Top US General in Iraq to Soldiers: Shut Up!

UPDATE (7/18/03: 6:00 EDT)

Pentagon Retaliates Against GIs Who Spoke Out on TV

The General’s warning (see below) was not empty:

"It was the end of the world," said one officer Thursday. "It went all the way up to President Bush and back down again on top of us. At least six of us here will lose our careers."

First lesson for the troops, it seemed: Don’t ever talk to the media "on the record" — that is, with your name attached — unless you’re giving the sort of chin-forward, everything’s-great message the Pentagon loves to hear.

The coalition forces commander – General Abizaid – declared that American troops must silence their criticism concerning the President and Defense Secretary. The New York Times quoted the general:

"None of us that wear this uniform are free to say anything disparaging about the secretary of defense or the president of the United States. . . We’re not free to do that. It’s our professional code. Whatever action may be taken, whether it’s a verbal reprimand or something more stringent is up to the commanders on the scene and it’s not for me to comment."