RANGER AGAINST WAR: Uniforms Sell Things <

Monday, February 19, 2007

Uniforms Sell Things

Some ruminations, led by a prefatory reminder of the nature of some of the charges against Lieutenant Ehren Watada, currently undergoing a court-martial for his refusal to participate in the Iraq campaign based on his belief that the war is an illegal action.

"Each of the latter charges relates to his public comments...the military judge also rejected defense arguments that 1LT Watada's remarks are protected by the First Amendment

Yesterday while spending the night in Columbus, Georgia, the town supporting Ft. Benning, I watched a TV advertisement that was illustrative of the Army's schizophrenic behavior.

The ad had two enlisted soldiers describing the great deals they got from a local car dealership. Both soldiers were dressed in battle dress type uniforms. Just seems odd: Watada can't talk to the press, but enlisted soldiers can wear the national uniforms to help sell cars. Freedom of speech obviously has different interpretations at Ft. Benning than at Ft, Lewis, Washington.

Soldiers seem to have freedom of speech to pimp for used car dealers, but not to oppose an illegal war.

another article, Lieutenant John Head noted that "contemptuous speech by an officer directed at a President" is grounds for prosecution under military law. What if contemptuous and truthful are the same thing? If one's statements are truthful and accurate, though they be construed as contemptuous, is that then illegal?

"Head also said Watada was not entitled to a hearing on the legality of the Iraq war and had no right to defend his actions by arguing that they were motivated by his opposition to an illegal war. Those are
political questions that a military court has no authority to consider, he said."

How can a military judge possibly say that Watada's objections to the war are political issues rather than legal in nature? The legality of this war and GWB's orders are the crux of this legal issue. Legality can be determined by recourse to written treatises. One's politics are a separate issue, and subjective in nature. Opposition to this war transverses political boundaries.

If Nuremburg taught any lesson, it is that the legality of all orders must be addressed by all soldiers, and not only officers.


Blogger Claymore said...

Were the two soldiers enlisted or officer? Did they even wear rank, did they have name tags, did they wear SSI, US army tags, or Did they state their rank? I would bet not.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007 at 9:23:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


I do not know the nomenclature about the latest battle dress uniform with the computer generated camo, but that's what they were wearing.

Their uniforms were complete, inc. rank, one female, one rank, both Spec. 4's. I regretted that I could not inc. a picture of this. But yes, this was surprising that they identified themselves.

Back when I was stationed at Ft. Benning, it was an Art. 15 offense to wear anything but Class A's or Class B's downtown. The only exception was quick mart purchases. The army has changed.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007 at 8:12:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Claymore said...

"The army has changed."

Yes it has.

If you notice, there were predatory lenders, pawn shops, and sleezy car salesmen all up and down VD ave. This is where the problem lies; they aggressively target the military community for their government allotment form and guaranteed pay check. Except for limiting loans to 35% annually, the government has done nothing to stop this.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007 at 11:36:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. I started to read more into the site but my eyes are dragging. I will read more. Definetely about the birth ratio you spoke of in Gadsen County.
Hope your drive was good. Nice to meet you.

Thursday, February 22, 2007 at 12:58:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes I remember the days of the uniform issue downtown and the threat of an Art 15. Never got one. But the Army now says you can wear your BDU's or the ACU's downtown, on airplane fights, etc. Going to an establishment that primarly serves alcohol is still a no go. It is different now. Been in 33 years.

Thursday, February 22, 2007 at 9:48:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


Just some friendly advice: get out soon, or they're gonna start calling you a lifer.

Thanks for your post and your service--my salute,


Thursday, February 22, 2007 at 9:20:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


If you'll notice, recent federal bankruptcy legislation was written solely for the benefit of the high-interest credit card companies. So VD is just a microcosm of a fundamental societal problem.

Nothing will get done about any of these rip-off artists b/c they're probably republicans (and we know none of them care about veterans or military personnel, save for their dollars.)

[*As a personal note, it is sad to see all of the topless bars gone from VD. I only say that for the benefit of you armor-types]


Thursday, February 22, 2007 at 9:33:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Publius said...

Well, actually, I think the issue of wearing what we used to call "fatigues" off post has been settled. I mean, when you have the Army Chief of Staff showing up at traditional coat-and-tie functions in combat garb, how does one knock the troops for doing likewise? I and many others of my acquaintance think it looks like shit and makes the officer in question look like a phony poseur, but all other considerations recede when it's necessary that a general working in The Pentagon look like a "warrior."

Actually, Ranger, you should do a post about just how ridiculous senior officers look showing up on Capital Hill and elsewhere looking like they just came in from the field. I hope they bathe first anyway. I also note that the other services—even the USMC—for which too many Army officers have a case of penis envy—don't run around in fatigues when everyone else has a suit on. They don't go to work in D.C. like that, either. Only the Army does it. Imagine George Marshall prancing around D.C. in fatigues. But, shit, who was he, next to these "warriors?" Style over substance.

WRT these TV commercials, IOTM that there is a UCMJ prohibition against active duty folks wearing the uniform or representing the military in supporting commercial enterprises or in assisting politicians. Maybe the troops feel safe in doing this inasmuch they're used to seeing uniformed senior officers flacking for the politicians for whom they work.

And why has no one mentioned Phenix City?

Thursday, February 22, 2007 at 10:45:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Claymore said...

I am not an armor type, please do not refer me as so. They castrated me when I involentarily transitioned to cav scout. Thank you, this is a very sensitive topic.

Saturday, February 24, 2007 at 3:33:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger A.E. said...

Yes, I've heard of the lenders Claymore talks about. There were a lot of stories lately about "pay as you go" lenders bankrupting soldiers who did not have a solid knowledge of finance.

Saturday, February 24, 2007 at 9:28:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...



Saturday, February 24, 2007 at 2:29:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


When I was CO-CDR, the big scam was Army and Airborne rings, financed. The price was astronomical after you figured in the financing, and most soldiers reneged, Naturally, I would get collection letters and would send the rings back. No UCMJ. End of story.

Saturday, February 24, 2007 at 6:11:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


Yes, it would be nice if these warrior kings at least had a CIB on their uniform.

I'm sure that Army regulation addresses commercial use of the uniform, such as I saw in Columbus, GA, but we won't see any art. 15's anytime soon.


Saturday, February 24, 2007 at 6:37:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger A.E. said...


It's good you didn't fall for that. It sounds like a horrible scam.

Sunday, February 25, 2007 at 12:58:00 AM GMT-5  

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