If you aren’t a rabid news hound, you might have passed over yesterday’s op-ed in the New York Times penned by seven men — Buddhika Jayamaha, Wesley D. Smith, Jeremy Roebuck, Omar Mora, Edward Sandmeier, Yance T. Gray and Jeremy A. Murphy.
What isn’t stated in the byline (but is noted at the end of the article) is that these seven men are Soldiers in the 82nd Airborne Division out of Fort Bragg, N.C., and are on the tail end of a 15-month deployment to Iraq.
What is immediately obvious? These men are critical of the recent media reports that have suggested a rosier picture in Iraq, saying it runs counter to their experience.
These men are no Beauchamps — they are open about who they are, give their full names and are identified by rank (they are all enlisted, none ranked higher than E-6).
In the op-ed, they note that they are expressing their personal opinion and not acting in an official capacity as members of the Armed services. Still, they identify their ranks and their unit — this identification is what gives their claims about lack of progress in Iraq a certain level of authority.
The million dollar question, then, is whether or not it is right for Soldiers to be doing this. Does the right (and obligation) to share your beliefs trump your commitment to your chain of command and the mission? Do Soldiers really have an “out of uniform” public existence, or are you always in uniform when your name is splattered across the pages of the Times?
What are your thoughts? Sound off.