How Fascism Starts

Here’s a chilling photo. Two United States Marines, in uniform, appearing at a Republican political rally. This is a direct violation of Department of Defense regulations, as well as a stunningly bad idea. One of the great strengths of the United States is the non-partisan nature of our armed forces. The idea that soldiers, acting as soldiers, not as private citizens, would participlate in a partisan political rally … that’s very scary.

I think you are overreatcing. It looks like those two Marines were just being honored by a group of Repubilcans. Hardly a stunningly bad idea, or the start of fascism.

Can we have some context for the photo, and exactly how it violates the regulations you posted? This looks like more of an awards ceremony than a campaign or a convention.

I can think of many, many things that are closer to fascism than some photo about which we have virtually no information.

I agree with treis. You’re overreacting.

Looks to me like they are probably just a couple of Marines who are probably home from Iraq or something being trotted out for the edification of the Larimer County Republicans.

Why don’t you use that link to email and ask?

It was a dinner/fund-raiser/meet&greet. Perhaps the Marines were being sold in the silent auction. :stuck_out_tongue:

Chilling photo my ass. Basically, you’re pitting them for wearing the wrong set of clothes to some dinner. (Uniform as opposed to civilian attire).

Let me know when fascism gets here. :rolleyes:

Stop oppressing me!

In this context it appears that they are being honored. In such cases the participation is passive. They are not advocating any positions, they are not involved in any protest, and they are not using their status in the military as a means to draw attention to any cause. Contrast that with Michael Moore’s exploitation of a soldier in Fahrenheit 9/11, where the soldier, in uniform, was actively advocating a position publically. That is illegal.

Now, if the soldier is asked to speak and he stumps for some organization, that would be illegal. But by all appearances, what’s happening in the picture is perfectly legit, and even if it were not it would hardly be representative of the onset of fascism.

Directive from the linked DoD document:

“A member on active duty may attend partisan and nonpartisan political meetings, rallies, or conventions as a spectator when not in uniform.”


“A member on active duty shall not participate in partisan political management, campaigns, or conventions (unless attending a convention as a spectator when not in uniform).”

Here’s a newspaper article describing the event. A Republican-only dinner to kick off the 2006 political season certainly sounds like a “political meeting”, “campaign” or “rally” to me. And standing up on stage in your uniform is very different from sitting in the audience in your civilian clothes and clapping along.

Having soldiers in uniform participating in partisan political activities is a very bad idea. Soldiers in uniform at political rallies are a short step from soldiers in uniform campaigning for office. Would that still be no big deal to you guys?

What would be a big deal to me is if a soldier, in uniform an on active duty, campaigned for office and the military took no action. Got any evidence of that happening?

I thought Fascism started only after researching either Nationalism or Assembly Line. (I wonder if that was a shot at Henry Ford.)

No. I never said that had happened. I said what we see in the photo is a short step away from soldiers in uniform running for office.

So it sounds like you’re okay with soldiers in uniform taking part in political campaigns or rallies as long as they don’t run for office personally? I’m just trying to find out where YOU draw the line.

Personally, I think that if soldiers want to take part in politics they should do it out of uniform.

We shouldn’t let soldiers vote either. Now Marines, that’s different. As for the article, nothing in it says the Marines goose stepped or anything of that sort. One of the photo captions has Ms. Musgrave introducing one of the Marines to the audience. Make of it what you want to.

Don’t be silly. A soldier votes as a citizen, not as a soldier. I have no problem at all with the two gentlemen on stage exercising their full rights as citizens to have their votes counted and their voices heard. But they shouldn’t be participating in political events wearing their uniforms.

The regulations are quite specific. If you’re wearing your uniform you can’t even **attend ** a political rally, much less stand up on stage.

Let’s assume for the moment that what these guys did violated military rules.

Why would we assume that this is how fascism starts, and not that two young guys just fucked up?

To the extent that this type of activity is indicative of fascism, the way it starts is that the rules are relaxed. Then Rumsfeld starts encouraging military personel to attend rallies en masse. Then he starts encouraging them to intimidate poltical oponents.

See the difference?

Hmm, interesting.

I’m not as deeply chilled as you are, Pochacco, but I think your concern is legitimate.

But what I think the others are saying in this thread is that there’s no use making a mountain out of a molehill, and they have a legitimate point as well. There’s nothing absolutely outrageous about this act by itself, and no reason to assume it’s going to lead to widespread fascism.

I think you’ve made a smart, astute observation, and it’s something to keep in mind and watch out for in the future. I’d leave it at that.

I’m muzzled by army brass!

I agree with everyone above: slight to huge overeaction. Weird, on all accounts, to think that is how facism starts.

Now, toddle off and fly your flying machine.

Fascism starts with people saying “awww, this is no big deal”.

I agree, right now it appears that it’s just two soldiers who have fucked up. Plus some pols in Colorado who don’t seem to understand how important it is to keep our military independent of political entanglements.

I’ll grant that my title was over the top. But my concern remains. Politicizing the military is a very, very dangerous road to go down. And that means that we should be very vigilant about things like this.

I thought it started with members of the military attending political functions in uniform. Maybe fascism starts with constantly changing ones story.


This is a reasonable position.

However, it is far less dramatic a way of stating it than “How Fascism Starts”.
I only pay attention to arguments comparing someone to Hitler or announcing the birth of Fascism, so you’ve lost me. :confused: