Monday, June 30, 2008

Be Cautious in Comparison

Strange as it might seem there are a couple of prominent former four-star rank officers embracing the Obama candidacy. One, a former AF Chief-of-Staff, is notable to almost all AF guys as the creator of the worst insult to the uniform ever devised and very little more. His design of a generic morphing of TWA Captain and a U.S. Postal Service worker brought sneers from both inside and outside of the Force. Once a well-respected fighter pilot and even a Thunderbird, he was a real-life example of one who has “gone over to the dark side” in pursuit of rank; what I called a careerist in “Palace Cobra” rather than a warrior. From him we got this last week:

From an Anorexic Perspective

If that comes across as a bit sarcastic then you aren’t really thinking about it. In truth, it is a reduction of political debate to the level of eighth grade school-girl insult.

Then we find a retired Army officer who once held the vaunted position of Supreme Allied Commander, Europe (SACEUR). That is the individual in charge of all US and NATO military forces, all services, all countries. He’s a pretty tall dog, but he’s got to remember not to take the adjective of “Supreme” too seriously. Apparently the guy that most of us call “Widdle Wesley” and a Perfumed Prince of the Pentagon has come out of the closet and gotten blatant in his pandering for power. These comments are so illogical as to be obvious even to American voters:

Compared to Whom?

The back-handedness of smarmy compliments about service and honor and the deeply held respect should inspire little but nausea. Then the ludicrous claim that command of a Navy fighter squadron is not a major executive responsibility because it wasn’t war-time makes no sense at all. Years of membership of the Senate Armed Services committee is no qualification either. The oblique deflection of the obvious challenge to his logic when it is pointed out that Obama hasn’t been a fighter pilot, been shot down, or commanded anything military is shallow to say the least.

One can make many arguments about what it takes to be the President of the United States. It is possible, although I consider it quite difficult, to make the case that intellect, vision, passion and charisma fill the bill. I lean toward maturity (naturally because I’ve gained some!), experience in challenging positions, a bit of coping with adversity, some perseverance, an evidence of honor, and a willingness to even confess to some past failure. But, somehow hauling out these universally derided hollow uniforms to prance in front of a public that is generally totally lacking in military background seems quite despicable. To attempt to make the case that twenty years of military experience is not a plus but actually makes you less capable than individuals like Sen. Obama or Sen. Clinton who have never spent one second in military service is embarrassing.

One can only hope that this sort of thing gets noticed even by the great unwashed masses and that the harvest reaped from sowing this crap is appropriate.

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