EX-MIL GUYS STRIKE BACK AT DEMPSEY – AT 10:05 A.M. ET: Yesterday we reported on a comment – which we thought way out of line – by General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Dempsey had criticized ex-military personnel who are politically active in a campaign to defeat President Obama.
Now, one of the leaders in that campaign strikes back. From Fox:
OPSEC, a group of former military and intelligence operatives and creators of a long-form political ad that blames President Obama for a series of national security leaks, is firing back against criticisms from the nation's highest-ranking military officer.
Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey on Tuesday told Fox News he was "disappointed" by the political use of the military uniform.
"If someone uses the uniform, whatever uniform, for partisan politics, I am disappointed because I think it does erode that bond of trust we have with the American people,” Dempsey said in an interview with Fox News while flying back from a trip to Afghanistan and Iraq.
As we pointed out yesterday, that statement is absurd, and ridicules a long, honorable tradition of ex-military personnel entering politics once they have left the service. A guy named Washington, George, began that tradition.
But Scott Taylor, a former Navy SEAL and the president of OPSEC, argues that Dempsey's criticisms can be applied equally to the Obama campaign's "One Chance" ad, which features images of Black Hawk helicopters in flight and military pilots. The video, which is still available online, suggests Gov. Mitt Romney would not have made the same decision to call for the raid that killed Usama bin Laden.
“The Obama campaign continues to promote a highly partisan attack ad that used military footage and photographs from the White House Situation Room to support sharp criticism of the president’s political opponent,” Taylor said. “The use of those in uniform and the work they do for partisan political purposes is not only unhelpful, as General Dempsey said, but is dishonorable, and the campaign should immediately remove the ad for good.”
Taylor also claimed that unlike the Obama campaign's ad, all of the men featured in the OPSEC video were former military and therefore have the right to speak freely.
"Speaking openly about protecting those in uniform is far more helpful than speaking about classified intelligence or Special Operations missions, tactics and capabilities, which bipartisan leaders have said has reached alarming levels under this administration,” Taylor said.
Dempsey had said that as the steward of his profession -- the military -- he thinks it imperative that the military remain “apolitical.”
The general might follow his own advice.
August 23, 2012