Friday, September 18, 2015

Courage under fire is easy. Dealing with uncomfortable truths is hard.

Why is it easier to risk your life by engaging in mortal combat, but its hard to take a stand on an uncomfortable truth?

I really don't know the answer to the question but it explains everything that is wrong with our defense department.  The dept is filled with people that will dazzle you with combat records that would make warriors of old blush with envy.  But when it comes to taking stands on moral issues or uncomfortable truths those same men lose their voices.

We had two examples of it this week.  The first involved the SgtMajor that called the SecNav on his bullshit but then quickly took down the post on his facebook page.  Disappointing but not knowing the particulars I can't say that I'm surprised.  Commands can reach into the social network of just about anyone in uniform so a "come to Jesus" moment probably occurred.

The second case IS disappointing.  Remember the dustup between the American and Chinese Admiral at DSEI?  I was disgusted by the weak response that our guy gave to such a provocative statement.  I wasn't alone.  McGrath and Hendricks responded on the pages of Defense One...a tidbit...
This represents yet another iteration of the “Let’s be the gracious power in the room” approach to authoritarian regimes, a tactic that has been utterly discredited. Offered as a sign of benevolent humility, a posture presented by the current administration as an alternative to previous foreign-policy statements grounded in American Exceptionalism, these statements are increasingly received as signs of U.S. weakness and decline. From the Middle East to Europe and Asia to Africa, the reputation of the United States and the global system of governance based upon the rule of law, individual liberty, and free trade is under challenge.
McGrath and Hendrix had it absolutely right.  So I was a bit peeved to read this today.
Jerry Hendrix and I wrote a piece yesterday in Defense One in which we raised objections to reports of remarks RADM Harley made in London earlier this week. Admiral Harley has defended himself in the comments section of the piece, and in a meeting he held earlier today with Jerry.
Jerry and I were inappropriate in our wording, specifically "Let us be clear: military officers, especially flag and general officers, are not political appointees. Their oath and duty is to the Constitution and the people whose sovereignty it embodies. The rising unwillingness to provide realistic assessments and strategies to protect American national interests is truly disturbing." We have no reason to believe that RADM Harley has been anything but faithful to his Oath of Office, and the implication that he has is regrettable and unfortunate. I apologize for this. Jerry has similarly apologized to the Admiral in the comment section of the original piece.
So Hendrix and McGrath decide they need to apologize.


You want to know why the F-35 has survived this long?  You want to know why the USMC is SOOOO late to the party when it comes to dealing with the 'women in combat' issue?  You want to know why the DoD procurement is a joke and our strategy all around the world is a travesty?


We have a generation of guys that will literally charge a machinegun nest without question, but shrink from the idea of MAYBE having to stand alone and tell their colleagues and the world uncomfortable truths.

We can't fix a thing till we fix this.

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