Sunday, April 22, 2007


Sometimes we mere mortals get things on a slant instead of straight up. Like our morning newspaper. No, I'm not admitting that they would ever consider deliberately making mountains out of mole hills, but once in a while stuff happens....
This Sunday's paper might illustrate what I'm talking about. But first I ought to explain that I spent four years in the US Navy at one stage of my life. We were taught in boot camp that disobeying an order from a superior could (and probably would) be cause for a general courtsmartial. The only way out of a charge like that would be to go up the chain of command (and pray lot). And they meant it.
Well, it seems some sergeant from Wisconsin (shades of Joe McCarthy) in Iraq accused a company of National Guardsmen (known as "Task Force Cobra") from New Mexico of having "a lot" of gang members in it. He claimed he saw many gang tattoos on the men. So what?
So the commanding officer assembled the company and had them strip to the waist. There were no gang tattoos on any of the men. That should have been a "case closed" decision (which it was as far the investigating officer was concerned).
My guess is that the predominately Hispanic guardsmen were speaking a foreign language in front of the Wisconsin soldier and he got ticked off about it and figured they were talking gang talk. But it didn't end there, as it should have. The New Mexico Adjutant General, Ken Montoya, had been passed over a couple of times while seeking the rank of Brigadier General.
According to the Albuquerque Journal, "one New Mexico soldier complained 'that he didn't feel like an American today' ... another soldier cried ... and ... another soldier said the 'Gestapo-like' tattoo check was the lowest point of his military career."
These quotes made me realize that today's "citizen army" is nothing like the real army. At least not the one I was familiar with. But I was on the kid end of the "Greatest Generation". Those men and women were my heroes. And still are today.
So, if I'm right about the language thing, the guy who "didn't feel like an American" brought it on himself. English is the American language. The soldier who cried because his feelings were hurt? Hardly my definition of a warrior. The soldier talking about "Gestapo-like" behavior? He doesn't appear to know anything about the real Gestapo. It's a catch-phrase to him.
So why is it on the front page? With two jump pages? Well, Adjutant Montoya is not going to get his other star. He will retire eventually with a Colonel's retirement package, not a general's. And since The Albuquerque Journal is a Democrat (please remember I'm a member of that gang) newspaper and backs our Governator for President (which I don't) it just might be possible that this is an attack on Dubya and the Republicans? You reckon?
And a case of self interest? Well, if the Governator decides to enter the primaries here, they stand to get a great many advertising dollars for their newpaper, TV station and radio stations. And three out of three ain't bad.


Women on the Verge said...

I feel your pain... my husband has been full-time Army National Guard for over 25 years. Most of the pilots who mentored him were Vietnam era chopper pilots. The difference between the pilots then and the kids coming in now is tremendous. I think it's got more to do with how that generation was raised in general though. Gone are the days when you were taught self-reliance. The kids my husband is seeing now don't even know how to take responsibility... it's always someone else's fault if something goes wrong. These young pilots don't seem to be able tro plan ahead for every possible contingency... they want someone else to do it for them... He spent a year in Iraq with people who complained if they had to work longer hours, or if their food wasn't hot when it was served. I don't think it's just the soldiers, I think this reflects the way recent generations have been raised valuing material possessions and "self" by parents who tell them that they can do no wrong. A great example-- my daughter was being bullied by a nasty girl. I've always taught my daughter that if you see someone being bullied you step up for that person... that by watching it and doing nothing she would be just as wrong as the one doing the bullying. Two of her best friends were instructed by their parents to move away from my daughter. The parents told me that they told the girls to do so because they didn't want their girls getting picked on too... to me, that says it all.


Catmoves said...

Thank you Ethel. I value your comments.