A bit of recent news got my attention, so I thought I would express the resulting thought process here.
First, the news piece, which can be found HERE, in which a highly decorated and widely admired Naval Officer is relieved of captain's duty FOUR years after a series of videos he released were finally leaked to the media(yay, more reasons to hate the media). Please see the article for relevant information before continuing.
Next, we have one of the actual videos, HERE, which happens to be the last one released sometime in 2007. Anyone reading this blog under the age of 18 should probably go watch scooby-doo instead. Otherwise, have a look-see.
There has been a lot of slander about the actual content of the videos, much of it from people who presumably did not actually watch the videos. Anyone that's been in the military would know that this kind of humor is pretty much standard fare, the language is pretty mild, and the content is, AT WORST, quasi-offensive to the overly sensitive.
The official statement by the navy, which was in the video from the first link, cites two quotes from the "handbook" on how to be a proper officer. The first cites integrity, commonly defined as adherence to moral and ethical principles. This is a purely subjective judgement on the part of the brass, as it neither indicates who's principles are to be used, nor codifies a specific standard against which behavior can be compared. I imagine a very interesting conversation would ensue following an in depth inquiry into the answers for those very questions. The second is also a subjective judgement, i.e. "highest degree of moral character." This statement is entirely without objective content or meaning. I imagine these particular injunctions were written by our puritan ancestors, enthralled as they were to christian doctrine (which would explain the continued presence of such unconstitutional and religiously motivated "tests of faith" in many state constitutions). The fact of the matter is that unless Jesus is captain of the enterprise, no man is able to fulfill such ambiguous requirements upon his character. Of course, Jesus would have given the boat away, so thats probably a bad analogy(who needs a boat when you can walk on water, amirite?). If the man is truly unfit for duty, is this really the best the Navy can throw at him?
There are a few other, lets say unofficial, reasons cited to justify him being removed from command. The most common takes the form of gay-bashing and/or sexism. This is a superfluous charge if you've seen the videos, more so if you've been in the military. The gay jokes are made at the expense of himself and other officers, and I would be surprised if gays didn't find these videos hilarious. Sexism is simply a straw man, as nothing in the videos evinces any sort of denigration towards woman post-sexual-revolution. I can see how some people may feel indirectly "offended" by the content, but in the words of that great english intellectual, and a proud gay man, I might add, "Well, so fucking what?" This wasn't mandatory movie night, it was opt-in, opt-out.
If they had shown an old time western, perhaps one of the greats starring the pugnacious Duke, I presume the uproar would have been equally retributive? No, actually, I highly doubt that would have been the outcome, even though such movies regularly portrayed the beating and keeping of slaves, indiscriminate killing, abuse of women and children, and overall "improper" behavior. Sure, John Wayne wasn't captain of the ship (of course, neither was Capt. Honors at the time the videos were produced), but its safe to say this video was far less controversial, and quite in keeping with the mood of any ship crew I've ever had the honor of working with.
The military brass likes to pretend they're still in the '20s, but the reality is that anyone under the rank of captain couldn't care less about anything in these videos. Granny-panty bathing suits and dinner-party language is long gone, fellas. Is the american military really so prudish that some mild potty humor is a career-ending offense? If so, I'm glad I got out when I did; if not, lets fire the tightwad that deprived an entire aircraft carrier full of young men and women of a valuable source of moral. This is the society that celebrates shows like Sex in the City, Southpark, and Beevis and Butthead, lets not forget that.
This, too, in a day and age when the vast majority of the country these servicemen and women are risking their lives for considers the entire enterprise (see what I did there?) to be a sham and a waste of time. Do you honestly think "support the troops" means jack-all to a serviceman when the bullets start chipping the paint next to his head? No one wants to die in a war the history books will sardonically refer to as "probably not a good idea." Let them have their fun, get your sticks out of the proverbial mud, and go back to ignoring every combat operation that doesn't involve body-bags.
Thanks for stopping by, I would love to hear what you think!