- At a time when President Bush is pleading with the United
Nations for permission to wage war on Iraq, he has assigned U.S. troops
to wear U.N. uniforms and report to a foreign U.N. commander.
- The pro-U.N. policy represents a violation of a Bush
campaign promise and the 2000 Republican Party platform. It also represents
a continuation of a policy that began under former President Clinton, who
ordered the prosecution of a U.S. Army soldier who refused to join the
- The United States Military Observer Group in the Pentagon
confirms that U.S. soldiers wear U.N. blue berets and U.N. shoulder patches
as members of UNOMIG - the United Nations Observer Mission in the country
of Georgia. Soldiers ordered assigned to this mission wear this U.N. uniform.
What&laqno;s more, they receive a United Nations physical examination before
deployment to the mission and the U.N. pays some expenses associated with
it. The purpose is to supervise the cease-fire between Georgia and Abkhazia.
The U.S. troops take orders in the mission from a foreign commander named
Major-General Kazi Ashfaq Ahmed of Bangladesh. After their service, members
of UNOMIG may receive a ribbon described as "Central stripe of UN
blue, flanked by white and green stripes, with dark blue edges."
- President Clinton's order to U.S. troops to wear a U.N.
uniform was extremely controversial, unpopular, and alleged to be illegal
and unconstitutional. House Majority Whip Rep. Tom Delay sponsored a bill
to prohibit the wearing of a U.N. uniform by U.S. service personnel. This
bill was a reaction to the case of U.S. Army soldier Michael New, who had
refused to wear a U.N. uniform and was court-martialed and discharged for
bad conduct by Clinton.
- Such a bill was considered unnecessary under President
Bush because he - and the Republican Party - had made it absolutely clear
that he would never order U.S. troops to serve under U.N. command. "I
will never place U.S. troops under UN command," candidate Bush said
in his speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Simi Valley, California,
November 19, 1999.
- The 2000 Republican Party Platform declared that "...American
troops must never serve under United Nations command."
- My 15 year-old son wrote a report on this matter. He
- "What is a hero? What acts do they do? They do many
things: championing a good cause, going beyond the call of duty, and acting
wisely under pressure to name just a few of the good things that heroes
do. My paper is on Michael New; a soldier who refused to comply with unconstitutional
orders from a higher command and then was discharged from the army because
- "In July of 1995, Army specialist Mike New was informed
that his infantry would be going to Macedonia as part of a 'peacekeeping&laqno;
operation. In August, he was told that his unit would be required to wear
a U.N. beret and patch. He was told the order to wear the U.N. uniform
was lawful because 'the president said so therefore it is.&laqno; But nobody
ever provided a legal rational for this. Eventually, a battalion briefing
offered the justification that 'We wear the U.N. uniform because it looks
fabulous.&laqno; He refused to wear the uniform. In his oath, he said he
would fight for the U.S., not the U.N. or some other foreign power. But
Bill Clinton had ordered this without even Congress&laqno; approval and
he knew it was unlawful. This, he knew, violated his oath as a soldier.
He didn&laqno;t wear the uniform like everybody else was doing.
- Instead Michael New did what was right and what was just,
and by not wearing that uniform, risked everything.
- "In terms of going beyond the call of duty, I believe
Michael New went far beyond the call of duty. Now only was he willing to
fight, he was also willing to put everything on the line to do what was
right. And if he had to do it all over again, he would.
- "Michael New definitely risked his life, future,
and reputation by saying no to this illegal order. He knew that he would
be court-martialed for doing what was right. His case is still in the courts.
He was discharged from the army for 'Bad Conduct.&laqno; He knew that he
could have gone to jail and that he&laqno;d have that mark on his record.
But those were sacrifices he was willing to make for the good of the country.
- Michael New faced scrutiny from military officers. Yet
he still stands strong in his belief that when you sign up for the U.S.
military, you aren&laqno;t fighting for the U.N. of for some foreign regime;
you&laqno;re fighting for America.
- "He serves as a calling to my higher self because
he acts wisely under pressure. He also does the right thing even though
he knows the consequences. Michael New is willing to stand up for what
is right. I admire these traits a lot and how he, with a promising military
career ahead of him, decided he&laqno;d do the right thing and end up having
to give it up. "In conclusion, I believe that Michael New is a great
person. He shows leadership, champions a good cause, and fights for what
is right. He acts wisely under pressure and risked his future for the country."
- My son recognized a basic truth that has been lost on
President Bush. The President must reverse course, order our troops out
of their U.N. uniforms, and reaffirm their commitment as U.S. soldiers
dedicated to protecting the U.S. Constitution.
- To comment on this article or express your opinion directly
to the author, you are invited to e-mail Cliff at <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>email@example.com