While the US military likes to say that it fights for freedom, apparently this doesn’t extend to freedom of speech, as the Pentagon has instructed soldiers to spout approved ‘positive statements’ at July 4 celebrations in DC.
Service members participating in the ‘Salute to America’ event at the National Mall were reportedly given cards outlining ‘dos and don’ts’ for the celebration, which the Pentagon described as being a tribute to those who “defend the American way of life.”
And yet, that way of life doesn’t appear to extend to service members, as the Department of Defense provided them with acceptable “positive statements” to prepare and practice, including, “I am proud to serve this nation and I am proud to be a service member,” and, “I am proud of my job and my vehicle/tank.”
The service members were given advice like, “stay in your lane,” and to avoid “saying anything you don’t want to be heard or recorded.”
It isn’t clear why the Pentagon felt it necessary to ensure its soldiers towed the party line like loyal subjects of an authoritarian dictatorship, or characters from George Orwell’s 1984. Perhaps there was some concern that the servicemen may voice their opinions about being pushed into yet another war with Iran, or are tired of fighting an 18-year-long war in Afghanistan.