The Pentagon has cracked down on extremism in the military. A newly issued set of rules prohibits active-duty members from affiliating with any group that practices racism or displays anti-government behavior, and the punishments are severe. Commanders have full authority to mark any off-post facility as off-limits if it’s a known hangout for a less than desirable radical element, while higher-ranking sergeants are watching their troops like hawks for even the slightest indication of non-adherence.
Their efforts aren’t without merit and they’ve brought to light an issue that many Americans who have never served couldn’t imagine existed within our armed forces. What happened to all that brothers-in-arms bologna they’d been fed for years?
So it’s cool how racist and extremist intolerance is the new order of the day for our nation’s roughly 1.2 million active-duty military members, but the Pentagon forgot to be specific enough concerning America’s 1 million, give or take a few, National Guard members, and the National Guard Bureau is saying they’re exempt.
Unless ordered to active duty by the president under Title 10 status, Guard members are free to do whatever the hell they please. A little Klan rally here, an ANTIFA meeting there, it’s all good. As you were.
USAF Col. Kevin Mulcahy, deputy director of manpower and personnel for the National Guard Bureau, made dang certain that those under his command knew these silly lifestyle restrictive rules didn’t apply to them. He sent letters to all 54 states and every U.S. territory to inform them of such.
Mulcahy said the letter was prompted because he “has received queries from the states regarding the applicability” of the Pentagon’s new attempt to govern their lives when most of it is spent in a civilian capacity.
Mulcahy added, “While this DoDI might not apply to National Guard personnel in a non-federalized duty status, other laws and regulations may apply,” meaning Guard troops are still subject to the same state and national laws as every other civilian, but that’s it. The Feds have no control over where they can go, what, if any, outside organizations they belong to, or even how many swastikas one of ‘em may choose to have tattooed on their arm.
Of course, criminal convictions involving violence or planning to blow up a courthouse are expressly illegal for anyone, Guard member or not. But unlike active-duty troops, Guard members cannot be held liable for spouting racial or extremist rhetoric, raising money for questionable causes, recruiting new members for an ill-intended extremist group, or any involvement in non-violent demonstrations. There’s only one catch. They can’t wear their uniforms while they’re doing this stuff.
The National Guard Bureau isn’t saying much about the letter at this time, citing “ongoing litigation” as their reason. They won’t say who’s challenging their interpretation of the new rule book but it has Democrat written all over the cover so they don’t need to tell anyone that part.
But here’s why the bureau is correct. The National Guard consists of members who are not in positions to serve their nation full-time, yet they still feel an obligation to do their parts. They understand how at the snap of a finger they could be called to active duty just like the thousands of them who fought, received massive injuries, and gave it all, in Iraq and Afghanistan.
This is when it becomes imperative for them to leave their differences, their likes/dislikes, and if they have them, their prejudices, back home in Iowa, or Kentucky, or Oregon, or, or, or… They don’t need a rule book to govern what they’re already astutely aware of.
The same rule goes without saying when members are serving their required one weekend a month or their two weeks in the summer. Once they exit a base’s or post’s main gate they can go back to being themselves till next time, just as their enlistment contract told them they’re allowed to do.
As an additional point, your personal approval or disdain of a Guard member’s particular life choices wasn’t even factored into the equation, so…