Cultural Revolutions

Questions to Answer

Michael New, the 22-year-old Army medic who faces a bad conduct discharge for refusing to wear the United Nations uniform, may well lose his fight to clear his record. He was court-martialed and convicted in January, and it seems unlikely the Army court will reverse that decision. At issue is his refusal to wear the powder-blue U.N. beret and patch, as ordered. Other soldiers before him have been out of uniform, and the Armed Forces have prosecuted some of them. But only now has a young Texan been found out of uniform because he was wearing the American uniform.

Even the Army's own lawyers have conceded, in a stipulation of fact dated January 9, 1996, that "The United Nations insignia and accouterments. . . has [sic] not been approved . . . as required and mandated under the provisions of . . . Army Regulation 670-1, 'Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia.'" The Army's argument is that a direct order from a superior officer, whose ultimate authority comes from Bill Clinton's presidential order, supersedes these regulations.

Michael New's fellow enlistees in 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry, 3rd Infantry Division are now in Macedonia carrying U.N. identity cards (they are permitted to carry their American identification, but are only required to carry the U.N. card). Even more importantly, while Army spokesman Mike Doubleday told a Washington Post reporter...

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