Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Comical Ignorance

The following post was written by one of our fine Navy Veterans and Fellow Scholar of the American Patriot Institute, Cafkia, and posted at the Official Site of the American Patriot Institute.

Cafkia can be found at Meanderthal. Pay him a visit. It's well worth it.

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.


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