05 August 2007

Why Jon Soltz Blew It

Jon Soltz led a panel session at YearlyKos called, "The Military and Progressives: Are They Really That Different?" (reg. req.)

At the end of the session, during the Q&A, a Sergeant [David D. Aguina] in his "Class A" service uniform stood at the floor microphone to ask a question and Soltz immediately attacked him for being in uniform and warned him not to make a political point (watch video).

I also question the propriety of wearing the uniform to YearlyKos. I seriously doubt the Sergeant [Aguina] was there on official business. If he was, then he was in the right uniform. If he wasn't, he should have worn civilian clothes.

It would have been appropriate for Jon Soltz to wait until after the session to inform the Sergeant [Aguina] of the uniform policy and regulation. It would also have been appropriate to ask the Sergeant [Aguina] his name and unit when he approached the microphone or after the session if Soltz intended to report a possible violation to the Sergeant [Aguina]'s chain of command.

What was not appropriate was to "pull rank" while a YearlyKos moderator from the session's stage. The moment Mr. Jon Soltz announced himself as Captain Jon Soltz and threatened the Sergeant [Aguina] from a position of military authority - by virtue of his rank - from the stage of the YearlyKos session, he may have put himself in a deeper predicament than the Sergeant [Aguina] faced (see 5 C.F.R. 2635.807(b) Reference to official position.).

I also find it incredibly hypocritical that Soltz uses a picture of himself in uniform on his YearlyKos webpage (with his Captain's rank clearly visible) and his VoteVets bio webpage, and yet is quick to admonish - as "Captain Soltz" and YearlyKos panelist and moderator - a Sergeant for being in uniform as an attendee of YearlyKos.

UPDATE: I'm heartened to read this from Brandon Friedman (aka The Angry Rakkasan):

I've talked to Jon several times since Friday morning, and if he had it to do over again, he would have handled it a little differently.

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