The Washington Times - August 27, 2008, 10:56PM

Five people who spoke in support of Sen. Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention aren’t likely to please their former employer.

The retired military members spoke in favor of the Illinois Democrat Wednesday against the Army’s long-standing official policy of staying out of the political fray.


“I am endorsing Senator Obama because I believe he is the best, most qualified and able candidate to serve as my commander-in-chief,” said Ret. Command Sergeant Major Michele S. Jones. “Senator Obama understands veterans and our needs—all veterans, active and reserve—and knows the differences between the two. He’ll fully fund the VA, so all our returning heroes get the quality care they deserve.”

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned military members not to get involved in politics this year and encouraged them to keep their personal politics private.

“The U.S. military must remain apolitical at all times and in all ways,” he wrote in the May edition of the publication Joint Force Quarterly, which goes to officers. “A professional armed force that stays out of the politics that drive the policies it is sworn to enforce is vital to the preservation of the union and to our way of life.”

Other retired military members who spoke or are planning to speak at the DNC Wednesday include Lt. Gen. Claudia Kennedy, Rear Adm. John Hutson and Iraq war veterans Michael Wilson and Tammy Duckworth, who was a vocal opponent to the war during her unsuccessful run for Congress in 2006 in Illinois.

Of course, they’re not the first retired members of the military to speak out on politics. Ret. General Wesley Clark, a former presidential candidate, has also endorsed Mr. Obama.

Jen Haberkorn, investigative reporter, The Washington Times