Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Saturday, February 16, 2019

From Admiral Bill McRaven to General Michael Hayden and General Martin Dempsey, some of President Donald Trump's more visible critics of late have been retired military officers. And a provision of federal law little known outside the military makes it a crime, triable by court-martial, for those individuals (and any other commissioned military officer) to use "contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, [or] the Secretary of Homeland Security." But does the Constitution really allow the government to subject to military trial those who have retired from active duty -- in some cases, long ago -- even for offenses committed while they are retired?



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"When we assumed the soldier, we did not lay aside the citizen". Washington

#1 | Posted by docnjo at 2019-02-14 10:27 AM | Reply


More context:


...[Washington's Response]

June 26, 1775.

Gentlemen: At the same time that with you I deplore the unhappy necessity of such an Appointment, as that with which I am now honoured, I cannot but feel sentiments of the highest gratitude for this affecting Instance of distinction and Regard.

May your every wish be realized in the success of America, at this important and interesting Period; and be assured that the every exertion of my worthy Colleagues and myself will be equally extended to the re-establishment of Peace and Harmony between the Mother Country and the Colonies, as to the fatal, but necessary, operations of War. When we assumed the Soldier, we did not lay aside the Citizen; and we shall most sincerely rejoice with you in that happy hour when the establishment of American Liberty, upon the most firm and solid foundations, shall enable us to return to our Private Stations in the bosom of a free, peaceful and happy Country. I am etc.

So... do you think that people who are not yet in the military should be subject to the military justice system?

#2 | Posted by LampLighter at 2019-02-14 11:16 AM | Reply

Like MS13 and all the other gangs, you are in until death.

#3 | Posted by fresno500 at 2019-02-14 01:17 PM | Reply

#2 | Posted by LampLighter I know 18th century English may be challenging, but that not what Washington said. Far from it, the 3% of the population who actually won the revolution deserved all the rights and protections of the state. Remember most of those soldiers were never paid for their services. There were never any disability payments until much later, and as far as those veterans being dragged in front of a Court Martial after their discharge, it never happened. I am a veteran now a civilian, I am not subject to any military court unless martial law is declared. That is not happened sense 1862-1877, (the Civil War and Reconstruction). We passed several laws to prevent that happening again, posse comitatus at the top of a long list.

#4 | Posted by docnjo at 2019-02-14 01:33 PM | Reply

@#4 ... I know 18th century English may be challenging, but that not what Washington said. ...

That is why I posted the context.

Quotes are cool, but sometimes different people have different interpretations of the quote. I wanted to know why you made that citation.

Thanks for taking the time to explain it. That is how I understood the history of it.


... I am not subject to any military court unless martial law is declared. ...

That seems to depend upon the outcome of this Supreme Court case.

Which is the important premise of the article.

#5 | Posted by LampLighter at 2019-02-14 07:48 PM | Reply

#5 | Posted by LampLighter posse comitatus has stood for 150 years and has never been challenged by the supreme court. I have heard some wing nuts advocate for military tribunals, but some drum head court is very unlikely. Why use the military? There are plenty of Federal courts that have jurisdiction over the whole of relevant law.

#6 | Posted by docnjo at 2019-02-15 01:41 AM | Reply

Seems like a challenge to the 1st Amendment and should be declared unconstitutional before it even gets to the SC and the SC should just refuse to hear any further appeal.

#7 | Posted by danni at 2019-02-15 08:30 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Consider the fact that Dwight D. Eisenhower was a retired General. Then he became President. So his first amendment rights should have been regulated by the military when he made his famous warning about the military/indurstrial complex?

#8 | Posted by danni at 2019-02-15 08:32 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Aren't retired military members still "technically" in the military, and could be recalled to active status in the event of WWIII, or like in Desert Storm, some old battleship sailors were called up to help get the aging battleships back into service?

If that is the case, then I could understand still being subject to some parts of the UCMJ.

#9 | Posted by GOnoles92 at 2019-02-16 11:30 AM | Reply

I sent the article to my son who is an Army JAG and just got off the phone talking on the subject. It would only apply if after one is out and it was found that the individual had violated the UCMJ while serving. The individual would be recalled to active duty, given some dest job, etc., until the Courts Martial findings and any action if necessary [punishment]. He's not aware of any incidences, but yes there are provisions in the UCMJ.

#10 | Posted by MSgt at 2019-02-16 04:26 PM | Reply

My post above is just the gist of the conversation my son and I had, not covering all particulars.

#11 | Posted by MSgt at 2019-02-16 04:28 PM | Reply

#9 | Posted by GOnoles92 Vets that are still in the inactive reserves are still subject to mobilization, ans there is an age cap on that obligation. Usually it is 4 in active, six in the inactive reserve for a one hitch aoldier. The only way the service could pull me into a courts martial is for actions I did while on active duty. Ten year on a nary a peep.

#12 | Posted by docnjo at 2019-02-16 09:43 PM | Reply

#1 saw that enscribed in a cement relief on JAG bldg outside entrance wall, with an advancing colonial minute-man and musket.
best quote ever.

#13 | Posted by ichiro at 2019-02-17 03:55 AM | Reply

Why would any soldier fight to defend rights that he/she does not also enjoy? Perhaps while on active duty the soldier should refrain from active participation in politics but after they are retired or otherwise detatched from the military they should have exactly the same rights as anyone else.

#14 | Posted by danni at 2019-02-17 12:59 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

#14 | Posted by danni Soldiers can protest, but they can not do it in uniform.

#15 | Posted by docnjo at 2019-02-17 02:57 PM | Reply

#11 | Posted by MSgt

I know et al. tells us not to trust reporting on legal matters, but from reading the article the military seems to be making a somewhat regular practice of this with the navy alone opening 8 cases in the last year. Once you are out you should be out. I agree with Danni retired or ex-military should have all the rights they serverd to protect for the rest of us. It is ludicrous to even insinuate ex-military are subject to military regulations and justice - except in the case of crimes committed while in the military.

#16 | Posted by GalaxiePete at 2019-02-17 04:49 PM | Reply

There's a time limit on those types of recalls.
I think if you signed up it was 7 years. Say you did 4 active duty they could grab you almost 3 years after you were out.
That was a long time ago, so it could have changed and I could be remembering wrong...

#17 | Posted by 101Chairborne at 2019-02-17 08:39 PM | Reply

#17 | Posted by 101Chairborne Check your initial enlistment contract. It is on one of those sheets you initialed. Generally the time under obligation is 10 years. I didn't mind the callback provision, but that stop loss part really sucked. I made my 20 two months into my second tour. I was in for another two years, and being in the Army at 53 is pretty damn hard. I was pretty broken by then.

#18 | Posted by docnjo at 2019-02-18 01:30 PM | Reply

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