Presidents, partisanship, and war
jca at stanford.edu
Sun Dec 11 11:50:42 PST 2005
No one objects to the president speaking to the troops. The objection is
to using them as props for his televised addresses to the
country. Reportedly, many service members worry that these events appear
to suggest that the military supports Republicans and endorses Republican
characterization of Democrats as undermining the troops, traitors,
etc. This would be contrary to the fundamental principle of the U.S.
military, that the military does not take part in partisan campaigns (which
distinguishes them from the military in, say, Saddam Hussein's Iraq).
At 01:09 AM 12/11/2005 -0800, Scarberry, Mark wrote:
>In response to Sandy's argument that (as I understand it) the President is
>endangering Constitutional principles of military neutrality in political
>Some Democrats attack Pres. Bush by saying that he intentionally misled the
>nation into going to war; thus, in effect, his supposed lies have caused the
>deaths of over 2,000 members of the armed services. Such a charge has the
>direct effect, if believed, of destroying the confidence that members of the
>armed services have in their Commander in Chief. It hardly seems improper
>for the President to defend himself against such charges by speaking
>directly to members of the armed services, who supposedly are dying because
>of his supposed lies.
>Other Democrats (or perhaps the same ones) attack Pres. Bush by saying, as
>Democratic Party Chairman Dean said, that the war in Iraq cannot be won.
>Such claims, if believed, have the direct effect of undermining the morale
>of members of the armed forces. Again, it seems appropriate for the
>President to speak directly to members of the armed forces to rebut such
>At least one prominent Democrat (Sen. Kerry) charged members of the armed
>services with terrorizing the Iraqi people. That is a direct attack on the
>members of the armed services. Again, doesn't it make sense for the
>President to speak to the members of the armed services to express his
>confidence in them?
>If we are witnessing the phenomenon of a political split between the
>military and a portion of the civilian population, might the Democrats who
>make such claims and charges be more responsible for the split than the
>President who finally is responding to them? If the President's defense
>against such claims and charges in front of military audiences highlights
>for us civilians the irresponsible nature of the claims and charges, is that
>a politicization of the military?
>Mark S. Scarberry
>Pepperdine Univ. School of Law
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