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Griping Could Mean Charges for Soldiers
Associated Press ^ | July 18, 2003

Posted on 07/18/2003 3:06:52 PM PDT by AntiGuv

WASHINGTON - The Army is considering whether to punish soldiers in Iraq who griped about conditions there to a television reporter, a Pentagon spokeswoman said Friday.

Some soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Division complained to ABC-TV this week after their units were told they would be leaving Iraq soon, then had their homecoming postponed. One called for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.

Criticism of superior officers is a breach of military rules. The Army will determine whether any soldier will be charged with breaking those rules, said Pentagon spokeswoman Chief Petty Officer Diane Perry.

On Wednesday, the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq said the soldiers' comments show the frustration of troops who are ready to go home.

"Every now and then we've got to look at our young people and understand why they said what they said, and then do something about it," said Gen. John Abizaid, head of U.S. Central Command.

He said it was up to the soldiers' direct commanders to decide if they should be punished.

"None of us that wear this uniform are free to say anything disparaging about the secretary of defense, or the president of the United States," he added.


TOPICS: Front Page News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 3rd; rebuildingiraq; ucmj

1 posted on 07/18/2003 3:06:52 PM PDT by AntiGuv
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To: AntiGuv; TLBSHOW
"None of us that wear this uniform are free to say anything disparaging about the secretary of defense, or the president of the United States," he added.

At least not publicly.

2 posted on 07/18/2003 3:08:59 PM PDT by Fred Mertz
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To: All

Let's keep the Dem's on the run!
Click the Pic!

3 posted on 07/18/2003 3:10:48 PM PDT by Support Free Republic (Your support keeps Free Republic going strong!)
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To: Fred Mertz
It is a violation of the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice, written a approved by the United States Congress and signed into law by the President of the United States by the way), that statements such as these against the President or senior civilian officials can be deemend crimes. So, yes. They can be charged. Probably, if anything with a stearn butt chewing. If any other type of charges, probably nothing more than an Article 15 under the UCMJ, non-judicial punishment. I doubt Courts-Martial.
4 posted on 07/18/2003 3:13:18 PM PDT by RetiredArmy (We'll put a boot in your ass, it's the American Way! Toby Keith)
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To: Fred Mertz
Exactly! Talking to ABC was dumb, dumb, dumb!

Two-star general from Wright-Patt during Clinton was removed and had to retire because he made remarks about Clinton in Germany!

That is just the way it is!
5 posted on 07/18/2003 3:13:44 PM PDT by PhiKapMom (Bush Cheney '04 - VICTORY IN '04 -- $4 for '04 - www.GeorgeWBush.com/donate/)
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To: PhiKapMom
They DEFINTELY need to be punished...as it is against the UMCJ rules they ALL know about going in. Hope ABC is proud.
6 posted on 07/18/2003 3:18:33 PM PDT by Ann Archy
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To: AntiGuv
If getting spanked was good enough for Douglas MacArthur, it is good enough for these guys.
7 posted on 07/18/2003 3:23:21 PM PDT by niteowl77 (My soldier son generally keeps his complaints within the unit- why pee in everyone's Wheaties?)
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To: Ann Archy
When I first heard it I thought UCMJ! ABC reporter needs to be fired along with their producer for putting this on the air.

People seem to forget when you join the military, you are subject to rules the rest of us are not. Another thing -- when you get deployed, there is no guarantee that you will be back to the States on the date you were told. Military deployments don't work that way. Ask the USS Lincoln crew!

8 posted on 07/18/2003 3:23:58 PM PDT by PhiKapMom (Bush Cheney '04 - VICTORY IN '04 -- $4 for '04 - www.GeorgeWBush.com/donate/)
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To: PhiKapMom
The difference is the media stood by Clinton and were down on the military when those derogatory remarks were made. Now it's the other way around.
9 posted on 07/18/2003 3:26:26 PM PDT by BonnieJ
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To: Fred Mertz
At least not publicly.

During 29 years of Army service, I heard lot's of gripes from soldiers, especially during my last 10 years when I served as a Chaplain. We used to say, "If the soldiers are not complaining, you better investigate because some thing if seriously wrong."

BUT...we never complained in public, and absolutely never talked to the press. Something smells in this latest round of stories!

10 posted on 07/18/2003 3:27:00 PM PDT by LiteKeeper
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To: BonnieJ
The difference is the media stood by Clinton and were down on the military when those derogatory remarks were made. Now it's the other way around.

Oh yeah, all you're going to hear now is screeching from the media about how this is yet another example of Bush/Ashcroft destroying our civil rights.

11 posted on 07/18/2003 3:28:33 PM PDT by CFC__VRWC (Hippies. They want to save the earth, but all they do is smoke dope and smell bad.)
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To: PhiKapMom
My hubby has NEVER been home when he was first told...and I learned early never to expect it.

I think the only punishment will be that they are not retained...if they wanted a military career, it's now over...they are not career material anyway...they want to be in the Army, but don't want to do what they are trained for....they are not professional soldiers...good riddance.

btw...I had to keep my mouth shut for 8 years of the rapist reign.

12 posted on 07/18/2003 3:31:03 PM PDT by mystery-ak (The War is not over for me until my hubby's boots hit U.S. soil.)
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To: AntiGuv
There is always 10% who don't get the word

And there is always 10% who will bitch about anything.

So9

13 posted on 07/18/2003 3:35:32 PM PDT by Servant of the Nine (A Goldwater Republican)
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To: AntiGuv
They need to be punished. You just can't have this.
And you can be damn sure that we'll hear wailing and the gnashing of teeth from everybody's momma.
The Canadian ABC reporter had a joyous time filing different reports over the course of the day. He was giddy with excitement and remarks he made bespoke of his knowledge of the over-the-top nature of the soldiers' remarks.
14 posted on 07/18/2003 3:38:30 PM PDT by thegreatbeast (Quid lucrum istic mihi est?)
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To: AntiGuv
They need to be made an example of. Throw the book at 'em.
15 posted on 07/18/2003 3:40:57 PM PDT by Cyber Liberty ( 2003, Ravin' Lunatic since 4/98)
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To: thegreatbeast
And you can be damn sure that we'll hear wailing and the gnashing of teeth from everybody's momma.

The more, the better.

16 posted on 07/18/2003 3:41:30 PM PDT by Cyber Liberty ( 2003, Ravin' Lunatic since 4/98)
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To: Cyber Liberty
Throw the book at 'em.

Firing squad?

17 posted on 07/18/2003 3:52:19 PM PDT by AntiGuv (If at first you don't succeed, don't try skydiving!!)
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To: PhiKapMom
One has to wonder about the motivations of the media pool reporters who put these guys up this as well. The responsibility lies with the soldier - but there's no way those guys made it over to Iraq without getting a military affairs briefing - they KNOW soldiers cannot publicly disparage our leaders while in uniform. Something stinks here.
18 posted on 07/18/2003 3:54:52 PM PDT by Freedom4US
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To: AntiGuv
Naw. Killin's too good for 'em...

;^)

19 posted on 07/18/2003 3:55:26 PM PDT by Cyber Liberty ( 2003, Ravin' Lunatic since 4/98)
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To: Freedom4US
Another tradition broken, post-Clinton.

If the Military enlisted were allowed to complain during the Clintoon years, Clintoon would not have lasted 6 months. We would have seen the poll about letting gays in the military, and that would have been the end.

Clintoon broke the tradition about criticizing a current President's policies, and it trickled down.

Ex-AF.

20 posted on 07/18/2003 4:32:13 PM PDT by MonroeDNA (Be a monthly doner!!! Just 3 bucks a month will make us proud!!!)
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To: Cyber Liberty
What to do now? Not sure. The liberal media is wetting their collective diapers.

If the Military gets politicized, all I can think of is buy ammo.
21 posted on 07/18/2003 4:34:21 PM PDT by MonroeDNA (Be a monthly doner!!! Just 3 bucks a month will make us proud!!!)
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To: MonroeDNA
Agreed. My son was in the Navy under Clinton, and they hated Clinton, but nobody was dumb enough to state this publicly.

I think these soldiers shouldn't be punished but warned. Most of all, I think they should be warned about the fact that the press is not their friend, and basically wants to attack GWB through them, and doesn't care if it makes them look bad or sends them up before Captain's Mast in the process.

Remember, most of the press is what would have been considered "4-F."
22 posted on 07/18/2003 4:40:30 PM PDT by livius
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To: AntiGuv
This is no time for political correctness. These soldiers endangered their own lives and the lives of all those around them. The Iraqi opposition DOES get American TV and they now think they know how to win. Just keep killing our soldiers and we'll turn tail and run. If Bush won't turn tail, get all the whiny weak folks at home to start protesting and in no time at all Saddam has won.

Smooth move guys. I hope you're happy. As to ABC who aired this, they should have their licenses all pulled, every single affiliate who aired that. Let the network try to survive with no affiliates.

23 posted on 07/18/2003 4:43:13 PM PDT by McGavin999 (Don't be a Freeploader, contribute to FreeRepublic!)
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To: RetiredArmy
How do these laws override the first amendment right of free speech? Has this issue ever been tested in court?
24 posted on 07/18/2003 4:55:38 PM PDT by TheCPA (Co-author of Tax Stategies for the Self-Employed)
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Comment #25 Removed by Moderator

To: AntiGuv
Criticism of superior officers is a breach of military rules.

It's a violation of military LAW, not just rules, as others have posted. I'm sure the chain of command has put out the word reminding even the "bottom 10%" of their responsibilities, while reminding commanders and senior NCO's of their responsibilities to keep communicating with (and listening to) their troops.

We were "late" due to operational requirements on every deployment I was on. The guys don't like it, but they can handle it if they know the big picture. I had a young leftist in my division who made it clear he didn't like Reagan's military, had no respect for military authority. Though we counseled him in the hope that he'd just grow up, eventually the Navy agreed that he didn't belong in a uniform and gave him an Admin discharge.

Same thing will probably happen with these guys. I suspect the combination of Email (i.e. instant communication) and state-side political activism has brought these guys out of the wood-work. You know how easy it could be for a political agent of the Democrats to "sympathize" with a young wife and quietly whisper how much they care, and feel her pain, and how illegitmate the whole war is.. and how Bush stole his office in the first place and now has used his power to create this illegal war is, and how her husband would be home right now if Al Gore were the President.. etc.

It wouldn't be all that tough to get the wives of some young elisted men to write some letters, and talk to a reporter. So, I think the military will evaluate each situation. If the guy and his wife are part of some larger political, anti-war effort, or if he's been a discipline problem previously, or if he's simply unrelenting in public criticism, they'll get the soldier out of the service ASAP.

Otherwise, it'll be handled quietly with NJP (non-judicial punishment).

FReegards, SFS

26 posted on 07/18/2003 5:18:08 PM PDT by Steel and Fire and Stone
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To: livius
"I think these soldiers shouldn't be punished but warned."

In the 1800s, officers tried to reat soldiers as severly as they treated underclassmen at West Point. That worked well in creating stellar officers who deeply cared about "God, Honor, and Country," but as we have always had "citizen soldiers" who came forward to leave civilian life behind to help with the military mission at hand, this was changed in the twentieth century to a more moderate treatment that took the citizen rights of soldiers more into consideration.

I was often told that the strenght of our soldiers who dared ask questions and sometimes bickered and complained was that they could be counted on taking charge if superiors were killed and they were called on to make sure they and their fellows accomplished the mission.

I'm sure this was more transitory and situational then indicative of a wholesale breakdown of unit cohesion and a lack of respct for the chain of command.

They should have their 'Richards' slapped. And if they did this again, then whether or not more stringent measures were implimented could be revisited.

I have faith that these are basically good men who care about their job. And I would fel better if they were given the oppertunity to prove this.

Creating deep fears of reprisal is no real way to run any army.

27 posted on 07/18/2003 5:27:57 PM PDT by bicycle thug
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To: TheCPA
How do these laws override the first amendment right of free speech?

Military personnel agree to subordinate their constitutional rights to UCMJ when they swear their oath. They can't even go to a political rally in civilian cloths.

Reserve and Guard personnel can do so, but not in a forum where their military duties are identified in a public forum. For example, as a Naval Reserve officer, I was free to participate in National political campaigns, but if they referred to my active duty Reserve service (i.e. Commander SFS, USNR states "..President Bush is an illegal ursurper of his office ..", or "..President Clinton is a crook..", I'd be in hot water. Even if I was retired, I'm pretty certain the UCMJ would prohibit a retired military of member from, for example, insulting the President, etc..

FReegards, SFS

28 posted on 07/18/2003 5:28:20 PM PDT by Steel and Fire and Stone
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To: bicycle thug
Creating deep fears of reprisal is no real way to run any army.

Fear of reprisal is better than losing control of "good order and discipline". It's hard for civilians comprehend the sacrifice in terms of rules and rights that military men willingly accept as second nature.

A good soldier (or sailor, airman, or Marine) respects the chain-of-command, and that includes the Secretary of Defense and President. In fact, I cheated a bit during the Clinton years and went to an "inactive duty" status to get away from the corruption he brought to the military. Probably blue a 15 year career, but I couldn't stomach the gay Asst. Secy's of Defense & Navy I had to deal with. I nearly upchucked after every indoctrination meeting.

FReegards, SFS

29 posted on 07/18/2003 5:35:36 PM PDT by Steel and Fire and Stone
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Comment #30 Removed by Moderator

To: PhiKapMom
They also talked to a journalist named Collier who published an article in the San Francisco Chronicle. In Collier's case the military should send him home immediately. Surely, the two people he directly quoted are now in for big trouble.
31 posted on 07/18/2003 5:50:38 PM PDT by gaspar
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To: RetiredArmy
That is where tthey crossed the line. I suspect the soldiers that those just "Griping" about the conditions will probably not get prosecuted but the ones that went the next step to criticize commanders will face some punishment.

To say it is hot and nasty here and I want to go home is one thing but calling for the resignation of the Secretary of Defense is another.

32 posted on 07/18/2003 6:16:16 PM PDT by gunnut
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To: AntiGuv
I wonder how many potatoes these guys are going to peel?

Or is it latrine duty that is worse?

33 posted on 07/18/2003 6:20:29 PM PDT by Nachum
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To: Nachum
A soldier on Dateline tonight was also griping. Wonder what will happen to him.
34 posted on 07/18/2003 6:30:28 PM PDT by pitinkie
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To: AntiGuv
This crap needs to be nipped in the bud. I'm all for making "examples" of the public whiners....
35 posted on 07/18/2003 7:59:44 PM PDT by CheneyChick
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To: CheneyChick
No reason to punish whining or griping. Attitudes change pronto when a good leader is put in charge.

The sergeant in charge of the platoon obviously needs to be relieved; not for disrespect--which he did not demonstrate--but for failure to perform his duty as a leader. The soldier who called for Rumsfeld's resingation needs some type of formal punishment.

And most of all, the sergeant--a leader--who actually sought out the reporter to tell him that his most wanted cards included Bush and Rumsfeld--that guy needs to be identified and awarded the maximum punishment we can mete out for the appropriate charge under the UCMJ.

36 posted on 07/18/2003 8:39:28 PM PDT by mark502inf
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To: McGavin999
BINGO!

We should also take some action against ABC News. Not only did they air the whining and complaing from these guys. They also identified which unit they were in and where they were located (in Falluja I think). Coincidentally, since the report, the Saddam loyalists have attacked (and killed) several Americans in the immediate area.

Someone needs to remind these guys that when they complain publicly on TV like that, they might just get an early trip home in a box.

I also wonder if we Freepers should be organizing a boycott of all advertisers on ABC's evening news and "Good Morning America" programs as retalliation for their cooperation and aid to the enemy and to show our support for the troops.

37 posted on 07/18/2003 8:55:12 PM PDT by cc2k
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To: mark502inf
You are absolutely correct. The NCO creed means nothing to the sergeant in question....
38 posted on 07/20/2003 9:59:25 PM PDT by CheneyChick
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To: CheneyChick; PhiKapMom
I just feel so embarrassed for the cities and towns these guys come from! PKM, can you imagine one of these guys being from Oklahoma...say, Skiatook? Where the whole town is plastered in flags and yellow ribbons? Can you imagine how embarrassed they would be?

How can these guys come home with their heads up, after getting on there whining like they did? If that was my son or husband on there acting like that, I would be mortified.

I have friends that are in Iraq, friends that I look forward to welcoming home like heros!
39 posted on 07/20/2003 10:10:24 PM PDT by 2Jedismom (HHD with 4 Chickens)
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