Further proof that orange is the new red...
From The American Prospect, which describes itself as "Liberal Intelligence"...
"As the Military and Progressives panel came to an end, a young man in uniform stood up to argue that the surge was working, and cutting down on Iraqi casualties. The moderator largely freaked out. When other members of the panel tried to answer his question, he demanded they "stand down." He demanded the questioner give his name, the name of his commander, and the name of his unit. And then he closed the panel, no answer offered or allowed, and stalked off the stage,
Wes Clark took the mic and tried to explain what had just occurred: The argument appears to be that you're not allowed to participate in politics while wearing a uniform, or at least that you shouldn't, and that the questioner was engaging in a sort of moral blackmail, not to mention a violation of the rules, by doing so. Knowing fairly little about the army, I can't speak to any of that. But it was an uncomfortable few moments, and seemed fairly contrary to the spirit of the panel to roar down the member of the military who tried to speak with a contrary voice."
Shout down those with opposing voices, that's real "open and honest" discourse.
A lot of mixed reactions at the site the above was posted, too. One reply from someone named Jon Burack summed it up well...
"If you want to know why most people roll their eyes when the Left says it does too support the troops this is the place to start. The Left's love affair with generals who criticize President Bush has been palpable in recent years. But just let a grunt in a uniform speak up in favor of the President's policies and, holy cow, run for the hills because fascist militarism is on the march. What a bunch of Harper Valley Hypocrites."
Well said, in my opinion. It's moments like these where any credibility to the claim of "we're liberals, we're against this whole war, and we're true patriots!" wanes considerably.
Video of the incident at Little Green Footballs.
As for the rule of the soldier not being able to speak in uniform, or even attend such a conference in uniform...this is actually true. However, this is the type of question/comment that this panel that had been assembled was supposed to address. Instead, this soldier was the only one who brought up an opposing view, and when the panel did their job and attempted to address the issue, the moderator freaks out and shouts him down instead.
As many people speculate, if that same uniformed soldier had spoken out against the war, he would have been cheered, saluted, and held up as "the true voice of the American soldier." I would be inclined to agree with this.