March 31st, 2010
12:34 PM ET

Senior Army commander won't be punished for remarks DADT

A senior U.S. Army general who publicly asked for criticism of the president's effort to repeal the ban on openly gay service members will not be reprimanded, according to the secretary of the Army.

Secretary John McHugh told reporters Wednesday that Lt. Gen. Benjamin Mixon will not be forced to step down nor will he be given a letter of reprimand for his comments in a newspaper earlier this month requesting troops to write their members of Congress to tell them not to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" law.

President Barack Obama supports the repeal and Defense Secretary Robert Gates is in the midst of a top-to-bottom review of repealing the ban. Members of the U.S. military openly criticizing the president could be punished for insubordination under military regulations.

"Now is the time to write your elected officials and chain of command and express your views. If those of us who are in favor of retaining the current policy do not speak up, there is no chance to retain the current policy," Mixon wrote.

Members of the Pentagon's top leadership, including Secretary Robert Gates, were not happy about the comments. Gates told reporters at a Pentagon briefing last week, "I think that for an active-duty officer to comment on an issue like this is inappropriate."

The comments by Mixon, commander of U.S. Army forces in the Pacific, were published in Stars and Stripes newspaper on March 8. Army officials said McHugh considers the Mixon issue closed.

soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. joanna

    Active duty or not, we all have the same rights to express our opinion. What do they want, take away the right to vote for active duty members who are putting their lives in danger for all of us????
    This country has gone too far to shut the people up.

    March 31, 2010 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Will

    Actually, members of the military are restricted from certain public comments. Military members, especially Officers, know this.

    If LG Mixon had just written a letter to the editor of a newspaper saying the same things, and not indicating he was a Soldier or Officer, it wouldn't have been as big a deal.

    When he writes it to an Army newspaper, signing with his rank, many might interpret that it's an "unofficial" order, which was inappropriate.

    March 31, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mike Whitehead

    Joanna – It has been a long established rule in the military that you do not step out of the chain of command in order to criticize a superior officer; in this case, the commander in chief – and his policy on DADT. It is insubordination for this officer, or any officer, to voice his opinion on this policy to the other troops. If a general officer has a problem with what his commander in chief is proposing, then he/she has the option of either voicing his criticisms to his immediate superior, or shutting up. If the officer cannot do that, than that officer has the final option of resigning from the military. Members of the military do not enjoy all the same rights that civilians do, to the extent that they do. They and their rights are all handed down through the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice).

    March 31, 2010 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
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