Offener Brief von ehemaligen US-Militärs und Diplomaten, 5.6.2020 (engl. Originalfassung)
The United States is passing through a period unlike any our country has experienced before. Our population, our society, and our economy have been devastated by the pandemic and the resulting depression-level unemployment. We deplore the brutal killing of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis which has provoked more widespread protests than the United States has seen in decades.
As former American ambassadors, generals and admirals, and senior federal officials, we are alarmed by calls from the President and some political leaders for the use of U.S. military personnel to end legitimate protests in cities and towns across America.
Many of us served across the globe, including in war zones, diplomats and military officers working side by side to advance American interests and values. We called out violations of human rights and the authoritarian regimes that deployed their military against their own citizens. Our values define us as a nation and as a global leader.
The professionalism and political neutrality of the U.S. military have been examples for people around the world who aspire to greater freedom and democracy in their own societies. They are among our nation’s greatest assets in protecting Americans and asserting American interests across the globe.
Cities and neighborhoods in which Americans are assembling peacefully, speaking freely, and seeking redress of their grievances are not “battlespaces.” Federal, state, and local officials must never seek to “dominate” those exercising their First Amendment rights. Rather they have a responsibility to ensure that peaceful protest can take place safely as well as to protect those taking part. We condemn all criminal acts against persons and property, but cannot agree that responding to these acts is beyond the capabilities of local and state authorities.
Our military is composed of and represents all of America. Misuse of the military for political purposes would weaken the fabric of our democracy, denigrate those who serve in uniform to protect and defend the Constitution, and undermine our nation’s strength abroad. There is no role for the U.S. military in dealing with American citizens exercising their constitutional right to free speech, however uncomfortable that speech may be for some.
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