Veterans and the “Occupy” movement.
It started with this posting at Addicting Info:
The thousands of indefatigable Wall Street protestors, risking their eyes and recording equipment against Wall Street’s personal jack-booted thugs in the NYPD, recently garnered even more support– the US Marines. That’s the type of support that may make an NYPD cop think twice before he decides to go all Tiananmen Square on a group of teenage girls, armed with chalk and cardboard signs (maybe it’s because they are spelled properly?).
The Occupy Wall Street movement may have thought it broke new ground when the NYC Transit Union joined their movement, but that ground just tipped the Richter Scale with news that United States Army and Marine troops are reportedly on their way to various protest locations to support the movement and to protect the protesters.
That part obviously caught my eye. But what came next was worse, the article cites to Ward Reilly, who on his Facebook claimed:
“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.
My true hope, though, is that we Veterans can act as first line of defense between the police and the protester. If they want to get to some protesters so they can mace them, they will have to get through the F*ing Marine Corps first. Let’s see a cop mace a bunch of decorated war vets…
We can organize once we’re there. That’s what we do best. If you see someone in uniform, gather together. A formation will be held tonight at 10PM. We all took an oath to uphold, protect and defend the constitution of this country. That’s what we will be doing.
The problem with this section is manifold.
First, Ward Reilly hasn’t served in the military since 1974. And he never served in the Marine Corps. And his service was less than exemplary (including a stint AWOL.) And his truth telling has been an issue in the past. For instance, as my friend Jonn once noted, Reilly claimed:
[Reilly:] I served, proudly, for 32 months in Germany in the 1st & 16th(Rangers) as a mortar gunner, starting in 1971, when I volunteered for the infantry at age 17.(With 2 full years left in the ground war in Viet Nam)
I went where the army sent me…that what soldiers do. I could have just as easily been sent to Viet Nam, but I got lucky.
[Jonn wrote:] Well, that part about “two full years left in the ground war” isn’t exactly true. Reilly joined in October 1971 – ground forces in Vietnam were being reduced and by August 1972 all combat forces had been withdrawn.
That “(Rangers)” in Reilly’s statement jumped out at me when I first read it, so I did a little research and found that the 16th Infantry Regiment call themselves “Iron Rangers” and that’s why Reilly added it to his bio – hoping to scare every one into thinking he was a Ranger.
It’s like the 7th Infantry putting (Cottonbalers) on their unit designation because that’s their nickname (from the Battle of New Orleans when they fought the British from behind cotton bales). Could we assume that they’re actually qualified to bale cotton?
The second problem is of course, that active duty people (and veterans too for that matter) aren’t supposed to be showing up at political events in uniform. The premise of our military is that we answer to civilian authority, and showing up as if the military is supporting something like this is verboten.
Anyway, we do know there are veterans out there. Here’s a few videos that show that. Some context on the first one, since I looked into it. Apparently there are two parks that the protestors have been using in Boston, Dewey and the Greenway. The protestors were allowed to be in Dewey, and in the Greenway up until midnight, but they didn’t want them camping there for the simple reason that the city just spent $150,000 planting shrubs and cleaning it up. When 1:00 am rolled around, so did the police.
Now, it is perhaps unfair to share that one without a look at one guy who is legit (Ryan Cahill), and taking part in the occupy movement.
Now the ridiculous “Veterans Today” (no link for them ever) is calling on all Veterans Organizations to send our people into the street in support of the movement. That is unlikely in the extreme to happen. We didn’t take a position on the TEA party officially, and we won’t be officially taking a position here. Not sure why they even would think as an organization we would. I’m certain that many of our Legionnaires are out protesting, and probably an equal number are watching it on TV at home grumbling about the protestors.
As Lincoln said, A house divided against itself cannot stand
The reality is that The Legion is a microcosm of veterans as a whole. And our people run the gamut from the far right to the far left. I know prominent Legionnaires who have either served as, or served under, politicians on the Democrat and Republican side. I even know one Legionnaire who served three different Governors, a Republican, a Democrat and an Independent.
I remain somewhat ambivalent. If they have a common cause, I haven’t figured out what it is, and I hate to waste taxpayer money on security and clean up. But, the Constitution allows for a petition of redress to grievances, and I guess that is what this is. Hopefully at some point someone will articulate the specific intent.