Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Is the US military too partisan?

**FILE** Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney shakes hands in Swanton, Ohio, with World War II and Korean War veterans returning on an Honor Flight from Washington on Sept. 26, 2012. (Associated Press)Major ML Cavanaugh thinks we should worry about the growing partisanship in the US military. In 1976, when surveyed 55 percent of officers said they were "independent" or "non-partisan" or "unaffiliated" with a party. In 2009, the same question was asked and the number was down to 16 percent.

When surveyed in 2010, 27 percent of officers said that another officer had tried to influence their vote in the 2008 election cycle. This was followed 5 years later by Col. Heidi Urben's 2015 study of 500 West Point cadets and National Defense University colonels, who found that over 1/3 had observed or shared insulting, rude or disdainful comments about elected leaders.

It is speculated that this began in the early 1990s when retired Adm. William J. Crowe Jr. stood up in Little Rock, Ark., and endorsed Gov. Bill Clinton for president. It is now expected that every election cycle will produce hundreds of retired officers endorsing presidential candidates.

Partisanship Maj. Cavanaugh warned is corrosive (https://www.justsecurity.org/55510/losing-profession-dire-consequences-partisan-military/) and he calls upon the military to purge this "corrosive partisanship" from the military.

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