for daring to contradict the official Right Wing Zealot position: That the military follows the Republican position in blind lockstep. Any evidence to the contrary, say from a known military man who hides his name through a web alias is to be discounted as "an obvious fraud." And any evidence presented by a man in uniform is to be ignored if possible, and if not, punished as harshly as possible.

Feel sorry for the poor man, for he dared exercise his rights while he was sworn to defend them.

Of course, if he had said the same things four years ago, the same people out to destroy him would applaud him, and protect him tooth and nail from any repercussion.

That was then, though, and this is now.

I feel for him, for I was close to being put in a similar position.

My ship was going to have "embedded media" on board. The crew was notified, and told where to find the rules so they wouldn't say the "wrong" things.

Since I made no secret of my opinions, the warning was given to me twice, along with a hardcopy of the rules so no mistake could be made on my part: I could make no statement about the reasons for the war, nor my personal opinion of it. If I made such a statement, I would be punished. The reason? I was in uniform, and in uniform I was a representative of the Navy, and had to provide the official Navy position or remain silent.

And no, I was not allowed to take off the uniform before speaking to the press. I asked.

The media never did come on board, so I never found out if I would remain silent or speak. I was never tested, as the Army Sargent was. He passed, he spoke his mind, told the truth as he saw it, and now will be punished.

He's a better man than I am.

And he's ten times the man that any of these right-wing zealots who will attempt to smear and destroy him ever will be.

I hope they will not succeed. I hope that this man, and the ones like him, will be honored like the heroes they are.

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