A post going viral among supporters of the OccupyWallSt. protest reads:
“US Marines headed to WALLSTREET to protect protesters! THIS IS IT!”
“The Occupy Wall Street movement may have just received an unexpected surprise – United States Army and Marine troops are reportedly on their way to various protest locations to support the movement and to protect the protesters.
“Army serviceman Ward Reilly posted the following on Facebook, ‘I’m heading up there tonight in my dress blues. So far, 15 of my fellow marine buddies are meeting me there, also in Uniform.’
“I want to send the following message to Wall St and Congress:
“I didn’t fight for Wall St. I fought for America. Now it’s Congress’ turn.”
Ward Reilly — not an active duty member of the military — posted this helpful clarification on his Facebook page:
“To all my Facebook friends….PLEASE note that the message from the Marine who is going to ‘OccupyWallSt.’ with his buddies was sent to one of the co-organizers of our organizing team for the Oct.6 action in D.C.
“I am NOT the Marine that sent the message…(I was Army Infantry, ‘71-‘74)….MANY hundreds of my fellow veterans are doing the same thing in D.C., starting on Oct.6. I simply shared the fine message from the Marine. :>) ….thank you all for making that message go viral.”
Protesters in New York and elsewhere probably have visions of an Egyptian-style situation where the military plays a mediating role in the protests and ultimately sides with the demonstrators. But there is no similarity between what went on in Tahrir Square and what is going on now in New York. The American professional military has almost nothing in common with the conscript Egyptian force, and the U.S. government is not a weak-willed junta. Besides, the vast majority of active duty military members and veterans probably would sooner bust hippie heads than help them block traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge — if they even cared enough to notice.
Members of the military are allowed to participate in political activity in their off-duty hours. But an active duty servicemember who showed up to support OccupyWallSt. in uniform would be in violation of Department of Defense Directive 1344.10, which states that service personnel “shall not wear a uniform or use any Government property or facilities while participating.” Anyone who did so would be subject to disciplinary action. Maybe the activists in the street think that members of the military won’t care and that they are on the way to take a stand en masse against “Wall Streets wars” or some such thing. It’s a nice romantic image, shades of the Kronstadt sailors. But this is not the case. The fact that this rumor is catching fire just shows how enthusiastically delusional the protestors are.
This is not “it.” Sorry folks.