Wednesday, January 04, 2012

The story from last night that no one is talking about

Update 3- The Army moves fast when you piss them off.  Stars and Stripes reports that the Army has already opened an investigation into CPL PV1 Thorsen.

Update 2-I wrote below that he is probably in line for an Article 15, but since his conduct was beyond dumb.  He showed up at a political rally in uniform, which is bad.  Then he did an interview in uniform, which is worse.  And to prove that he wasn't having any doubts about his actions, he went up on stage at a political rally and spoke on behalf or a partisan political candidate.  This is a clear example of when a court martial is appropriate.

Update-the CNN video identifies the soldier as Corporal Jesse Thorsen, and AKO lists Thorsen as a member of the Army Reserve with the 402nd Sapper Co out of Des Moines.  I think CPL Thorsen has some explaining to do today.

Why did a soldier in uniform stand on stage last night with Ron Paul, in a clear violation of military regulations?  Why is no one talking about it?  And why did some networks alter the video?

Here is a photo from the Daily Mail, showing a young man is US Army ACU's-
 Paul identifies the man as Jesse Thorson, a 10 year soldier who has deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, and the uniform would seem to bear that out.  His rank is hard to see, but looks like either two stripes of a corporal, or possibly three stripes of a sergeant.  Either one makes him a non commissioned officer who should know military regs on uniforms and politics.  On the top right of the uniform (as you see it in the photo) is a skill badge that appears to be a CIB (Combat Infantry Badge) Combat Action Badge given for direct combat with the enemy.  On his right sleeve is the US flag, and what looks like a unit patch below it, indicating service in a combat zone.

All of the above is bad enough-whether Thorson is a corporal or sergeant, he is likely to be a private very soon, and a bit lighter in the wallet.  Most people would assume he will be court martialled, but more likely will be an Article 15 punishment-loss of rank and forfeiture of 1/2 base pay for up to three months.

But then the plot thickens-CNN video of the event available on a Ron Paul website blurs out the soldiers name and US Army patches (left and right chest) as well as the US flag patch and combat patch on the right sleeve.  (Shown clearly at the 1 minute 10 second mark).  it looks like an attempt was made to blur the unit patch as well but failed.   So the question is did CNN edit the video or did the website?

I've embedded the video below, in case it disappears from the Paul site.

Ron Paul and conspiracy theories go hand in hand, but this?d


Anonymous said...

Just because you don't like what he has to say you cry foul. I think if a man fights for our constitution he should have a right to speak!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ken Prescott said...

"Anonymous," CPL Thorsen has a right to speak; he has the DUTY to not wear his uniform while engaging in that speech. The uniform is not to be used for partisan purposes. That's something that got drummed into me during boot camp.

Village Idiot said...

I think those drums were beating quite loudly during your days in boot camp - so much so, you willingly support unconstitutional wars against defenseless people.

But Kudos to you for knowing your Army regs I guess.

Ken Prescott said...

Well, Village Idiot, at least you chose a handle that suits you. Let me break this down to parade rest for you:

The uniform transcends political disputes. It is a symbol of the entire nation (even the parts that I disagreed with and that didn't agree with me), and not a mere suit of clothes. That's why it's not to be used for partisan purposes. I didn't serve in the "Ronald Reagan Marine Corps," I served in the UNITED STATES Marine Corps.

If Thorsen had wanted to support Ron Paul as a private citizen, and even mention his military experiences in support of his argument, that would've been perfectly fine. In a suit, he is a private citizen. But when he's actually wearing the uniform in public, he's not a private citizen, he's a soldier in uniform, and that changes everything.

Dave Thul said...

Everyone has the right to free speech, and having served in uniform for almost 20 years I have fought for that right.

But wearing the uniform while speaking freely wrong. This young soldier could have said everything he did in jeans and a Ron Paul t-shirt and never have batted an eye. As it is, he made an ass of himself.

But more to the point, the real ass here is Ron Paul, who should have no excuse for not knowing that a uniformed soldier on stage was against the rules. I have to wonder if Paul knew it was wrong, but rolled the dice for some free press.

Anonymous said...

This thing that irks is that I can pretty safely assume that 100% of the people who are really about defending it, do so because they agree with his position. If he had gotten up at the Newt Gingrich rally or Mitt Romney rally, would they happy about it?

...and that's part of the point of the reg! You really want every campaign out there scouring bases for soldiers they could use as exploit as TV shock troops? 1SGs hanging up banners and given political speeches at COB? How about some political brawls in the barracks.
You could have one legion be for Caesar and another to Pompey just like the good ol days.

They dont think I couldnt find plenty of troops to go speak at a Sarah Palin convention or something? Sure could, and would the Paulites then respond with "oh well, we should all listen to Troops for Palin because they are troops and all".
No, and they shouldnt, because Joes can be dumb simpletons like everyone else anyway, so its a poor exploitive appeal to authority that attempts to paint partisan politics on to a diverse group that has no business with partisan politics

Village Idiot said...

"Everyone has a right to free speech"

.....except those in uniform. Ironic isn't it?

Newsflash grunts: you're not fighting for anyone's freedom; certainly not mine.

Ken Prescott said...

"Everyone has a right to free speech

.....except those in uniform. Ironic isn't it?"

No, it isn't. Would you be OK with CPL Thorsen had he taken the stage to denounce Ron Paul and support Mitt Romney while wearing his uniform? Somehow, I don't think you'd be cool with that.

This prohibition was first put in place by the Founding Fathers to reconcile the need for an effective military force with the very real danger to liberty posed by such a force. There was actually an attempted military coup during the Revolutionary War (the Newburgh Conspiracy) that was defused by General Washington himself.

Think about this for a moment: from a purely technical standpoint, the United States government is the one most vulnerable to a military coup. In the gravest extreme (specifically, a nuclear missile attack), all three branches of the government effectively place themselves in military custody. Unlike other nations with such arrangements in place, we do not have extensive internal security measures within the military; we do not have political police monitoring the troops to make sure that they remain loyal, et cetera.

What has prevented a latter-day Caesar from crossing the Rubicon (or, in our case, the Potomac) is a combination of longstanding tradition (that the military is nonpartisan) backed by stringent regulations to enforce that tradition.

Now, with that in mind...if political speech in uniform is OK as long as one supports the "right" candidate, what other regulations can be disregarded? Hey, maybe armed soldiers can go door-to-door and solicit donations for Ron Paul! After all, you can get a lot more with a kind word and a gun than with just a kind word, right?

Maybe some soldiers can call in an artillery barrage on a Mitt Romney rally.

Heck, maybe some "patriotic" zoomie fighter pilot can splash Air Force One while an mech TF storms the Naval Observatory and calls an airstrike in on Capitol Hill.

Where does this ride end? Why does it end where YOU wish it to end and not where the guys with lots of firepower might wish it to end?

Village Idiot said...

Wow that's some crazy stuff, Ken.

To answer your question, yes, I'm OK with soldiers endorsing whoever they want.

Although I'm throwing the BS flag on the Founding Fathers part - please show me where the Founding Fathers SPECIFICALLY outlawed soldiers supporting political candidates while wearing the uniform. If you're correct - and there's no way in hell you are - then there would be no need for a UCMJ investigation now would there?

Ken you're letting your emotions get the best of you. Zoom out & think a little. It's OK, I'll wait because I know it takes groundpounders a lot longer to reach logical conclusions.

The rest of your post is nonsense.

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Dave Thul said...

Idiot the Founding Fathers never told joe not to get into politics. The military told joe not to get involved in politics. You wear the uniform, you obey the rules.