I have a beef with Ron Paul.
While I might find some of the libertarian candidate's political positions appealing, a recent clip which aired on CNN of a Paul political rally put a very bad taste in my mouth.
At the rally, Paul introduced Army Cpl. Jesse Thorsen, an "active duty" soldier who proceeded to stump for the candidate, in uniform.
Okay, first of all, this Thorsen fellow is a very poor representation of the U.S. Military. He's wrong for being there in uniform because engaging in political activity so dressed is a clear and flagrant violation of Army policy.
And how about that enormous neck tattoo? Army Regulation 670-1 was recently updated to allow tattoos on the BACK of the neck, as long as it isn't visible from the front.
The new regulation clearly states, however, that throat tattoos (from the earlobes forward) are prohibited. According to current Army policy, Cpl. Thorsen should be given the option of having the tattoo removed or being discharged from the service.
Thorsen claims to have served 10 years in the military. According to a little digging done by The Atlantic Wire, soldier Jesse is actually a reservist (not active duty) and has only actually served six years, (in two stints). He also conveniently failed to mention that his second term of enlistment was precipitated by a burglary conviction, in which Thorsen was given the option of that or several years of probation.
What's worse is this: Ron Paul should know better. Paul is a former Air Force officer, and should be smart enough to know that by allowing an Army corporal to speak at his campaign rally, heads would roll, specifically those of Thorsen and his immediate commanders. In addition, Paul misspoke by claiming Thorsen had served in Afghanistan and Iraq (he's only been twice to Afghanistan).
Besides, if he wanted to find a military hero to speak at his rally, he could likely find a better example than Cpl. Thorsen. And as long as that person didn't do his stumping in uniform, there wouldn't have been a problem.