by David Hale, Rockford correspondent / Illinois Leade –
According to the Illinois Leader, a National Guard soldier based in Rockford, IL, who blasted President Bush on a local radio talk show Friday, may face court martial for her public comments.
The husband of Sergeant Jessica Macek, who returned from leave back to Kuwait on Saturday, told WNTA Talk host Chris Bowman that his wife says she may face a court martial for comments she made Friday.
IllinoisLeader.com Rockford correspondent David Hale heard Macek’s comments on the Friday morning show. According to Hale, Macek said the President lied about the reasons America military was in Iraq.
On the air Monday, Bowman argued that Hale’s reporting was inaccurate and biased, saying the story was published on an “ultra-conservative” news source. When asked by the Illinois Leader‘s Managing Editor what Bowman considered inaccurate in Hale’s story, Bowman said, “I don’t believe [Macek] said `liar,’ I think she may have used the words `less than truthful,’ but I don’t recall her saying the President was a liar.”
Commander-in-chief Blasted on Rockford Air Waves
David Hale, Rockford correspondent / Illinois Leader
ROCKFORD (November 7, 2003) — An Illinois National Guardsman at home on leave blasted the President today on a Rockford area radio show, saying the President lied about his reasons for American military going to Iraq.
Sergeant Jessica Macek of Rockford, Illinois has been serving in Iraq for six-months with the National Guard’s 333rd MP Company, and while home on leave, during an interview on WNTA 1330 AM Radio in Rockford said she believes that President Bush lied about the reasons for going to war.
“I believe it is in the forefront in the minds of many soldiers that we were lied to about the reasons for going to war,” Macek told the radio audience.
The bulk of Macek’s criticism comes over what she said was a lack of evidence of weapons of mass destruction. “We have been there for six months now, and we have not found any weapons,” said Macek. “If there were weapons it seems we should have found them by now.”
In a subsequent interview Macek said she may not have used the best wording when she offered her criticism of Bush and that she “can’t always think of the best words to use at the best times.”
Macek was on leave for nine days and was scheduled to go back to Iraq on November 8th, where according to her she is located 80 miles south of Baghdad. She said she has seen much progress in the reconstruction of Iraq but that lately she has not seen the “smiles on the faces” of the Iraqi people.
“There has been a change since the first time I arrived, it is just different,” said Macek. “It used to be welcoming but the attitude has changed to a more negative attitude toward American soldiers.” She offered no specific reason as to why there may have been a shift in their attitude but that it was just her feeling of the situation.
Macek’s strident criticism of President Bush may have opened her up to disciplinary action according to US Central Command Spokesmen Major Pete Mitchell based at McDill Air Force Base in Tampa Florida. “If she has said these things about the Commander-in-Chief she has opened herself up to disciplinary action,” said Mitchell. “Just what that action is would have to be determined by her unit commander.”
Mitchell said there is a mechanism to use for soldier’s concerns by approaching it through the soldier’s chain of command. “We don’t publicly air our differences, we have a recourse through the chain of command,” said Mitchell.
The chain of command is chain of authority that progressively increases in military rank up to the President of the United States who is at the top of the chain as the Commander-in-Chief.
According to Mitchell, morale among soldiers in Iraq is much different than Macek’s account. “I was on the ground in Iraq and I can tell you that the men and women there are dedicated professionals, and I heard no grumbling while I was there,” said Mitchell. “We are proud of the work they are doing in Iraq.”
Macek said her criticism of Bush is her right as a private citizen and that she said she is happy to do her duty in Iraq. “As an American I have a right to speak out against the war if I choose,” said Macek.
“At the moment she is not a private citizen. She is serving her country and while she wears the uniform she voluntarily agreed to curtail her behavior for the purpose of maintaining discipline and cohesion,” said Mitchell. “As a non-commissioned officer, and as a leader, she has had this explained to her at some point in her career.”
Macek’s comments come at a time when President Bush is facing increasing pressure over what to do next in Iraq. Last week, sixteen soldiers were killed in a helicopter attack, one from Genoa, Illinois which brought out some of the worst criticism of his administration since the war began.
What are your thoughts concerning the issues raised in this story? Write a letter to the editor at email@example.com, and include your name and town.