The U.S. military is going after a young Marine from Georgia who dared to show his face at a Donald Trump rally in September.
What we know is pretty straightforward: a man went on stage in civilian clothes at a “Save America Rally” with President Trump, introduced himself as Lance Cpl. Hunter Clark, said he was “the guy that pulled the baby over the wall” in Afghanistan, thanked the crowd for their support, shook Trump’s hand, and walked off. Now Task & Purpose reports the military is investigating Clark to see if he violated any Department of Defense policies.
The very existence of an investigation is a clear message that only partisanship on behalf of the left will be tolerated in the U.S. military. That is the clear message sent by investigating Clark and others such as Space Force officer Matthew Lohmeier while military higher-ups like Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley openly lie to the president, commit treason on behalf of China, and defend anti-American neo-Marxist teachings to Congress.
It would be easy for the military to make an example of Clark for allegedly violating Department of Defense Directive 1344.10, “Political Activities for Members of the Armed Forces.” The excuse for harassing Clark is that he was supporting President Trump as a political partisan. Never mind that Clark was not in uniform, didn’t endorse Trump or Republicans or any other election matter (he didn’t even praise Trump), and said nothing political at all. He was just there.
Or they might check to see if he violated some COVID policy while on leave, something that has been, in my experience and the experience of my military friends, selectively enforced for the last year and a half based on rank and personal connections.
Using administrative procedures like these keeps it in the realm of arbitrary judgment with no real recourse for Clark—the “wild west,” legally speaking, as my own lawyer in a similar situation once explained to me, where the law does not actually matter. That means the entire decision is up to the commanding officer’s judgment rather than clearly defined parameters for infractions.
The outcome of administrative procedures is less severe than from the military justice system, but it is much faster and easier, can be done with less oversight, and has essentially no burden of evidence. Using arbitrary administrative procedures instead of military code is so common, in fact, that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis made a point to try to use it less in 2018.
If Clark receives an administrative reprimand after all this, it will either stop his advancement until he is forced out of the Marines or force him out of the Marines simply with an administrative separation. This is how the U.S. military has dealt before with conservatives or people with traditional mores silly enough to put themselves out publicly: harassment, administrative reprimands, and public shaming.
Such methods are, of course, disproportionately used for conservatives. Besides the public and recent examples of Milley and other top officers receiving safe harbor for rank and treasonous partisanship so long as it supports the left, there are other numerous examples of this double standard. Here’s just one close parallel to the Clark case in which the scenario went entirely the other way, for clearly political reasons.
In 2017, about 12 months after Hillary Clinton lost an election, West Point sent their highest-ranking cadet, a black woman who is now a well-known social justice activist in uniform, to meet with Clinton at Teen Vogue to talk about social justice activism in politics. There, Cadet First Captain Simone Askew posed with Clinton, in uniform, for an article titled “We Resist.” This image was initially published online, although it was quietly taken down soon after.
Perhaps people don’t remember how charged our politics were even then and how “the resistance” had declared open opposition to President Trump, promising to undermine him. And here was the highest-ranking cadet at West Point posing in uniform with the leader of the opposition to the newly elected commander in chief, promising to resist. Of course, she faced zero discipline or even question from military brass over this. The whole affair was set up by West Point’s Public Affairs Office. How does what Clark did compare?
Reasonable people who have been watching recent events should be able to see by now that the U.S. military is no friend of American conservatives. Its leaders have openly declared their loyalty to one portion of the American people, and if you are on that side, the same rules don’t apply to you. One only needs to look at who the military academies promote or follow any one of the official Twitter accounts of units and leaders across all the services to see whose side they are on. There is no shortage of pride flags, black power fists, pan-African flags, and claims that America is racist and full of extremists (meaning Trump supporters).
— U.S. Army (@USArmy) June 9, 2016
There is no part of the leftist narrative that the military establishment, including many of the rank and file, does not fully embrace. If you support social justice and critical race theory, if you promote military adventurism and endless wars, the message the U.S. military consistently sends is they support you.
Clark’s mistake was thinking that he, a white boy from Georgia who probably likes Trump, was protected by the law and decent leaders above him would take care of him. After all, he just returned from Afghanistan, where he almost certainly knew some of the Marines killed.
The sad truth is that Clark’s service in the new-model military has been to an American regime that hates the way of life of his neighbors and family. His sacrifice was used to enrich the oligarchs who now rule and to empower the national security state that protects them. This is sometimes called the Global American Empire for the degenerate, leftist policies it spreads abroad in the name of “democracy.”
Why any conservative American would send his children off to join the military or cheer it on is beyond me at this point. Numerous veterans are voicing this realization now, especially after the Afghanistan debacle. Yet plenty of decent people continue to naively think it’s only the higher ups who are brazen leftists, also willfully ignoring that this incompetent, mercenary kleptocracy is a meat grinder for young men and women.
Simply consider the psychological damage soldiers suffer simply from serving, let alone from combat, the suicide rates, the abysmal failures abroad for decades, the lying and undermining of civilian leadership, the open social justice activism, including vilifying whites and soon drafting daughters, all supported by the military establishment.
People should also look at the decline of the United States over the last 70 years and the correlative rise in power of the permanent military conglomerate in the Pentagon. Large, established militaries are always factions in political life, and volunteer, professional soldiers are always mercenaries. The republican form of government is incompatible with mercenary militaries.
But to face that is to confront one of the most deeply held myths in the American civil religion: professional soldiers are honorable. Conservatives don’t seem to be up to it. It strikes right at the heart of our national and often personal pride.
This dilemma is what Clark faces in a very real way. He is obviously proud to be a Marine and proud of what he has done, but now the master he serves wants to punish him for standing next to Trump. He is learning now that the U.S. military hates traditional, American conservatives. So are we. And it is painful.
Bill Kilgore is the pseudonym of a writer who served in the U.S. military. The author writes anonymously because conservative opinions are unpopular and dangerous to someone in his position. He has also written for American Greatness.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of Defense or the U.S. government.