When a carefully Constitutional military slips into politically correct stupidity

One of the many blessings of our American military is that it’s a Constitutional military that has as its Commander in Chief a civilian elected by the American public.  (Although history has shown, fairly recently in fact, that the American public sometimes elects bad CinCs.)  Because the elected CinC is frequently someone without military experience, a theoretically non-partisan command hierarchy exists to advise him.

For the most part, our military does a decent job of avoiding politics.  I’m not always sure how it manages this.  For example, the current CinC just announced cuts that will reduce our military to 1930s status — and we know how well that went back then.  He did so despite the fact that world events put the lie to his happy peppy statement that the world is entering a time of peace.  Our poor military.  It gets an order from its CinC — “You must shrink” — and then has to figure out how to do that without destroying itself.

So, how does a Constitutional military handle a command from on high that is stupid, unrealistic and dangerous?  I guess it does what our military did:  It follows orders, announcing a plan to shrink, one that serious military analysts find very worrisome.  Even smart militaries have to do stupid because the rules of them game require them to do so.

Sometimes, though, the military manages to engage in unforced errors that are clearly the result of politicization.  This is not party politics, it’s just Beltway, Foggy Bottom stupidity.  After all, if you’re going to hang around the Pentagon for a while, you’re going to be infected by the political pandering that makes Washington what it is — a place and entity that nobody likes or respects.  In this case, the United States Army could not resist affirmative action’s siren song.

You probably recall reading back in September 2009 that the Army (which was now reporting to the Obama White House) appointed the first woman ever as Command Sergeant Major of the U.S. Army’s Drill Sergeant School (DSS).  What made this appointment even more exciting for those in the affirmative action business was the fact that Teresa King wasn’t just female, she was black.  It was a two-fer for political correctness.

If Sergeant Major King had been female, black, battle hardened, and brilliant, everything would have been fine and dandy.  Unfortunately, King seems to have been more decorative than functional as a Sergeant Major:

Reports from MCC’s on the ground correspondents say King’s suspension from duty was prompted by her heavy drinking, sexual relationship with a lower ranking enlisted soldier, and the fact that at least one of the college degree she listed on her resume is from a schools deemed to be diploma mill.

Almeda College where King lists as the school from which she was granted a Master’s degree in business management, has been closed by legal action in both Florida and Idaho because it was declared a fake institution.

Another embarrassing element of King’s persona – which she has built around a “sergeant no slack” façade — is the fact that in spite of her tough talk, she has never been in a combat zone, which makes gaining the respect of her battle-hardened veteran students difficult at best.

Whoops!  One wonders if King willingly went along with the charade that she was competent, or if the heavy drinking is a sign that she was an affirmative action sacrificial lamb who knew she was in over her head.

The problem, of course, is that the decorative Sergeant Major King did not hold a merely decorative position.  Unlike today’s European royals, who are meaningless figureheads, King was appointed to an extremely important institution, ones that trains the Army’s backbone:  the sergeants.  Heck, I’ve watched enough Hollywood movies to know that, without the sergeant drilling, haranguing, fathering (and mothering) the troops, there is no Army (or Marine Corp, or anything else).  For the powers that be at the Pentagon to play silly little political games to curry favor with the Obama administration, with the U.S. Military paying the price, is a shocking example of politics.  Not partisan politics, just stupid politics.

Sergeant Major King has currently been suspended from duty and the Army is doing its best to keep this story off the front page.  Funnily enough, King’s lack of qualifications should help.  If King was actually as good as she should have been, the MSM would have been all over a story “proving” that the Army is a racist, sexist organization that never gave the first black, female Command Sergeant Major a chance.  However, if the charges against King are true — that she was a shabby paper tiger who never should have gotten the job — the MSM will work tightly with the Army to keep this story out of the public eye.  For the Army, the appointment is an embarrassing example of stupid; for the media, it’s a glaring failure in their affirmative action world view.

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  • jj

    King was an affirmative action hire – as was Obama for most of his life – and his wife for all of hers.
    There was a time when the elected CinCs were actually Commanders in Chief.  They behaved as such, in that they deployed the military forces, and left it at that.  They told the military where to go, and what to do – and that was it.  They didn’t tell them how to do it, who they had to bring along, and who should be in charge.  They left all that part of it to the people who might actually have some clue about how best to approach the problem – and get it resolved.
    But the rot – though now more extreme than it ever was – set in pretty early.  George Marshall was as much a political animal as he was a military leader, and the military – in pure military terms – suffered for it.  Crap like suspending your best and most dynamic field commander for the heinous crime of slapping a private was purest political theater at its interfering worst.  (Though at least Marshall – with the help of a couple of solid kicks to the backside – recognized that mistake after things bogged down in Normandy, and he had to do something.  What he did was reinstate Patton, and fire him across the channel in much the way that the Germans fired Lenin at Russia in 1917.  The Germans were actually afraid of Patton.  They laughed at Montgomery, Bradley, Hodges, et al.)  But canning Patton in the first place was pure political theater, and not at all good for the war.  And he allowed himself to be constantly overridden by the Churchill/FDR combination, that engaged precisely in trying to tell him how to run the war, with the effect that we didn’t invade mainland Europe until June, 1944 – over a year and a half later than he wanted to.  Only God knows how many unnecessary deaths that delay caused, both in the war years itself during the Holocaust, and for the next five decades as Stalin was given time to advance into Europe while we f***** around in North Africa and Italy.  Marshall’s own military judgment was screw North Africa and Italy – what the hell are we doing there?  Making Churchill happy? Invade mainland Europe and North Africa withers on the vine, and by the end of the week Italy’s changed sides and is with us.  But instead of standing for his own principles and saying to FDR/Churchill: “gentlemen, you’re crazy, and if you’re going to prolong this war in this entirely brainless manner, then have my resignation,” he went along with it.  And the ovens at Auschwitz got another year and a half to burn, and Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland – well, you know the list – were erased from the map.  So that piece of political-as-opposed-to-military thinking cost what?  A million lives?  Two?  Adding in Soviet domination of eastern Europe for fifty years – five million?  Eight?  Ten?
    And since then it’s been pretty much all downhill, with CinCs taking on the job of running operations, just as though they were qualified to do something other than listen to briefings.  LBJ was deciding which targets to bomb in Vietnam.  Nixon left the military pretty much alone, Carter tried to turn them into a humanitarian, meals-in-wheels force, and hollowed them out so badly they couldn’t mount a decent rescue operation in Iran – though he couldn’t leave that alone and tried to run it from the white house situation room.  With the entirely predictable result that it was a shambles.
    Reagan handled the military as it should be handled: equip them, tell them what you want done, and await results – with your mouth shut and your opinions kept private.  Bush was from the same model, but he and Schwartzkopf had to contend with Colin Powell, so the job against Iraq, which should have been wrapped up right then, wasn’t.  Powell, the majority of whose career after Vietnam was spent running a desk (you don’t get to be Chair of the Joint Chiefs without being a political, as opposed to military, animal) considered his own political career to be of paramount importance at all times.
    Clinton was Clinton, a physical coward in his personal life, and a draft-dodger, but the military was lucky in the sense that there wasn’t much he allowed them to do in his eight years.  No real difficulties arose – luckily for us all, because you know he wouldn’t have been able to maintain a closed mouth.  And Bush, a firm believer in limiting the military in terms of what they do, which only accomplishes making your kids into targets.  When t hey sneak out to the street and blow you up, grinning and bearing it only invites more of the same.  What you do is kill everybody who puts his head up – and the hell with what the world and the New York Times thinks: this is war, not tiddleywinks.
    And now, in a military which has been so constantly deployed over the last decade that practically everybody who enlisted before November has combat experience, our geniuses, plainly going for the two-fer and attempting to curry favor with Jugears, managed to find a CSM for DSS school who somehow or other has managed not to be in combat?  How the hell does that happen – in today’s army everybody’s been in combat! 
    But – trace it back to Marshall.

  • http://OgBlog.net Earl

    I feel REALLY sorry for the next female “elected” to the post….after this b****h.
    Talk about leaving a steaming pile of c**p behind for the next person to clean up!
    I just don’t believe that no one knew this lady’s predilections and actions….what kind of system are we running that no one had the courage to stand up and resign if necessary?  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised after Major Hasan’s path through the ranks…..
    Criminy….what a screwup we’re watching.  I wish it didn’t matter so much….but it really does.
    People are going to die because of this. 

  • Wolf Howling

    jj – The problem with the military upper ranks being populated by psuedo-politicians goes back long before Marshall.  And indeed, Marshall was one of the least of the political hacks.  If it wasn’t for him, Patton would never have gotten flag rank in the first place.  And even though Patton was spanked for slapping that soldier, the Army made use of him as a decoy before turning over command to him of the Third Army.  He was in essence given a short time out.  

    Here is what I wrote on this issue two years ago about flag ranks in the context of don’t ask, don’t tell:


    It is unfortunate but true that much of our flag officer ranks are populated by people who are political animals moreso than they are soldiers. For a shining example, take the recent stomach churning display of political correctness coming out of the very top echelons of military leadership in response to the act of Islamic terrorism perpetrated by Maj. Nidal Hasan at Ft. Hood. Recall the Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Casey’s reaction to the terrorist act at Ft. Hood, where he seemed much more concerned with “diversity” than he was with force protection and dealing honestly with all of the issues raised by that incident. Is it any surprise that the incident occurred because of political correctness, or that in its aftermath, the Army would issue an 86 page report on the incident that fails to mention MajorHasan or the religious motivation for his massacre.The reality is that for every Petraeus, for every Grant, for every Pershing and Patton, there are a multitude of others such as Casey, Mullen, Powell, Clark, Custer, and McClellan who have been promoted to flag officer rank based on their political skills and connections. Indeed, that has long been a problem endemic to our military. The general rule has been that in peacetime, political animals rise to the top while most of the warriors seem to top out at Colonel. It takes a year or more of war to weed through the political animals and to find those few fit to actually command our troops in the theatre of battle. As an aside, the sole historical exception to that rule in the past century that comes to mind was WWII, where Gen Marshall was given carte blanche to hand pick the generals he wanted to fight the war. He forced retirement on or otherwise passed over “hundreds” of senior officers to promote Eisenhower, Patton, Bradley, Stilwell and others of their ilk.Thus, when an Adm Mullen or Gen. Powell calls for an end to Don’t Ask Don’t Tell on the grounds of “fairness,” it is something that will no doubt impress many with no feel for military life nor the realities of promotion to flag officer rank. It shouldn’t. These flag officers’ calls for a policy change based on “fairness” are far removed from anything that should be dispositive on the issue.  


     Two final thoughts on what Obama is doing to our military and how the military is reacting.  One, Obama is raping the military in terms of funding and manpower.  Those in the military are duty bound to honor whatever Obama directs, and to do so without public comment.  But if a single one of them had the courage of their convictions, they would be calling a press conference to announce their immediate retirement and then launch into a tirade about what they really thought.  Yet we don’t see it from any of them.  It is rare that I feel disgust at my army brethern, but I am feeling a twinge of it today.

    Two, Obama is not merely raping the military, he is turning it into a jobs program for the green crowd.  I wrote a fairly long piece on biofuels at http://www.wolfhowling.blogspot.com/2012/01/small-win-against-great-biofuel.html  Here are some of the quotes:


    The biofuel sector, besides its recently ended direct subsidy, gets to take part in the programs and loan guarantees that gave us Solyndra. But in at least one way, the biofuel sector is far, far more insidious. The Obama administration is using our military to create and sustain biofuel markets, irrespective of how cost inefficient this is and how dangerous it is to our national security. 

    Obama’s Secretary of the Navy, Roy Mabus, has signed up the Navy to purchase50% of their total fuel needs (16 million barrels) from biofuels by 2020. . . . .
    How screwed is this? The only things Mabus should be talking about is how the Navy is going to keep the Straits of Hormuz open and how it will meet the threat of China’s massive expansion into a blue water fleet. Yet here is he talking about the Navy becoming an Obama jobs program and a prop for the left’s green energy mania. 

    Obama is in the midst of decimating our military, announcing hundreds of billions in defense cuts just today. What makes this truly dangerous – and what makes an utter mockery of Mabus’s claim that this push to make the Navy green will save money – is that none of the biofuels the Navy is being forced to buy are anywhere close to cost competitive. . . . .

    Lastly, a word of caution on the King affair.  I served with a large number of blacks in the military, not a single one of whom I would ever characterize as “affirmative action” types.  Indeed, by the time you get through the first couple of ranks, affirmative action hirees are weeded out of the force or in fact, prove themselves.  It is always one of the two.      

    I would be willing to bet my last dollar that SGM King earned her way up the ladder.  As to weather she was good enough to then be placed as the NCO in charge of Drill Sgt School, I have no idea.  That said, I strongly suspect, just from my knowledge of how the army operates, that she was good enough to consider.   

    That said, people can fold and fade towards the end of their careers.  I was part of a brigade staff as a captain that protected a brigade commander from being sacked.  He retired after his post, but he just fell apart in that command.  That said, he earned the opportunity to command.  Perhaps that is what happened to King.  It certainly sounds like it.

    There is much to be critical of in the military, particularly at the flag rank.  Far too many are politicians before they are soldiers dedicated to God and country and acting with the courage of their convictions.  That said, its impossible, without having SGM King’s records in front of us, to tell whether the army brass should be skewered for her failings in office.  Just because she fell apart does not make her an affirmative action hire.  

  • Charles Martel

    This kind of racism, firmly convinced of its righteousness, manifests itself by looking down at blacks and patronizing them with affirmative action and welfare.  Unfortunately, although it gives the perpetual racists on the left and in the Democratic Party the illusion of having great moral chops, it has set back the cause of racial equality in this country by at least two generations. 
    Way to go, you black-hating “progressive” arse apertures!

  • 11B40


    Nothing too new about this kind of incident.  Back in the early ’80s, I was working as a civilian printer for the NAvy in Newport, (Little Rhodie) RI. One day, I was checking over the copy for a Change of Command program we were to print when I came across the naval service history of a female Lieutenant Commander. She had been in the Navy for 12 years, ten of which were at different commands at Newport and two of which were at the Navy’s Public Affairs office on Fifth Avenue in New York City.

    And, oh yeah, her nom de guerre was “Legs”.  

  • jj

    Wolf, we’re doomed to disagree about George Marshall.  Yes, the problem predates Marshall; but Marshall was nothing if not political. I choose him as a good exemplar, but certainly not the first.  He spent his life as a planner and aide-de-camp, never led troops in combat, and most of his appointments were not outstanding combat leaders.  He was, for example, the major booster and supporter of Lloyd Fredendal for Torch and II Corps.  For reasons that are (at best) obscure he thought Fredendal was a genius – until he got his ass handed to him at both Sidi bou Zid and Kasserine Pass, at which point Eisenhower assigned Ernie Harmon to do an assessment and figure out what was wrong with II Corps.  The answer was Fredendal.  Harmon told Eisenhower to put Patton in command of II Corps, Eisenhower agreed and the rest is, as they say, history.  Eisenhower and Patton had worked together to establish tank tactics during the 30’s, and Patton’s advancement owed just about nothing to Marshall, he was a major general before America got into the war.  Marshall did advance Eisenhower himself, but again, not as a combat leader, but as chief planner, allied figurehead, and reservoir of tactical diplomacy to hold the allies together.  He also pushed Mark Clark and Omar Bradley, both politicians, neither an outstanding combat commander.
    And then there is the fact that he completely disagreed with wasting time in Africa – but never stood up to say so.
    As for the hard-drinking Sgt. Smith, there are several thousand sergeants currently serving who have seen combat, and had to make the practical decisions while the bullets were flying.  She, oddly enough, hasn’t.  Doesn’t all by itself disqualify her, but under the current war-time conditions and ops tempo, it’s permissible to wonder if there aren’t – at least a few – people equally qualified, if not more so.

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  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    In the 60s, the Left tried their old march through the institutions game on the military with drugs and sex. That got cleaned up and they could no longer penetrate the grassroots once the draft was over.The Navy was still the ticket for the politicians to punch their “combat” ticket, however. Even to the point of Congress critters proclaiming veteran status when they weren’t even in the military to begin with. But now that the Left controls DC and politics, they have discarded entirely the whole grassroots infiltration plan. They have gotten a few Hassans and Mannings, of course, for their trouble, but their primary focus is now on the upper military rank. By using political control, media propaganda, and bribes/blackmail, they will control the military from top to bottom, with a few key individuals. The Left understands the enormous authority the US military still has with the general public, so the Left wants to groom a few military minds that can carry the propaganda stick for them if it should ever be necessary for Democrats to make military decisions from the capital.

     The LEft has been getting people killed in combat long before Vietnam. This is nothing new. People might want to consider that for a few seconds when they continue to proclaim that Civil War is not a threat and the Leftist alliance is simply a non-existent conspiracy that is just another political party, like the Republicans.


  • MacG

    Nothing like airing dirty laundry but here ar the letters to the Editor of the local Independent Journal: