Lowering the Standards

Here we go, in opening up battlefield positions to females, there is talk of lowering the standards. From Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff:

If we do decide that a particular standard is so high that a woman couldn’t make it, the burden is now on the service to come back and explain to the secretary, why is it that high? Does it really have to be that high?”

Do we really need to hold our guys (and soon gals) to one high standard?
Hand Salute: NavyDavy, thanks!

Ethics Training Inbound

Back when I was junior enlisted, woe be to anyone who made a mistake close to a holiday. Underage drinking meant that all of us would get an hours-long GMT (general military training) on underage alcohol consumption. Well, these days that adage seems to work in reverse. Our generals are triggering the training:

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta

Citing a string of ethical lapses by senior military officers, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has asked the Joint Chiefs of Staff to review ethics training and to brainstorm on ways to steer officers away from trouble.

The move is a reflection of the depth of concern triggered by a series of misconduct cases in a military that prides itself on integrity and honor but has suffered an unusual number of stumbles after a decade of war.

In a memo to Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Panetta made no explicit reference to the David Petraeus sex scandal, which also has ensnared the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen. Panetta’s press secretary, George Little, said the memo was the product of internal Pentagon discussions that began before Petraeus announced he was resigning as CIA director because of an extramarital affair.

Standing by for training. Meanwhile, General Petraeus testified last week behind closed doors. But not too closed:

A photographer is photographed as she aims her lens through a crack in the doors during the US Senate Intelligence Committee in Washington where former CIA Director David Petraeus will testify on Capitol Hill.

A photographer who photographed two photographers photographing a photographer squeezing off a photograph through a crack in the door of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Got it.

Parading Vets: St Louis Vs. New York

I’ve spent a sizable chunk of my career focused on Iraq. First as an Iraqi linguist and later as an officer in charge of a team of linguists. There is some debate as to whether the returning veterans should be given a parade.

As for me, I do not need one. I do not require a parade for closure or recognition. But I think it would be a positive thing for many of my friends and their families. It would put a period, an exclamation point, on a challenging time in our country’s history. Two cities had opposite reactions to the idea of a parade. First, St Louis:

That was the hope of organizers Craig Schneider and Tom Appelbaum. Neither man has served in the military but came up with the idea after noticing there had been little fanfare for returning Iraq War veterans aside from gatherings at airports and military bases. No ticker-tape parades or large public celebrations.

In Saint Louis, Stephanie King holds a picture of her uncle, Col. Stephen Scott, who was killed in Iraq in 2008. RIP, Sir.

And then there is the Big Apple:

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg says there will be no city parade for Iraq War veterans in the foreseeable future because of objections voiced by military officials. . .

Bloomberg says Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Martin Dempsey and other Army officials “made it clear” to the city “they do not think a parade is appropriate now.”

Despite being in a large organization, the Navy, I love the fact that this is community-run. Any city across the United States should decide if they want to honor the veterans in their own way.