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Troops Used as Props at GOP Functions

Posted on Mar 6, 2006
From Peter Heaco / The Coloradoan

Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-Colo.) introduces Marine Sergeant Brandon Forsyth on March 3 during the Larimer, Colo., County GOP Lincoln Day Dinner.


Josh Marshall informs us that the White House now has a plan to use, and is already using, active-duty US servicemen for partisan political purposes - which is kind of a big deal in a democracy where the military doesn’t run the country, and where the war in Iraq and the war on terror are supposedly not political stunts. You can find Josh’s accounts here and here.

Well, conservative Republican House member Marilyn Musgrave of Colorado (the lead force behind amending the US Constitution to take away the rights of gay Americans), actively facilitated the use of our servicemembers, IN UNIFORM, at a partisan Republican political function.

Musgrave’s use of uniformed military service personnel at partisan political events which is a direct violation of US military rules. Not to mention, you’d think our uniformed service members have better things to do (oh, I don’t know, how about win in Iraq?) than appear as props at Republican political events. Then again, Musgrave has already had her share of ethics violations, and has been ranked as one of the 13 most corrupt members of Congress. So it’s perhaps no surprise she’s breaking the rules again.

Full story

Or go here and here to see how Josh Marshall broke the news.

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By Judge, March 9, 2006 at 9:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The widespread coverage of this story is proof that the mainstream media is liberal. Can you just imagine if a uniformed servicemember had shown up at a Democrat fund-raiser? MAYBE you would find it in two newspapers. All the rest would pretend it never happened. So PLEASE! stop picking on the poor, defenseless Republicans!

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By Rckymnthoss, March 9, 2006 at 11:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Marines: Two troops did nothing wrong
Fort Collins Coloradoan

The uniformed troops who appeared at the Larimer County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day Dinner last weekend did not violate military code, said a spokeswoman for the Marine Corps Headquarters’ public affairs office.

“I don’t think there’s any trouble to be had,” said the spokeswoman, who declined to give her name, citing protocol. “It’s a touchy issue because lots of honorees are being invited to things like this. It’s a shame people are trying to turn it into more than that.”
Organizations from both parties have been asking military members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan to attend their events to be honored, and the Marine Corps will turn down those requests if the troops are expected to speak, act in an official capacity to assist with the event or endorse a party or candidate, the spokeswoman said.

Strictly being honored at an event, however, is not against regulations, she said.

Officials at the Pentagon deferred to the Marine Corps for a ruling on the appearances.

The Fort Collins Coloradoan ran a photo on Saturday of U.S. Republican Rep. Marilyn Musgrave introducing Marine Sgt. Brandon Forsyth, in uniform, at the organization’s Lincoln Day Dinner on Friday night.

Political writers and bloggers across the nation are accusing Forsyth and the other uniformed Marine at the event of violating a Department of Defense directive that limits their participation in partisan political events while in uniform. Many have pointed to this incident as evidence that the Republican Party is making a collective effort to use U.S. military members as public relations props.

“The thunderous sustained applause (the troops) received was just a way for these people to thank them for all they’ve done for the country,” said Ed Haynes, former chairman of the Larimer County Republican Party, who attended the event. “No politics came up in any conversation I had with them.”

Skip Morgan, a retired Air Force colonel and military law attorney based out of Colorado Springs, agreed that as long as the two Marines did not endorse a candidate or a party, they were not violating any rules or regulations.

John Jones, who served in the military and is chairman of the Larimer County Democratic Party, however, questioned the Marine Corps’ interpretation of the code.

“I would want to know exactly why they think it’s OK, because the military code of justice I read says it’s illegal,” Jones said. “It was inappropriate even for them to be invited to a partisan event. These soldiers fight for American people, not just the Republican Party.”

The Larimer County Republican Party removed the photos of the Marines from their Web site on Monday at the behest of the men, who did not want to be harassed, said Larimer County Republican Party chairwoman Nancy Hunter.

Neither Marine could be reached for comment.

Originally published March 9, 2006

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By zedaker, March 7, 2006 at 10:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

that marine should be court-martialed. i’m a vet. i KNOW he knew it was against regs.

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By Brad Eleven, March 6, 2006 at 12:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Same result for Google News search for “Marilyn Musgrave”. This may not be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, but it’s a pretty stout straw, IMHO.

Unless Google is now cooperating with the United Snakes to censor results a la China.

What a wonderful world this would be ...

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By Steve Stein, March 6, 2006 at 6:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Google News for “uniformed military” “political events” and this is the ONLY article that appears.  I don’t know why it is or how to change it, but it appears no media sees this as a story.

Very sad.

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