Column: Selective censorship undermines military


In a column published in USA Today, a former judge advocate argues the Air Force has a double standard when it comes to expressing viewpoints contrary to the service’s own.

Support the Air Force’s official stance, former Capt. Maribel Jarzabek writes, and get rewarded. Oppose it, she says, and get punished.

Jarzabek gives as examples a two-star general’s recent alleged characterization as “treasonous” any officers who would work with lawmakers against the Air Force’s contentious plan to retire the A-10 — as well as her own case.

Jarzabek told Air Force Times in December she was investigated and ultimately verbally counseled after posting on Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s Facebook page in support of the lawmaker’s proposal to put military attorneys — instead of commanders — in charge of serious crimes.

While she was being silenced, Jarzabek writes, “military brass encouraged subordinates to openly advocate against the military justice legislation” proposed by Gillibrand.

(The Air Force Inspector General is investigating Maj. Gen. James Post‘s alleged remarks; the service has said Jarzabek clearly violated Air Force instruction by participating in an online discussion of a “partisan political cause.”)

Jarzabek writes commanders are picking and choosing which views they allow — a kind of selective censorship that tears away at unit cohesion and military readiness.

“It is critical that our brave men and women in uniform are able to trust their commanders,” Jarzabek concludes in the Feb. 9 column in USA Today, parent company of Air Force Times. “But that trust flies out the window when military leaders accuse airmen of treason for speaking with members of Congress, and criminal investigations are launched against military lawyers speaking up for sexual assault victims. All service members should be able to share their unique perspective, not just those with which the military brass agree. Americans deserve to hear the truth.”


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