Saturday, December 05, 2009

The Force is Shot to Hell

It was a refrain from an old bar-room song, "the force is shot to hell..." A lament about the deterioration of the military from the good old days when whomever is singing the song was slogging along compared to the current state. They sang it in the fifties about the state since WW II. They sang it in the '70s about those halcyon days of the emerging jet age in the '50s. They might be singing it again when they read this:

Don't Offend the Mindless Drones

Who in the hallowed halls of the military rear-echelon bureaucracy has time to think up such convoluted touchy-feely policies? There is so much wrong with that whole package that I hardly know where to start.

As I recall the Navy enlisted force has taken great pride in their sea-going tattoos. I'm not saying that style is for everyone, but it put a certain touch of machismo on the chief petty officer when he walked the deck with his sleeves rolled up.

The issue, of course, is how to simultaneously recruit sufficient numbers from the shallow pool of those both eager and qualified to serve their country while still maintaining some semblance of a disciplined military appearance.

The current fad for defacing your body with beautiful (at least to the eye of the mouth-breathing teen-ager) permanent artwork creates a problem. The ink doesn't merit comment unless it can be seen and even the ubiquitous tramp stamp gets seen from some angles. Can we have some Maori face tats on the next Chief-of-Staff like Mike Tyson? Probably not.

So, we've got a generation of pierced, perforated and posterized youth and a military that needs the manpower. If you've finally found someone with enough smarts to qualify, adequate physical fitness to be trained and the motivation to do something outside of their own personal comfort zone, do you then turn them down because they've got a skull and snake on their bicep? Probably not.

That is about the point where rational regulation ends. Who is the careerist drone who made a distinction regarding tattoos on the saluting arm? Is that simply the most meaningless and inane policy decision we've encountered so far this week?

And, excuse me for noting, but what was the mother of that young man thinking when she colluded in that disfigurement? Besides, where do you find a tattoo artist who can write in Hebrew?

The force is shot to hell.

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