The Army Is Investigating An Officer For Publicly Protesting The US Government's 'War Machine'

news

Brittany DeBarros is waging the kind of vehement public protest via Twitter against the Defense Department and U.S. government that's commonplace in the Trump-era — except that DeBarros is a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve assigned to the Army's Psychological Operations Command.


According to DeBarros' Twitter account, she has been called up on two-week assignment since July 14, but each day since then DeBarros has posted tweets criticizing "the horror being carried out by our war machine for profit," with the Army moving to investigate the officer's remarks.

&ref;_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.businessinsider.com%2Fus-soldier-brittany-debarros-protesting-the-army-and-the-us-government-2018-7

The "Dept. of 'Defense' is the largest oil consumer worldwide," DeBarros notes in one tweet. "The violence unleashed directly is horrific, but it also has massive spillover impacts."

&ref;_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.businessinsider.com%2Fus-soldier-brittany-debarros-protesting-the-army-and-the-us-government-2018-7

&ref;_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.businessinsider.com%2Fus-soldier-brittany-debarros-protesting-the-army-and-the-us-government-2018-7

"Defense corporations made contributions to 496 of 525 Congress members in 2018," DeBarros said in her most recent tweet, posted on July 20, the seventh day of her assignment. Defense contractors are prolific political donors, though many of their contributions come from their political-action committees, owners, employees, or employees' immediate families.

DeBarros, however, has stopped short of directly criticizing President Trump during her July protest; using "contemptuous words" against the president is a violation of military law.

DeBarros detailed her criticism of U.S. foreign policy and its impact at home in a June 23 speech in Washington, DC, at a Poor People's Campaign rally.

During the speech, DeBarros said she was a combat veteran who identified as a woman, Latina, white, black, and queer, and that as a person "existing at the intersection of these identities, I carry a grave conviction in my core that there can be no true economic, racial, gender liberation without addressing the militarism that is strangling the morality and empathy out of our society."

"For decades, we have been lulled into complacency and inattention as our drones have obliterated weddings, funerals, religious ceremonies, ordinary homes, and ordinary people," DeBarros said.

https://www.facebook.com/VetsAboutFace/videos/2179645452052168/

"We begrudge the poor for the pennies we give them to eat and survive but cheer for the nearly $600 billion annually we spend on defense. The military industrial complex is literally corporate greed weaponized," DeBarros added. "From the militarized equipment in which our police forces and federal agencies are clad, to the large percent of current and former soldiers conditioned for war and then hired to occupy our streets to keep peace, is it any wonder that our neighborhoods are treated like combat zones, and our neighbors treated like combatants?"

DeBarros' protest has gained the attention of the Army, which confirmed her assignment to Army Times and said it was looking into her statements.

Officials at U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command "are aware of the situation surrounding Cpt. Brittany DeBarros," Army spokesman Sgt. 1st Class Stephen Crofoot told Army Times on Friday. "To maintain the integrity of the ongoing investigation, we are unable to comment at this time."

Army Reserve and National Guard soldiers are permitted to make political statements in public while they have civilian status but doing so is not allowed while they are on active orders. DeBarros did not reply to Facebook messages sent by Army Times, nor did she respond to a Twitter message sent by Business Insider on Monday.

DeBarros' June speech came just a few days after the Army's 10th Mountain Division accepted the resignation of 2nd Lt. Spenser Rapone.

Rapone — an Afghanistan combat veteran and a 2016 West Point graduate — posted pictures of himself at his West Point graduation in a T-shirt with Che Guevara's face and with a sign reading, "Communism will win," inside his hat.

Rapone, who says he retains an honorable discharge from his enlisted service, posted the photos in September 2017, telling the Associated Press he did so in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick.

&ref;_url=https%3A%2F%2Ftaskandpurpose.com%2Farmy-communist-west-point-graduate%2F

The photos provoked a backlash, including a call for an investigation by Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, which prompted West Point to say Rapone's actions "in no way reflect the values" of West Point or the Army.

Rapone enlisted in the Army after high school and served as a Ranger in Afghanistan but became disillusioned with the military soon after joining, he said in June on an episode of What a Hell of a Way to Die, a left-wing podcast hosted by two combat veterans.

"By the time I deployed, I encountered most people who had no real interest in why we were fighting and [were] more so interested in just the next time they could go out and kill brown people and just [terrorize] the Afghan population," Rapone said.

"To this day, we had this nebulous idea of going after the Haqqani network, and I'm sure they're not great dudes, but it's like, are they really threatening the United States of America?" Rapone said. "And isn't it the United States that caused Afghanistan to turn into [a] hellscape?"

Read more from Business Insider:

WATCH NEXT:

Twitter/Brittany DeBarros

On Saturday, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point graduated the most diverse class in the academy's history.

Read More Show Less

PORTLAND — They are "the honored dead" for this special day each year, on Memorial Day.

But for the rest of the year, America's war dead of the 20th century can be far removed from the nation's awareness.

The final resting places of some 124,000-plus U.S. servicemen are at far-away hallowed grounds not always known to their countrymen.

They are America's overseas military cemeteries.

Read More Show Less

NEWPORT — The explosion and sinking of the ship in 1943 claimed at least 1,138 lives, and while the sea swallowed the bones there were people, too, who also worked to shroud the bodies.

The sinking of the H.M.T. Rohna was the greatest loss of life at sea by enemy action in the history of U.S. war, but the British Admiralty demanded silence from the survivors and the tragedy was immediately classified by the U.S. War Department.

Michael Walsh of Newport is working to bring the story of the Rohna to the surface with a documentary film, which includes interviews with some of the survivors of the attack. Walsh has interviewed about 45 men who were aboard the ship when it was hit.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Marine Corps photo

Editor's note: this story originally appeared in 2018

How you die matters. Ten years ago, on Memorial Day, I was in Fallujah, serving a year-long tour on the staff and conducting vehicle patrols between Abu Ghraib and Ramadi. That day I attended a memorial service in the field. It was just one of many held that year in Iraq, and one of the countless I witnessed over my 20 years in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Like many military veterans, Memorial Day is not abstract to me. It is personal; a moment when we remember our friends. A day, as Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “sacred to memories of love and grief and heroic youth."

Read More Show Less

Arnold Zuniga walked quickly, quietly, to the wall of the fallen and dragged his finger across the name of the childhood friend who never came back.

Read More Show Less