- - Monday, October 31, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

On Oct. 27, retired Marine Gen. John R. Allen appeared in a TV ad aired in the Washington, D.C., metro area endorsing Hillary Clinton for president of the United States — a political activity. The ad included a video of Gen. Allen, dressed in civilian attire, giving his endorsement, and it featured his voice giving the endorsement while the camera showed a still photograph of him in his Marine Corps uniform.

The U.S. armed forces in general and the Marine Corps in particular have proudly pursued a tradition of being apolitical. This has been a tradition symbolized by our uniforms and codified in DoD Directive 1344.10: Political Activities by Members of the Armed Forces. The directive permits a member of the armed forces not on active duty to participate in political activities “provided the member is not in uniform and does not otherwise act in a manner that could reasonably give rise to the inference or appearance of official sponsorship, approval, or endorsement.” Gen. Allen’s appearance in uniform in this political ad does give the “appearance of official sponsorship, approval, or endorsement” to Hillary Clinton and therefore is repugnant to our apolitical tradition. It is also in violation of the directive.

Such action by a four-star Marine general showers discredit on the Marine Corps, the Marine Corps uniform and all those who have ever worn the unform. If, however, the Clinton campaign included the photograph in that ad without his permission, it is Gen. Allen’s duty to all Marines to publicly condemn the Clinton campaign for this desecration.

MAJ. ANTHONY F. MILAVIC

U.S. Marine Corps (retired)

Reston

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