Perhaps President Obama can be excused.
After all, he never served in the military, never even attended a military school as President-elect Donald Trump did for five years, graduating from New York Military Academy with honors as a cadet captain.
But Obama has been, in name if nothing else, Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces, so he should at least be familiar with something called, “The Uniform Code of Military Justice.”
It’s the foundation of justice for the U.S. Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy and even the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
All soldiers, sailors and flyers know the UCMJ, and know the consequences for failure to adhere to its rules.
President Obama, who has had repeated trouble with the word, “Corps” in presentations, unaware apparently that the “p” is silent, leading to the unfortunate pronunciation “corpse,”enjoyed the benefit of one article in particular during his eight-years in office.
The UCMJ lays out the offense of “Contempt towards officials,” – defined as the use of contemptuous words against the President and other governmental officials, as well as the punishment for the offense.
The punishment is court-martial.
So, while Obama, who is not a military man may not care, the troops ordered to attend his final speech to U.S. Armed Forces at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida this week, know better than to take his advice to question the authority of his successor, their next Commander-in-Chief.
Obama, sounding more like a “community organizer” than the commander of more than 2 million active and reserve trained professional troops, told the soldiers, “each of us has…the universal right to speak your minds and to protest against authority; to live in a society that’s open and free; that can criticize our president without retribution.”
Characterizing the military’s mission as a fight against “violent extremism,” Obama insisted that soldiers need to “rise up” against Trump if they disagree with his policies.
While the audio of the speech sounded as though President Obama’s fiery words were met with resounding applause from the assembled troops, the camera showed soldiers sitting stony-faced, arms crossed.
They may have been contemplating their fate at the hands of a UCMJ court-martial tribunal if they actually took the advice of the outgoing C-in-C and “rose up” against their new commander to “protest his authority,” no doubt imagining the response if they were to offer the defense that Obama had told them they “had the right to criticize the president without retribution.”
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