Friday, April 6, 2012

Libertarians in Media are clueless about the military

Gun Toting Socialist, David Weigel
There's no warfare like class warfare.

One of the sad things about the true Right, which includes libertarians, is the utter absence of military knowledge in the ranks of their scribes.  It is not an issue that many of us with decades of military experience are not libertarian, no it is just odd that magazines like Reason cannot manage to assign a single story that relates to the military to anybody with a day's worth of experience in uniform.  Worse than that, a basic item of being libertarian in America is actually knowing what is in the US Constitution.  This works out great when libertarians publish articles about marijuana legalization or abuses of police power, but they seem to have skipped Article 1, Section 8 when topics like Marines badmouthing the Commander-In-Chief pop up.

In his latest David Weigel impression, Mike Riggs tosses this bit of class warfare into the cloud:

Mike Riggs, David Weigel Impersonator
Dissenting While Enlisted Will Get You Fired, Dissenting While Commanding Gets You Retired

Riggs tosses out the false comparison between the treatment of a General who illegally badmouthed Vice President Biden and was summarily retired, with the treatment of a Marine Sergeant who was discharged, with nine years of service, for badmouthing the President.

Article 1, Section 8, states in part:
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
The Congress is empowered, actually commanded by the States to regulate the affairs of military people in a manner that they cannot do to civilians through the "organizing, arming, and disciplining" portion of the document that most libertarians hold dear.

In this case, it is a simple principle that crosses both government service and private employment grounds: badmouthing the boss can have severe consequences.  On a related point, Riggs' lack of knowledge is telling:

Could those remarks be interpreted as "prejudicial to good order and discipline"? I guess that depends on your rank. They were bad enough that Obama told McChrystal to resign or be fired, but they weren't bad enough for McChrystal to be discharged. 

Riggs' concept of what "be fired" means for a soldier amounts to getting a transfer to a new department, or being moved to a smaller office, like some screwup at the EPA.  Not the case.  Be fired means getting booted from the service, but it usually does not mean losing one's pension.

I know a retired Command Sergeant Major who was famous for this with the senior NCOs within his domain for infractions arguably much more severe than this, usually dereliction of duty related violations.  He would show up where the NCO was supposed to be working, knowing full well that they would not be there, track the NCO down and shove a resignation letter and a list of charges before the NCO, giving the NCO his choice of retiring or fighting the charges.  They always chose retirement.

Additionally, Riggs appears to be under the impression that a Sergeant got screwed out of a retirement check.  As most all Service Members know (as well as many other people), you are not eligible for retirement after only nine years of service.  If this Marine had 20 good years of service, odds are overwhelming that he would have been forced out as a retiree, just like the General.  Fact is, he was not even half-way to retirement so the point is moot.

Another factor here is the liberaltarian leanings of Reason magazine.  Their writers and readers tend to have the same attitude toward the US Military as college Liberal Arts professors and their fellow travelers at The Daily Worker, The Nation, Slate and MSNBC.
Update: Looks like Nick Gillespie, aka The Jacket of Reason, get it but he does not get to expand on how he came to his correct conclusion. Redeye from 5 APR 2012.

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