This from WaPo on the “punishment” for some vocal in uniform opponents to DoD’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Policy revision:

Lt. Gen. Benjamin Mixon, commander of the U.S. Army Pacific, received a smack-down from the top brass at the Pentagon after he wrote a letter to Stars and Stripes, a newspaper that covers the military, urging service members and their families to lobby elected officials to keep “don’t ask, don’t tell” in place.

Last week, Gates called Mixon’s comments “inappropriate.” Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, concurred and said that if commanders disagree with policy changes, they should not resort to political advocacy but rather “vote with your feet” by resigning.

Since then, however, Mixon appears to have undergone a political rehabilitation. On Wednesday, McHugh said that Mixon had been advised that his letter was “inappropriate” but that he would not receive a formal reprimand.

11 Responses to “DADT with a MilJus Twist Please”

  1. Late Bloomer says:

    A bit different when you are asked a question by the Armed Services Committee which you are legally obligated to answer truthfully versus spouting off in a letter to the editor don’t you think?

    Fair point. But how convenient that the CJCS is given just such a forum to voice his “personal beliefs” about “the right thing to do.”

    I am not condoning the General’s judgment, but I do think that it is a bit too easy to sit as the CJCS or SecDef and opine on such matters when the commanders are the ones left to pick up the pieces. I realize that there is a distinction because CJCS is a sort of policymaker, whereas commanders are not.

    I think the General would have done better to quote Tennyson. “Mine is not to question why, mine is but to do and die.”

  2. filet of fish says:

    did Mixon write this on the clock when he was supposed to be working for the President? Who asked him for his views one way or the other? Military officers are not policymakers.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Well, I don’t think it was a conspiracy. The Marine chief was also asked and he gave a more negative response to the question so it isn’t like they checked before-hand to make sure everyone was pro getting rid of DADT before inviting them to speak at Congress.

    The General would have done better not to write the letter to the editor at all. He wasn’t even put on the spot by being asked a question, he took the time to write it out, mail/email it and didn’t just give his own personal opinion, but solicited others to come out against it.

    Pretty cut and dry to me.

  4. Late Bloomer says:

    With all due respect to the CJCS, he too should have kept silent when he was asked to opine on the policy.

  5. Late Bloomer says:

    “No matter how I look at the issue, I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens,” Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

    As a murmur swept through a hearing room packed with gay rights leaders, Admiral Mullen said it was his personal belief that “allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would be the right thing to do.”

    SOURCE: NYTimes, 2 Feb 10, Elisabeth Bumiller

  6. Anonymous says:

    A bit different when you are asked a question by the Armed Services Committee which you are legally obligated to answer truthfully versus spouting off in a letter to the editor don’t you think?

  7. John O'Connor says:

    This is apples and oranges.

    Congress is one of the branches of government, the one constitutionally tasked with regulating the land and naval forces. Military personnel called to testify before Congress should give their full and frank opinions on matters about which they are asked. I see no reason why a servicemember should have greater allegience and/or loyalty to the Executive branch (which holds some of the war powers) than to the legislative branch (which holds the other war powers).

    Military officers making statements about policy positions in the press always make me uneasy, whether I agree with the speaker or not. The military is, after all, subject to civilian control and ought not be undermining that civilian control by bypassing the civilian organs of government and trying to foster dissatisfaction (in the ranks or in the public at large) with the decisions made by the civilian organs of government.

  8. Late Bloomer says:

    What if a reporter asks Adm. Mullen a question about his testimony to Congress? Is he able to further expound? Again, I don’t think the General did the right thing by writing to a paper, but I think there has to be an appropriate forum for a service member to voice his/her concerns over policy that is likely to have a significant impact on the military. I don’t think “vote with your feet” is the right answer.

  9. Anon says:

    Not their call, anymore than it would have been to expound on the integration of African-Americans or women back when that was both controversial and likely to have a significant impact on the military.

    And given the high percentage of young Americans who are for want of a better word “gay-friendly” or at the very least “gay-tolerant” the real impact is more likely to be felt among senior NCOs and officers than amongst the rank-and-file young enlisted who will probably adapt rather quickly.

  10. Mike "No Man" Navarre says:

    LB: While I appreciate where you are coming from on giving top commanders a platform to voice their opinion, (a) I am not sure if that is really how the military works for those in uniform and (b) the editorial page isn’t even close to the right forum. As for (a), what would a civilian employer do to an employee that publicy criticized the employer for policy changes (an this is not a whistleblower situation)? Easy answer, fire the employee. Why should it be any different for uniformed officers who, as JO’C points out, have a higher duty of allegiance to their civilian superiors. While the press always has a field day when the military chooses to prosecute under MCM Para. 72 (Disloyal statements), the offense is there for a reason. While I don’t all the facts so I can’t know whether these statements cross the line to being disloyal, they certainly don’t appear to be at first blush. Military officers forum for airing theri dissatisfaction has always been in my view very much like the forum for lawyers that are dissatisfied with their client. See Navy Rule of Prof. Resp. 1.6, Comment 6 and Rule 1.13, Comment 1.d. (note there is no [provision for taking policy disagreements outside the chain of command).

  11. Anonymous says:

    I have and continue to say that the General did not exercise the best judgment. However, I also think that there is something wrong with a system that permits one senior officer to voice his personal opinion on a controversial topic, while chastising others for voicing theirs. I would rather Congress have called a diversity of servicemembers to testify.