Kevin over at Command TOC has made a nice name for himself as a prior officer who is now anti-Bush, Iraq, whatever. Me, personally, Id always lumped his opinions into the category of "patriotic dissent". I know dissent is important. There has to be some voice out there crying "foul" about what the majority does. It can act as a voice of reason I suppose, or at least give voice to some other ideas.
There is a difference though between "patriotic dissent" and "being on the other side." I'm relativly confident that line is crossed when the phrase "(W)e need to CRUSH the American Military," is used. When he goes on to specify that the leadership is a threat to America and questions whether the military represents a greater threat than Osama I'm confident in my conclusion about which side he falls on.
Occasional commenter IRR Soldier is someone who I don't agree with. However I'd like to think that his problems with the Army come from his opinion of our recruiting efforts, and the inequities of service between the classes. I think he's wrong, but at least his concerns about enlistment standards come from a belief that the Army should represent the best (if I'm wrong about that IRR Soldier, let me know and I'll edit).
Previously I'd taken Kevin's comments about perceived lowering standards and his efforts to help people get out of their military service to be some sort of twisted way of trying to keep the quality of the Army high. Don't ask me why I thought that, I have a record of being too kind. It's something I'm aware of, and I've learned to live with it.
The great irony of Kevin's post is that he denounces Greyhawk as trying to somehow mislead America and that he is "dangerous to our way of life."
I'd like to take a moment and explore this concept. I'm way out of my element when it comes to this sort of thing, and I fully expect my comments to be filled with brilliantly written responses from the offending parties that willl cut me to my quick and show me what a tool of the system I am. Well, I exaggerate. I don't think anyone I'm writing about considers me important enough to bother commenting on, so I'm not expecting anything as far as comments go.
Assume that Greyhawk does represent some extreme Ameri-fascist party. That he does want to replace the Constitution with the HalliBusHitlerCo Employee Handbook. What are the odds against such a movement succeeding? America has a pretty good track record for resisting tyranny. Military support of minor law enforcement actions require a freaking Pentagon review. Marching the 1st ACR into D.C. would be difficult. Actually stripping away protections afforded by the Constitution is not an easy task, as much as someone would like to believe. A flag burning amendment can't pass because of freedom of speech concerns. Making Bush President for Life won't make it through committee. I think it's safe to say that despite Kevin's fantasy world of Greyhawk being part of a Neocon cabal to overthrow the country, the likelyhoo of it happening is remote.
Unlike Greyhawk's evil plans, Kevin's hopes to destroy the military have a chance to succeed. Vietnam showed that a properly motivated and publicized minority can bring America to her knees. I don't even need to strain myself to imagine a scenario where Kevin's hopes to see America defeated come true. All that needs to happen is for blogs like Greyhawk, Blackfive, and Smash to go away. Glenn Reynolds stops doing his thing and the support for the war and the troops will go away.
I myself mention this topic a couple times. And I'm sure people can find better written and thought out examples elsewhere. When it comes to the military and Iraq the media will not give a fair shake. They will not, can not, present an honest, unbiased assesment. They don't have the space for it. WWII newspapers would feature whole sections, daily, devoted to war news. Battles, casualities, victories, defeats, planning, etc. At best Iraq and Afghanistan will rate two pages in the middle of the paper where everything about the military will be talked about. The coverage will increase only when a signifigant anniversary comes, or someone with a local tie is killed.
The big drum beaten violently by the anti-stuff folks is a lowering of standards. A view that the Army is now made of poorer quality than it was yesterday. As a guy who is very close to that side of things, they're wrong. Flat out. If someone tells you the Army is lowering the quality of people joining they are misinformed at best, flat out lying at the worst. Yes, the Army front-loaded CAT IV enlistees this year. Each year the Army has an enlistment cap of about 2% for people in that particular mental category. That means the Army can not have more than 2% of the Soldiers going through training be in that category. Previously the Army would open that category up at the end of the FY as a way to close shortages in the mission.
The problem with waiting until the end of the year is it would result in training seats going vacant. If someone enlists on the 13th of September, and they fail to ship out on 1 OCT because they got a DUI on 20SEP, that seat will go unfilled. By loading the front of the year the Army has the rest of the year to refill those seats with more qualified applicants, or by reopening the CAT IVs. My station hasn't been able to write a CAT IV since early November. The fact the is accepting people with a 30 or below is front page news. When the Army closes the category it gets no coverage, nor does any reason for the wide openness beyond "lowering standards, Bush's fault."
Another source of ammo for anti-stuff folks was the increase in recruiting ago for Non-prior service applicants. It currently stands at NLT 42nd birthday, but those require special processing and qualifications. For most people 40 is the cut off age.
As someone who'd be a platoon sergeant in rest of the Army, I admit I'd have a bit of a bias against someone who was 37 and coming into the Army for the first time as a PV1. It just looks wrong. But actions speak louder than words, at least I feel they do to a real Soldier. That 37 year old shows they can hang, more power to them. Glad to have them in the fight.
When a 38 year old walks in and says they want to join, they need to meet the same standards that an 18 year old needs to. There isn't some special allowance for higher blood pressure because you're older. It wouldn't surprise me to find that the average over 36 enlistee is actually in better health than the average younger enlistee. It's not a lowering of the standards, it's widening the pool of available Soldiers.
As for claims that waivers are a sign of lowering quality... well... that's discussed here. The comments by Roy and Station Commando are dead on.
Kevin wants to see America defeated. He wants our country to lose. There really is no other way to take his desire to see the military CRUSHed. There is no scenario where the military is CRUSHed and America comes out stronger. The War on Terror is the Cold War redux. It's a war against a violent ideology that is antithetical to everything in the Constitution. This isn't Vietnam where defeat mean embarassment, and a black mark on our soul for abandoning those who supported us to a violent government and re-education centers. To lose against the Islamofascists/Forces of Militant Islam/ whatever the PC term is will be the destructon of everything we hold dear. It won't be a quibbling about who is able to get library reading lists. It will be the burning of books, destruction of CDs, and the burqatizing of women. Those are the stakes.
Denmark has seen what happens when someone attempts to call a spade a spade in the battle. They had their embassies attacked and set on fire. That is an act of fucking war. Why is it that the only people in the government who seem to realize that we are in a war are in the fucking White House? Why is it that minor, ancillary connections between Bush and Jack Abramahoff get the front page treatment, while CNN cowers behind a black bar for some fucking cartoons, and the Cartoon Network's South Park is the show that actually goes out and tells it like it is.
Anyways, it's late/early, I'm tired, and have a busy day tomorrow. The digs at recruiting, the fever-swamp rantings about Halliburton enrichment plans, and all that were what I expected to see from Kevin. Seeing him cross the line and go into rooting for the other side was too damned much.