The highest-ranking U.S. military officer has written an unusual open letter to all those in uniform, warning them to stay out of politics as the United States approaches a presidential election in which the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will be a central, and certainly divisive, issue.
"The U.S. military must remain apolitical at all times," wrote Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. "It is and must always be a neutral instrument of the state, no matter which party holds sway."
Like an other portion of our government, the military has its specific interests. It knows that those can be hurt by change in administration and public opinion. The tumult over Vietnam was evidence of that, although the anti-war people never quite got the control at the top they wanted before the war ended.
The big difference between that era and this one is the fact that we have a volunteer military now, which improves its esprit de corps considerably. If I were in the military and I saw a candidate like Barack Obama with the left-wing anti-war fanatics behind him, I’d worry to. And his Democrat opponent is a product of the last wave of anti-military sentiment.
Back in the 1990’s there were many in the "militia movement" who had an idea that they could break our system from the bottom. But if our system is to be broken, its most likely thorough an "inside job," and the military would be a central player in such a scenario. People have the idea that this cannot happen in the interconnected world we live in, but it’s a lot easier to pull the plug on all that then most people realise.