Amid the crisis taking place in Afghanistan, the Office of Naval Intelligence found time to remind active duty and retired service members not to say anything unflattering about the president’s deadly debacle.
And while being scolded to speak as if seeing the world through rose-colored glasses, the email instructed recipients to be equally happy in discussing the vice president, Congress, the secretary of defense and others according to The Daily Wire, which what it was said were the contents of the Aug. 23 communication.
“Given the heightened political and social atmosphere surrounding Afghanistan, it is important to remind our uniformed personnel (active duty and reservists on temporary active duty) and military retirees of their responsibilities and obligations under Article 88 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and Department of Defense Directive 1344.10,” the email read.
“While it is vital to protect the constitutional right of freedom of expression for these groups, consistent with mission accomplishment, national security, and good order and discipline, it’s important to remember certain limitations. Namely, uniformed personnel and military retirees are prohibited from disrespecting senior government leadership (e.g. the President, Vice President, Congress, Secretary of Defense, Service Secretaries, etc.),” the email said.
It wasn’t clear exactly who had received the email, but the context made it clear that non-military employees of the agency were also rebuked lest they be too unflattering.
Does this sound like censorship to you?
“Even for civilians, you are reminded of the danger that your public comments will/could be attributed to ONI or the Department of Defense,” the email read.
“While you are entitled to your opinion and to share your opinion amongst those you know and trust, being too vocal in criticism of, say, the President or members of the military and civilian leadership may reflect poorly on ONI,” the email read.
The email did not seem to be changing hearts and minds, based on some Twitter responses.
Whoever put that out does not understand the joy of being retired. You can tell the boss exactly what you think.
— Martqbd (@dalipals_martin) August 28, 2021
Bwahahaha I’m retired. I’d LOVE to see them try to apply the UCMJ to me for talking about senile Joe and his Afghanistan catastrophe. Any one wants a piece of me, let me know. I’ll DM you my lawyer’s contact info. https://t.co/zxjmTTWyR2
— Joe Pilot, MD (@JoeSilverman7) August 28, 2021
Some noted that the rules did not seem to matter when former President Donald Trump was in office.
BS. If it was Trump they would all be leaking to CNN and signing book deals.
— Summertime (@Summers8009) August 28, 2021
There must be a Trump exception clause in that rule.
— Al Tournas CDR USNR (ret) (@altournas) August 28, 2021
The ONI email did acknowledge, however, that watching the fall of the country where American troops had served might be a little hard to take.
“After Kabul fell to the Taliban last week, the scenes of chaos and desperation have been hard for all Americans to watch, especially for those of us in the national security establishment, as well as those who served selflessly in Afghanistan over the last 20 years,” the email said. “Watching the Taliban sweep back into power after two decades of investment can be a bitter pill to swallow.”