Before I begin, though, let me reiterate what I have said previously. The question is NOT whether Mr. Thul should be silenced from speaking his mind or from posting on a blog. Nor is the question meant to attack the service of a veteran who I can only assume served honorably. The question is whether or not it is acceptable to use a military email address to post partisan political attacks.
First, there was this interesting comment left by a "SGT Nate" on my previous post:
SGT Thul doesn't qualify under Section 888. Art. 88 of UCMJ because he is not a commissioned officer. However, being a non-commissioned officer, he should understand that to question one's superiors publicly is not allowable within a disciplined military. All concerns are to be taken up with that person off-line. I assume SGT Thul is a NG member, which means he can participate in political discourse in solely a civilian manner while not on orders. This being said, the display of a military web address is to assign a type of authority to the speaker and his sentiments that he does not have the right to assign. SGT Thul has a right to operate his blog (as long as he is not on state or federal active duty) but does not have the authority to list a .mil or .gov web address for contact about the content of his speech. I believe his unit commander and first sergeant would find his listing of the address as an action unbecoming of a non-commissioned officer.
This comment leads me into the response made by Mr. Thul:
Both claim that I am using my official Army email address to launch these 'attacks'. While it is true that I used my army.mil email to register this blog (I was in Iraq at the time and the army.mil email was simply the safest and most reliable email in a combat zone) it is also true that that information isn't available to the casual reader. In fact, if you look over this entire blog, including my profile, you wont see any Army email address. I have been blogging for 2 1/2 years now, including 12 months of active duty time. This issue has never come up before, nor have I ever been censored by the military in what I say. I do censor myself for OPSEC and military discipline, but I have never been told by the military that anything I have said on this blog was inappropriate.
And I have never been anything but respectful to elected officials when I agree or disagree with them. In contrast with so many bloggers and commenters who regularly use foul language and hurl insults at politicians they disagree with, you will more often than not find me addressing politicians by their titles. Just as I do when in uniform, I respect the rank even if not the man.
Two things that I would like to address in the above response:
2. There is the issue of his military address not being prominent to the "casual reader". Does the fact that the email is not listed on the blog make a difference? In his latest piece on this topic, Two Putt was able to pretty quickly find examples of the military email address on prominent display. I took a screen shot:
In the comment made above by "SGT Nate" there was the implication that it was improper for this military email address to be displayed. However, its display does only happen through the use of an rss reader or on a google blog search. Does this help the case of Mr. Thul? On the other hand, "SGT Nate" also mentioned that National Guard members were allowed to engage in political discourse "while not on orders" but it is clear that Mr. Thul has been engaging in political discourse even when on orders.
Finally, there is this image: