Monday, June 30, 2008

Comical Ignorance

Except it isn't funny. Pitiful perhaps, dangerous maybe but, funny it aint. "It" is the response of the reich-wing bloviators I half heard on CNN late at night responding to General Wesley Clark's well considered denunciation of the idea of flying and/or crashing a fighter plane as qualifying one for the job of POTUS. I suppose it will come as a shock to no thinking person that General Clark is waaaaaayyy more likely to be right when it comes to military issues than the chickenhawk guild. However, there are a couple of points worth expanding.

In the USN, unless you are the CO or XO of a squadron, a pilot is in command of nothing. (S)He does not lead men and flying is not generally considered a command path. Even the term/job "plane captain" does not refer to the pilot but instead, to the enlisted (wo)man who has the responsibility for just damn near everything on the bird except when it is actually in flight. Yes, pilots are officers but, few of them turn out to be leaders. Their training focuses on what they can do to avoid costing the U.S. and USN a shitload of money by giving gravity primary control of an airborne plane.(Such training apparently did not take with McSame as evidenced by his time as a POW.) They also receive some training on delivering death, destruction and mayhem on command. As a general rule, with acknowledged exceptions, O3 and below flyboys know less about leadership and command than your average E6 and up. Yea, sure the E6 will have to salute the O3 but that is more tradition and general orders than it is respect.

"Line" officers are the command path officers. They learn to drive boats and head up divisions on a ship and they cross train in a lot of different shit. In running a division, they will be the leader of the enlisted men who make up that division (if the Chief lets them) and they can dream of their own command. Interestingly enough, John Kerry was a line officer with command experience. When he was being unfairly dissed and outright lied about by veteran and chickenhawk alike, such experience wasn't especially valuable to the GOP. Even to the point of the rank and file rethugs making graphic fun of Purple Heart earners at the national convention.

In short Barack Obama has just as much command experience as John McSame. Both have "commanded" political campaigns. It is comical ignorance indeed to believe that all military service is the same or that all military jobs are command prep. But, these comically misinformed individuals have huge misinformed audiences. Even worse, none of them seem to even want to know the truth. The relevant truth here is that Clark is right. Flying and/or crashing airplanes is in no way, shape, form, or fashion, suitable or significant preparation for the job of POTUS. Serving as a POW does not give one special insight into how to prosecute a war or, how to lead the nation in times of peace. Physical suffering for one's nation does not entitle one to high political office. It just doesn't.

I interacted with a lot of officers during my time in the military and, like just damn near any other enlisted puke, I learned to size them up pretty quickly. If I was being recalled into the military tomorrow and I had to choose one of the two presidential candidates to be the officer I reported to, the nation would be in trouble because with my life on the line, I would pick the intelligent, analytical, clear-headed, quick thinking one of the two. I'd pick Obama.


cross posted to meanderthal


deuddersun said...

Fuckin'-A, Bro. Roger that!!

Reposting this at my place with your permission.


CAFKIA said...

Wear it out d.

Gordon said...

Damn, C, you come outta the woodwork full growed and ready to fight! Great post, and right on the money.

Spadoman said...

I totally agree, a good post. Leadership does not get generated from the experience of circumstance, but rather from ability. Great leaders "Command" respect, not "demand" respect.

Hope to see some of you Veterans in Minneapolis for the Republican National Convention. The massive march from the State Capitol to the convention hall is being thwarted by the government. Our basic human freedom to assemble and show people what democracy looks like is likely to be stopped, or an attempt made to stop the march. We'll see if St. Paul's finest can arrest 50,000 men, women and children for voicing their opinion to the Republican delegates that this war is immoral, illegal and needs to be stopped immediately.

You presence is needed. Free lodging at my place if you need it.

Peace to All.

THE Michael said...

Recalling that conspiracy movie, "Capricorn One", I am extremely tempted to believe that DUBYA never actually piloted a jet aircraft, at least not by his stupid self. If I understand it correctly, by the time Georgy Boy was given a spot with the Texas Afternoon Flying and Draft Escape Club (Air National Guard? Yea, right)
a Jet fighter/bomber was getting to be a pretty complex piece of avionics that we couldn't train a monkey to fly anymore. No, I want someone in that unit to step forward and admit for once that no one actually ever saw DUBYA fly a plane. I have quite a few sailors still living who can testify that I drove a nuclear attack submarine, so I have license to ask.

clif said...

Having served both as an enlisted man, and as an officer, I'd agree, Barack Obama seems better suited in many ways for command in the military then John McCain does, let alone Commander in Chief .......

Kitchen Window Woman said...

Wow - Good One! Thanks for the insider's view. I've been about to choke on the steady diet of McCrash's humble heroism.

Westly Clark and McCain's qualifications came up for discussion at last night's SDVFP's monthly meeting. As I agree with Clark, I shared some info I'd run across on McCain's less than stellar military career.

Below is a copy of the e-mail I sent out to our local VFP vet's list this afternoon. The articles are very informative...

"Hi all, At last night's VFP meeting I summarized some info about John McCain's military career that I had gleaned from an article by Carl Bernstein.

Here is the link to the article "John McCain: Nothing Left to Fear" which appeared in the December 1999 issue of Vanity Fair.

And here is another article - this one from BNET

And the following article speaks to John McCain's character - or lack of it:

It seems that privilege has been used often by powerful Republican families to secure prized slots in various guard units or elite military training for their sons. It is also sad but true that the "service" of the these golden sons later on, serviced the advancement of their political careers. John McCain stands with some pretty shabby company - George H. W. Bush, J. Danforth Quayle, and of course the worst American president to date, George W. Bush.

The more I read about McCain, the sicker I get!

Kitchen Window Woman said...

Sorry, two of the links got cut off so I'll try again.

BNET article


KayInMaine said...

I doubt Johnny McTeleprompter could command a paper airplane at this point. LOL! Go Obama!

It's so nice to read a soldier's point of view on GENERAL Wesley Clark's comment. Thank you, CAFKIA! Great post.