The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Spec Ops SuperPAC? Really?

Posted on | June 26, 2012 | 28 Comments

by Smitty

I don’t really go for concern trolls, as I was relating to Mataconis on Twitter earlier. But, as noted byhat tip to Nice Deb, there is a Rubicon being crossed when veterans as such become politicized.

Granted, the one driving that politicizing is none other than #OccupyResoluteDesk himself. Incapable of leadership in any positive way, Barack stoops to victory laps over a killing. BHO should emulate the troops who actually conducted the operation, and shut up about it.

And so now the troops are going to break that silence. The military will pursue some political leverage. The Military-Industrial Complex already swings a mighty, yet passive bat in the budgeting and economics of the country. Now military members will drive politics actively?

Sure, there were Swift Boat Veterans for Truth trying to help John Kerry’s ailing memory in 2004. That was a historical point. With the focus kept narrowly on the Osama bin Laden raid, this SuperPAC could be a simliar ray of sunshine to disinfect a corrupt campaign.

However, this is one SuperPAC that could lead to wildly unforeseen consequences. Not wishing to sound all Rick Moran about this, but this is worrisome. One hopes that the organizers of this SuperPAC don’t lose site of the American tradition of military subservience to elected officials and the voters who put those individuals in office, even if those individuals are corrupt pieces of work.

Update: promoted from the comments:

Larry Bailey wrote:

I am one of the founders of the “Super Pac,” and I can assure you that no line has been crossed or will be crossed regarding the separation of the military from its commander-in-chief. Special Operations Speaks Out explicitly excludes active-duty personnel from affiliating with it.

Excellent news. Roman empire comparisons are tedious, so the further away we steer from a Praetorian Guard picking our POTUS, the better off we are.


28 Responses to “Spec Ops SuperPAC? Really?”

  1. richard mcenroe
    June 26th, 2012 @ 11:19 am

    Smitty, this post goes way past locking the barn after the horse has bolted.  Veterans have been politicized since VVAW, hell, since the Bonus Marchers and the abortive coup attempt of 1935.

    Antiwar vets groups were routinely trotted out in the news during the Bush years, and Obama’s cronies have organized several ‘false flag’ ‘veterans’ organizations’ during his reign.

    Yes, it’s scary when the military qua military enters politics.  It’s scarier when they only do it on one side.

    Liking your book, BTW.

  2. smitty
    June 26th, 2012 @ 11:45 am

    Sure, there are vast amounts of groups working to protect veterans benefits.
    I still contend this is a horse of a different color.

  3. SDN
    June 26th, 2012 @ 11:54 am

    Smitty, did you really think that phrase “and domestic” was added to the oath so it would have the proper number of syllables?

  4. smitty
    June 26th, 2012 @ 12:01 pm

    My efforts in blogging, besides blowing off steam, are all about carrying out my oath to defend the Constitution.
    Going too far in organizing support to defend that Constitution could well lead to undermining it, which is the point of the post.
    After a while we could have a different sort of Progress on our hands, if the heft and power of any organization becomes too comfortable for its leadership.
    Hopefully these SOSPAC guys understand all that.

  5. crosspatch
    June 26th, 2012 @ 12:29 pm

    Some common misconceptions:

    1.  At least while I was in, people on active duty aren’t that political.   They tend to become more opinionated after they get out of the military.

    2. Few on active duty even vote.  I would say maybe 10% or less of the people I served with voted.  Generally, I would be the only one from my state who voted in my battalion because the voting officer would usually make a comment about being the first time anyone from that state had requested a absentee ballot request.

     Admittedly that was “back in the day” before the Internet and to vote one had to go to whoever was designated the “voting officer” and get an absentee ballot request for your state, send it in, and hope you still had the same address when the ballot was actually sent.  I generally found it more effective to go to the registrar’s office when I was home on leave and get one.

    I voted in the 1976 and 1980 Presidential elections (but not the primaries) and was the only one of the bunch I hung out with who voted because I took a little good-natured ribbing for doing so (you bucking for a promotion if your guy wins?  getting ahead of the game on the ass-kissing?, etc.).

    From my experience, very few active duty military are all that politically active and if 15% of them voted, I would be surprised.  The ones most likely to vote would, in my opinion, be those who were stationed for a long time at one duty station in the US and are married and registered to vote in the local area.  Single military who still claim their home state or who are overseas or aboard ship probably aren’t going to vote that often unless a concerted effort by the commander is made to get them registered, get them absentee ballots, and encourage them to return them.

    I would say that military wives are more likely to vote than the service members themselves.  Note that this is a perspective from years ago and things change so they might be different today.

  6. Quartermaster
    June 26th, 2012 @ 12:39 pm

    I went to your link for Nice Deb and didn’t see the concern you contend she has. Has said something in another post?

    While I understand your contention, I think this is a matter of Obama and not something that would have been done with anyone else running. Still, you may have a good point as these things push the envelope and down the road the envelope keeps getting pushed until it breaks.

    There are many precedents being set that are not healthy for the country. But they are simply more additions to the basic problem Lincoln created in the 1860s. Whether or not this is another one remains to be seen.

  7. gunsmithkat
    June 26th, 2012 @ 12:40 pm

    IMHO this has more to do with the Honor of the Corps rather than an overt political message. They feel, and rightly so, that the CIC has simply overstepped the bounds of decency with respect to the basic ethos of the Spec Ops code of silence.

  8. Quartermaster
    June 26th, 2012 @ 12:42 pm

    Incidentally, Smitty, I don’t think you are being a concern troll in any fashion. I think you are being sincere and your behavior is in no way trollish.

    I’m confident you are in no danger of having Wombat’s troll hammer smacking you.

  9. DAve
    June 26th, 2012 @ 1:04 pm

    I’d suggest that this might have alot to do with a). military votes not getting counted and b). nobody else caring about a).

  10. smitty
    June 26th, 2012 @ 1:32 pm

    Fair enough. I have updated the post to indicated my intent, which was to “hat tip” Nice Deb.
    Because she really is indeed Nice.

  11. Wombat_socho
    June 26th, 2012 @ 2:14 pm

     I would go further, back to the Grand Army of the Republic after the Civil War. “Waving the bloody shirt” was a winning tactic for Republican politicians right up to the 1890s.

  12. Adjoran
    June 26th, 2012 @ 2:27 pm

    Re:  Mataconis, anyone who pays any attention whatever to Kevin Drum is a complete idiot.

    I was on the internet back when people insisted Drum was a moderate.  No, seriously.  Now he found a home at Mother Jones, one of the looniest leftist publications in the country.

    Drum should be ignored with extreme prejudice, and anyone who gives him the time of day should be mocked as a fool.

  13. richard mcenroe
    June 26th, 2012 @ 3:07 pm

     The coup attempt of ’35 was not about benefits; it was about overthrowing the US Govt.

  14. Dai Alanye
    June 26th, 2012 @ 4:03 pm

    Perhaps I’ve missed something, but do SpecOps guys sign a different type of enlistment contract? One, that is, with a clause giving up the political rights enjoyed by other Americans? Because if they don’t, this particular item of concern is total bilge.

    As to matters such as good taste or political judgment, that’s a different question.

  15. Graydo_mn
    June 26th, 2012 @ 4:27 pm

    Folks seem to be missing something.  None of the members of this PAC are on active duty, they are all “honorably discharged.”  If Ike could be president and Clark could run for President then I think your average veteran who is not on active duty has every right to be politically active.  If you’re on active duty it is a whole different ballgame but these fellows are NOT on active duty.

  16. Wombat_socho
    June 26th, 2012 @ 4:42 pm

    Ah, the Smedley Butler thing. *nods*

  17. SDN
    June 26th, 2012 @ 4:44 pm

     Crosspatch, Google up “Military disenfranchisement” and you will find several instances in the last 2-3 elections where the process for allowing military members to vote has been delayed or obstructed, especially when it benefits Democrats. Tactics have included changing deadlines, delaying the delivery of ballots until overseas troops couldn’t possibly return them in time, and refusing to count ballots based on hypertechnicalities.

  18. smitty
    June 26th, 2012 @ 4:51 pm

    That’s a fair response.

  19. Larry Bailey
    June 26th, 2012 @ 5:22 pm

    I am one of the founders of the “Super Pac,” and I can assure you that no line has been crossed or will be crossed regarding the separation of the military from its commander-in-chief.  Special Operations Speaks Out explicitly excludes active-duty personnel from affiliating with it.  

  20. crosspatch
    June 26th, 2012 @ 5:37 pm

     Yes, I am aware of that.  Thing is that it is pretty much a tempest in a teapot because A: there are generally not enough votes to matter except in very tight races and B: in some places absentee ballots are (or used to be) tossed away without counting if there aren’t enough of them to make a difference in the results.

    In other words, if a vote is decided by 10,000 votes and you have 500 absentee ballots, in some jurisdictions they wouldn’t bother counting them anyway.  That might have changed after the 2000 elections.

    In other words, even with the extreme measures going to somehow “deny” military votes, it isn’t likely going to make much difference because there aren’t enough of them (only about 29% of active duty military cast ballots to begin with) and a good number of them tend to be “independent” and not Republicans or Democrats.

    In 2010 there were an estimated 120,000 service members who didn’t get their ballots.  I believe that estimate to be high, but anyway, if you look at the total votes cast nationally, that’s not a lot.  Not enough to make a difference.

    So yeah, it’s a problem, but not as big of a problem as winner take all electoral votes disenfranchising rural voters or popular vote for Senators turning the political power of the Senate over to the political machine of the largest metro of a state.  We have much bigger fish to fry if we want fair elections.

    Suggestion #1, each state should enact what Pennsylvania and Colorado attempted (but failed) to enact:  Winner of state popular vote gets 2 electoral votes (representing the “at large” Senate seats), winner of each House district gets one electoral vote per district carried.  Then you would see electoral votes more closely matching popular vote and the desires of people in rural districts could send electoral votes to the candidate that best reflects their needs.

    Suggestion #2 would require an amendment to the 17th amendment which won’t happen for a while.

  21. smitty
    June 26th, 2012 @ 5:39 pm

    I took the liberty of promoting your comment to a post update, sir.

  22. richard mcenroe
    June 26th, 2012 @ 8:07 pm

     Did you know the next officer they were going to approach was Douglas MacArthur?

  23. DaveO
    June 26th, 2012 @ 9:13 pm

    So is this another astroturf Oathkeepers bunch?

  24. Bobbymike34
    June 26th, 2012 @ 10:11 pm

    I was reading about Scottish martial history and finally came across what describes my politics. I am a Libertarian Militarist 🙂 fight on SOCOM

  25. NashvilleBeat
    June 26th, 2012 @ 11:35 pm

    Thank you for posting Captain Bailey’s comment as an update.  Your concern is completely valid, Smitty, but at least in this case, these veterans are not active duty personnel, and as Graydo_mn points out, that leaves them as free as any other citizens to organize and express their opinions.  I have been fortunate enough to have known Captain Bailey for about 25 years, and I know of no more patriotic, Constitution-loving American.  I listen carefully to what he and his fellow veterans have to say because they accepted personal responsibility for the safety of all of us, defending it, if need be, with their lives (h/t Robert Heinlein).  All gave some.  Some gave all.

  26. NashvilleBeat
    June 27th, 2012 @ 1:53 am

    And in case I need to make it explicit, that includes you, Smitty!

  27. Wombat_socho
    June 27th, 2012 @ 3:45 am

    Never got that deep into it; wrote it off as more conspiracy theory craziness with a 1930s vintage. Also, it’s odd Manchester didn’t mention that in his epic doorstop bio of MacArthur…

  28. smitty
    June 27th, 2012 @ 5:26 am

    Indeed. I enjoy the privilege of living down the road from Mt. Vernon. Sometimes you get a Washington; other times, an Obama.