Previous 11 - 20 Next
I doubt if he even knew about the Little Big Horn, the First of the Seventh, and George Armstrong Custer. Unlike Marines, Air Force officers don't read. I was with a group of academics visiting Marine Corps OCS at Quantico several years ago. We had lunch in the chow hall where Marine NCOs were in the face of the officer candidates, yelling at them as they were trying to eat. A lady professor asked, "How can they expect these men and women to eat when they're harassing them like that?" I answered, "Their future enemies will be doing more than yelling at them. What they have to be able to do is function as normally as possible under extreme pressure." I added, "This is nothing compared to what the Taliban has in mind for them.
Actually since the Peloponnesian Wars and probably since Sumer. However, the lesson of Troy is that sexual misbehavior can cause a world of grief. War is dirty, awful, business and it's no place to be thinking about anything but finding a way to fight more effectively and to win. It's not the mission of our armed forces to foster social justice. They exist to fight and win the nation's wars, period.
Sierra Hotel!
Nearly 30 years ago, when I was editor of the Air Force's professional journal, the "Air University Review" I got into a big time fight over being critical of Air Force policy. After the journal was denied permission to publish a number of really good articles because they were critical of Air Force policy, I submitted an article I'd written for clearance. The title was "The Limits of Air Power" and its theme was that the United States lost the Vietnam War and, in part, that was due to the misapplication of air power. After it was denied clearance I went to Washington to confront a colonel who was responsible for clearing articles for publication in an office called Secretary of the Air Force, Public Affairs and Security or SAFPAS. After going through the article, I asked why it was denied clearance. I pointed out I had not used classified sources nor had I criticized Air Force policy. The colonel answered, "You stated in the article that we lost the Vietnam war." I responded, "Well, sir, the color of the flag over Ho Chi Minh City pretty much shows we didn't win it." And then I asked, "Is it Air Force policy that we won the Vietnam war?" The colonel replied, "Yes, our policy is that we won the war." Astounded, I answered, "SIr, that's a statement of opinion not of fact. And policy cannot be based on opinion." I also pointed out that the regulation which was used to deny clearance stated that one could be critical of policy but could not mis-state policy. I then declared, "Sir, I'm going to publish this article" and asked, "are you going to court martial me?" The colonel, by then turning red in the face, replied, "Major, if it were up to me, I'd gladly prefer charges against you. But I know we would lose on appeal. I promise you, however, that if you publish this article your career in the United States Air Force is over." I published it. The point is, at least in the 1980s, one could criticize Air Force policy but that policy had to be clearly stated. For instance, I could say "It's Air Force policy that no one should be denied freedom of religion" but then I could write, "In fact, through pressure from commanders, Christians are being intimidated into silence regarding their views on homosexuality." What the Sergeant Major cannot do is refuse to obey a legal order. Expressing an opinion that makes someone uncomfortable or "creates a hostile work environment" is pretty shaky grounds for anything. We have enemies who will do that.
The rank of major is critical to an officer's future career. If a major doesn't make lieutenant colonel, he or she is forced to retire at 20 years. Once "passed over" for promotion to lieutenant colonel it is highly unlikely--though not impossible--to "recover." In Air Force terminology a passed over major is "terminal" as in terminally ill. Usually the window for promotion to lieutenant colonel occurs at about the 13 to 14 year point. That means the terminal major--one who's been "passed over" for promotion--will spend an additional six years "in grade" as a major. The pay isn't bad but the assignments for an officer whose career has been deemed "terminal" usually suck. The Air Force, more than the other services, put a great deal of emphasis on "career success." Each promotion cycle, the passed over major will receive a phone call from either his commander or the commander's secretary the night before the promotion list is received. The caller "requests" that he or she see the commanding officer "first thing in the morning." There he or she will be told how "not everyone can be promoted" and that "we are all on the same team." The passed over officer is re-humiliated. This makes it imperative that while serving as a major, the officer do NOTHING that might blemish his or her record. So, the major will toe the line...whatever that line may be and it can be ridiculous as in this case where the military is "leaning forward" in the saddle, each service (with hopefully the exception of the Marine Corps) vying to be the most politically correct in carrying out this mandate "from the top." Officership is about integrity. In this case, the Senior Master Sergeant has it. I read once, in a book about the old Prussian officer corps, that a major once was told, "The Kaiser made you a major because he expects you to know when not to obey orders."
The closet is a good place for people to keep their sex lives. Force your sexual preferences on me, and I may or may not approve, but really I'd just as soon not be bothered. If your sexual preferences offend me, then I'll let you know. Additionally, there are laws and rules governing marriage. No one is free to marry "whomever they please." One cannot marry someone else's spouse, for instance. One cannot marry two people at once in most states. No one is free to marry a creature from another species. Homosexuals have the same right to marry that I have they just can't marry someone of their same sex. In fact, a two homosexuals can find someone to "bless" their union. There are churches that allow same-sex marriages. I just left a denomination that is moving in that direction because I think there are very valid Biblical arguments forbidding same sex marriage. I also joined a denomination that isn't about to allow same sex marriage. I really have no problem with a gay couple finding somebody to "marry" them. I will think it's a parody of marriage. But if you don't push your sex life on me, I won't peak into your bedroom to see what you are doing because it's none of my business and, frankly, I don't care. The gay agenda has destroyed the denomination I belonged to but it won't prevail because while evil and be legalized, Nazi Germany proved that, it can never be turned into what is right.
Take a peak at the first chapter of Romans.
In response to:

Reflections on Gettysburg

Earl Wrote: Jul 03, 2013 6:07 AM
Oh? You might want to read Charles G. Summersell's "Alabama: History for Schools. ((Northport: American Southern , 1957). Summersell chaired the history department at the University of Alabama circa 1955-1970. His paternalist interpretation of slavery is almost classic.
In response to:

Reflections on Gettysburg

Earl Wrote: Jul 03, 2013 6:00 AM
Certainly. To a certain extent, however, that may have been the result of a horrible reconstruction and the economic depravation that settled over the South until after World War II. Jefferson Davis might have been a great leader if he had had the governmental tools to make the CSA work, as it was, he didn't. Lincoln, with very little to recommend him as a wartime president, proved a much more effective leader. Libertarians might scream that he disregarded the Constitution...he did...but his leadership ranks him as one of our greatest presidents. Jeff Davis...not nearly as impressive...and I'm a "Davis" on my mother's side.
In response to:

Reflections on Gettysburg

Earl Wrote: Jul 02, 2013 5:42 PM
Half that happened in Congresses controlled by Democrats bolstered by the "solid South" and leaders named Joe Cannon and Claude Pepper. Southerners were historically progressive until 1960 and the nomination of John F. Kennedy (even then, Kennedy carried the South because of Lyndon Johnson) welcoming crop subsidies, food subsidies and let's not forget the Tennessee Valley Authority. The South was always more conservative religiously and on racial issues, but again the latter was nuanced. In 1964, the Democrats lost their hold on the South. Over the years many Southern pols changed parties to remain electable, they didn't necessarily stop being progressives. One of the most prominent Southern progressives...George Wallace, and even he was moderate on racial matters until it suited him politically to catch the winds of rabid racism whipped up by Brown vs. the Board of Education, the Montgomery bus boycott, and then the desegregation of Central High School in Little Rock.
In response to:

Reflections on Gettysburg

Earl Wrote: Jul 02, 2013 5:33 PM
I recommend reading Southern newspapers from 1860. Slavery ignited the powder keg. Fear of slave rebellion in the South, if you read the papers, was rampant. For instance, the University of Alabama became a military school in 1860 (hiring a retired US Army colonel from Massachusetts to be the first commandant of cadets) not to provide officers for the Confederacy or a possible confederacy, but because the students were so undisciplined it had become impossible to ignore. One argument for making the University a military school was that if war comes, Tuscaloosa will have an armed cadre here to help put down any slave uprising. And yes, one can talk about a subject without being a professional historian, but one cannot become a professional historian without being educated.
Previous 11 - 20 Next