Following McCain's photo-op in Iraq this weekend, which required more than 100 soldiers in armored humvees, attack helicopters and the full attention of the top commander in Iraq, I was wondering what would happen if all the Presidential candidates wanted a tour. Military rules clearly state that the military is not to be used for partisan events. In a directive entitle "Political Activities by Members of the Armed Forces on Active Duty" (PDF File), section 188.8.131.52 states that members on active duty shall not:
184.108.40.206. Participate in partisan political management, campaigns, or conventions (unless attending a convention as a spectator when not in uniform).
Sunday was a campaign event for McCain, and that campaign even will continue on April 11th:
At the same time, Mr. McCain will, upon his return from Iraq, deliver what his aides said would be a major speech at the Virginia Military Institute that will argue that the troop escalation was showing signs of success and urging Americans to back the war effort. The speech will take place on April 11, the day on which Mr. McCain had been scheduled to formally enter the race.
So McCain is going to continue using his possibly illegal event to announce his formal run for the White House. What if every other candidate demanded the same treatment as McCain? There are more than 20 people running for the White House. If they all did the same thing then we would need another surge just for campaign events like McCain's. This is the exact reason why the military don't allow such activities.