An Open Letter To the “Armed Forces Tea Party”
Dear Members of the Armed Forces Tea Party,
Shut the fuck up and do what you’re told.
Yeah, I know that’s harsh. I know it sounds like I’m getting all up in your First Amendment rights by telling you you’re not allowed to speak out publicly against the Commander-in-Chief of all U.S. Armed Forces, but you know what? I am. Because you’re not. See, I know it bugs the hell out of you that your personal political bents aren’t being sufficiently catered to because the person in the White House right now isn’t some swaggering cowboy dickhead who’s more than willing to put your boots on the ground in some dust-ridden, third-world pit for literally no good reason. But the fact that you hate Barack Obama is meaningless; he’s your boss. When he tells you to jump, you say “how high?” Why? Because if you don’t the entire machine that is the all-volunteer United States military — rightly and often referred to as the greatest fighting force that’s ever existed upon this earth — breaks down, and that endangers all of us, regardless of whichever political belief we each happen to adhere to.
I don’t want to go to war in any capacity in Syria. I agree that while something needs to be done to stop the evil son-of-a-bitch that is al-Assad from killing any more of his own perfectly innocent people, many of the rebels fighting against him — the people who will very likely step in to fill whatever power vacuum is created in his absence — are less-than-hospitable to the United States sharing their planet. On top of this, even though I freely admit that I haven’t had to fight given that I’m way past the point where I could try to join the military without being laughed out of the recruiting office, I, like everyone else in this country, suffer from serious war fatigue after the past decade. I’ve had enough. At this point it would likely take the unmistakable satellite image of a nuclear missile with ten babies strapped to it aimed directly at my apartment complex for me to truly want to see the U.S. go to war in another Middle-Eastern shithole. I don’t want one more American life put in danger because of somebody else’s problem in a region that hates us anyway.
But — I get to make statements like that publicly because I’m not a soldier, sailor, Marine, or airman. Your job is to fight when told to; the best any of us can ever hope for is that the people entrusted with making the decisions that put you in harm’s way are thoughtful and judicious about it, but that being said it’s flat out fucking wrong to make even anonymous public statements against the President of the United States. It’s even worse, by the way, to allow yourselves to be exploited by a political movement that obviously force fed you the lines you’re spouting, supposedly out of a sense of grassroots outrage, whether you believe the general sentiment or not. When you post pictures of yourselves holding up little index cards protesting potentially having to fight in Syria — which you almost certainly won’t anyway, certainly not on the ground — and every single one of those cards reads exactly the same, with the same arguments and buzzwords repeated over and over, it’s obvious you’re not expressing an opinion so much as filling out a pissy political Mad Libs.
Look, I had an issue with Bradley Manning dumping classified information into the hands of Julian Assange and Wikileaks for the same reason I’m angry about this: because again, if you don’t follow orders as a member of the military, our entire national defense apparatus goes to shit. Don’t like the fact that you’re not allowed to be a free-thinker and that you have to do what you’re told by your commanders and, yes, the Commander-in-Chief? Tough shit. You shouldn’t have joined the military. But that’s neither here nor there now. Now you are in fact a member of our elite fighting force. I damn sure hope you don’t have to fight and I applaud you, respect you, and am forever grateful to you for putting your asses on the line to keep me safe. But if called upon to fight, you will have to, regardless of whether you’re a big fan of whichever particular President of the United States gives the order. The rank-and-file U.S. military is supposed to be above politicization. That’s why it works, and it doesn’t work any other way.
I respect your views, provided they’re actually your views and not those of some asshole who wants to stir up controversy because he is — or they are — determined at all costs to derail anything and everything attempted by Barack Obama because that’s how fucked our country is right now. But here’s the thing: keep those views to yourself. Keep them to yourself and do your jobs with the honor and dedication we’ve come to expect, what’s befitting your awesome power and responsibility as members of the U.S military.
We rely on you.