Friday, February 5, 2010

Overheard in the OPNAV passageway

"May I also make a plea that our supposedly established senior leaders try to sound a little less arrogant when talking or writing about integrity. It seems to be a subject that engenders in people the conviction that they have had the gift of divine revelation about it. Some of you are coming very late to the game.

I for one am more than ready to admit that I don't know all about it, that I have never stopped learning about it, and that I have continued throughout my life to make mistakes in it. We can all go on learning - but, for God's sake gentlemen - have the humility and good sense to admit you compromised yours long ago."
For obvious reasons, the active duty Captain speaking would like to remain anonymous and on the job.


General Quarters said...

Don't understand this post. What breech of integrity are you referring to?

Anonymous said...

I understand what he's saying. The concern here is that if DADT is an "integrity" issue for ADM Mullen, when did he figure this out? Only after POTUS was inaugurated? Recently, and unrelated to the political scene? Or maybe ADM M figured this out years ago, but because as CNO (or a mere CO or DIVO) did not have the political horsepower to do anything about it. So it sounds like the post is asking ADM M when did this become an integrity issue? And if it was awhile ago, why didn't he drop his papers and go home in protest?

In answer to the implicit question-- maybe it is just politics, and maybe, like Queen, CJCS goes "any way the wind blows." Yeah, that's possible. Considering the CF that naval shipbuilding became on his watch as CNO, maybe CJCS is happy to serve, but is not one to rock the boat (else he would have fixed shipbuilding, and agitated to repeal DADT while a mere service chief, etc.).

More likely, though, and without automatically imputing the worst motives to people, he never had much cause to think hard about the justness of DADT in the past. Until just a few years ago, he was another cog in the machine, albeit a relatively senior, successful cog. As such, he followed the lawful orders promulgated by POTUS, subject to congressional action. Whether DADT was right or wrong was simply not his fight.

But then, as the senior military officer, he was summoned to testify before congress. While I applaud his effort to specify that he was speaking only for himself, offering a personal opinion rather than a policy proposal, the news media did not report that nuance-- perhaps by design.

I understand where the post is coming from, however. One would hope that on issues of integrity, there is not much room for reasonable people to disagree. For example, embezzling official funds is really not a gray area. By painting DADT in the language of "integrity," however, ADM M may have stoked unnecessary resentment.

To be clear, I agree with the ADM that DADT should be repealed-- it is simply not fair to make homosexuals hide their relationships for the sake of some vague notion of unit cohesion. As even Barry Goldwater said: you don't have to be straight to shoot straight.

So, yes, repeal DADT. While pressing the case, however, let's be careful not to call it a personal integrity issue. It's a policy decision, a national security issue, and a recruiting issue. But to call it an issue of personal integrity is unfortunate wording that will create unnecessary opposition.

General Quarters said...

Thanks, I get it now; and I agree that framing DADT as an integrity issue is unnecessary and inflammatory, particularly since many of those opposed to repealing it believe that homosexuals themselves lack integrity by their acts. I hope just a case of poor choice of words, not an unfair slash at the loyal opposition in a lapse of personal integrity on the Admiral's part.

On the other hand, we deceive ourselves if we believe that senior officers rise to the level of JCS without being political animals.

Anonymous said...

"why didn't he drop his papers and go home in protest?" Well because senior officers make WELL over $150K a year in base you think these clowns really want to give this up...Integrity? The military senior leadership has lost that years ago!

Anonymous said...

ADM M is a politician in else do you think he became the CJCS?