On Monday, Memorial Day, Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen wrote an open letter to troops in uniform that "the U.S. military must remain apolitical at all times. It is and must always be a neutral instrument of the state, no matter which party holds sway."
"The only things we should be wearing on our sleeves are our military insignia," Mullen wrote.
Three days later, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz, sent a fundraising solicitation using an image of him and Gen. David Petraeus.
"Something is wrong with your judgment when you want to sit down unconditionally with Raul Castro and Iran’s President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but you don’t take the opportunity to sit down with General Petraeus and learn about the situation in Iraq firsthand," the letter reads. "My friends, this is not the ‘change’ we need in our next president."
Presumably the McCain campaign did not ask Petraeus’ permission to use the picture. Do you think it’s at all contrary to Mullen’s message to use the photo of McCain and Petraeus in a fundraising solicitation?
UPDATE: ABC News’ Jonathan Karl notes that Petraeus’s spokesman, Colonel Steven Boylan, says the McCain campaign did not ask for permission to use the photo.
"By no means does the use of his photo mean he has endorsed anybody. He has not. He won’t. He remains apolitical," Boylan told Karl
Does Petraeus object to the use of his photo?
"He has no comment on that one way or another," Boylan said.
UPDATE 2: McCain campaign spokesman Brian Rogers says using the image of Petraeus is not at all contrary to the spirit of Mullen’s directive. "We’re not suggesting General Petraeus has endorsed anyone in this race. I’m sure you’ll find (attached is one example) that Senator Obama has used pictures of himself with troops in the course of this campaign."