This is in response to Larry Waks Jan. 22 letter, Warns drivers: Grovetown cops, court "corrupt:
In his letter, Waks states that he is a retired U.S. Army infantry officer. If this is true, he should check with the staff judge advocate at Fort Gordon because military law specifically prohibits contemptuous words against the president and other political leaders.
The prohibition against anti-government speech goes back to 1776, when soldiers were forbidden from using traitorous or disrespectful words. The rules were updated several times and traitorous and disrespectful was changed to contemptuous. The president, vice president, members of Congress and state governors also were specifically banned as targets of bad-mouthing.
In 1950, Congress enacted the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the prohibition against contemptuous language survived intact as Article 88 and, for the first time, applied to commissioned officers.
Todays young men and women going into the military services are a diverse aggregation, generally without the homogeneous values of their grandparents. Unfortunately, the military has no effective mechanism for developing character in those who do not come from a values-rich environment. They are repeatedly challenged to embrace increasing ethnic, racial, gender, religious and individual diversity, but without equipping them with the training and education required to appropriate cognitive development and change, Waks dastardly letter further confounds these young people in assimilating core values such as duty, honor and country. If he can badmouth the police and courts, then what kind of an example is this for a U.S. Army commissioned officer?
Could it be possible that Waks demeanor and unprofessional attitude of defiance toward the police and court played a large part in a sentence of two months probation?
Waks should do everything in his power to avoid coming into my community - Grovetown. With an attitude and demeanor such as his, he just makes it more difficult for our police and the countys deputies to earn the respect and honor they justly deserve.
David G. Edmiston Sr.,
MSG, USAF (retired)
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