Where is that Predictions Registry, when I need one?
Did I holler with joy across cyberspace, back when Adm. Mike Mullen became Chairman of the Joint Chiefs? People said, "Calm down David, it's not the Second Coming!" But I felt it was damn close to a kind of salvation.
You see, I knew that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney held no truck with the United States Navy, the service that had resisted most fiercely their relentless efforts to geld, politicize and even proselytize our military. If an admiral was about to become chairman, then it meant that the recent elevation of Robert Gates to replace Donald Rumsfeld as Defense Secretary truly was what I had hoped, a prying of ideologue-politician hands from around the throat of the U.S. Officer Corps. This, even more than Rumsfeld's resignation, was clear (if circumstantial) evidence that some kind of careful, legal but forceful action must have been taken -- behind the scenes -- by the men and women who had earned stars in our service, restoring intellect and professionalism to the running of our vital defense, in the face of banal-dullard dogmatism.
(Was it a threatened mass-resignation? We may not know for years, such is the circumspection of this corps. But added evidence later confirmed my general hypothesis, when both Gates and Mullen were retained by the incoming Obama Administration.)
Years earlier, I had derided liberals for going along with a ditzo-lefty notion that people in uniform are somehow automatically on the other side. The Officer Corps is the third best-educated clade in American life, just after professors and MDs. Responsibility and adult care come naturally to most of those who rise to flag rank. They are the grownups in any room. (well, most of them are.) And I have always viewed them as the #1 victims of the Neocon Putsch, the lunacy that has taken over and perverted American conservatism, sending Barry Goldwater spinning in his grave.
(Disagree that they were the top victims? Who else has seen their professional advice so consistently spurned, and then had to hold their surrogate children -- their soldiers and marines -- in their arms while they died in a bungled war? Have you?)
I've long urged Democrats to notice the Betrayal of Conservatism as THE killer issue, since it makes plain that Red America is also a victim, its core values savagely stomped and the ruin then covered over by a thin veneer of populist propaganda. Populism that diverts Red ire away from the cronies and thieves, instead sending all that good-ol' rage blazing toward all of the clades in American life who actually know stuff. The true and underlying agenda of the entire Fox propaganda machine.
Will anyone, ever, make political hay of the fact that members of the GOP now have a much lower average education level than democrats, despite the latter still representing the poor? Or the fact that only 5% of scientists still call themselves republican?
Such figures aren't available for the Officer Corps - most register independent - but a similar exodus is anecdotally evident. It is also seen in the blue candidates that are feared most by sitting republicans -- retired military guys with the savvy-conservative looks, but also intelligence, compassion and common sense, of, say, New York State's Eric Massa. (http://massa.house.gov/) More of them, please! Only their type can follow the monsters into gerrymandered GOP districts across America and beard them in their dens. And win, as Massa did.
(Liberals take note: even if fellows like Massa are "blue dogs" so what? At least their species is honorable, progressive and smart. Their kind of mild "conservatism" can be negotiated with.)
All of which brings us to yesterday's testimony, in the U.S. Senate, by Defense Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen, supporting an end to the policy known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Suddenly, Mullen is the lion of the left! People who were cluelessly wedded to their stodgy-reactionary mental portraits of military men and women now want to hang his picture up there next to ML King!
I have to sigh, since he's been my hero for years. (I'd send him signed books, if I thought he had a moment to spare.)
But whatever. They'll turn on him when they learn that gays will still be asked to do some special things in the military, to keep their comrades at ease. (All males must learn circumspection around the sex they desire. But the kind of mild overture that Corporal Jane shrugs off as background-level, sub-harassment noise can turn Private Bubba into a panicky over-reactor. Hetero males are like that and sensitivity training will only go so far. So take the extra steps, Sergeant Lance, draw clear lines and be super-reserved around your hyper-testosteroned comrades. But stand up for yourself too.)
No, I'm not surprised at Mullen and Gates for "coming out." They are adults and pros and it is clearly time for the next step.
No, I am a bit disappointed instead at pundits and comics like John Stewart, for missing the Big Zinger...
...that the very same GOP Senators and Congressmen who now call "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" a sacred institution and forecast collapse of the republic, if it is removed...
...ten years ago predicted doom and hell on earth if "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" were to be implemented!
C'mon, Stewart. There's plenty of footage. Go for it.