Fort Hood and the contamination of cover-up.
The tyro leader mistakenly sets himself on a precarious pedestal – the snake oil salesman peddling the elixir of life. At the extreme he claims the knowledge -“I know better”, he says, “better than the generals, than the admirals, better than the medics”. It unravels with the cover up. Lacking in a set of values, without a truthful manifesto, and fearing rejection, the putative leader trims, goes into denial, blames others, panders to his followers. The good of the team, loyalty to the leader, a pattern of self reinforcing denial is set. The acolytes turn a blind eye.
The deaths at Fort Hood are just today’s example. Of course our boys in the army are not heroes. They are just that – boys and girls in the army. They are young men and women looking for somewhere to belong, looking for a purpose, looking for a job and looking for fulfillment. They are like the rest of us – except we were lucky enough to get to college first.
Many of them do become heroes. They really do face terrible action, they really do suffer. And they win our respect. They also remain testosterone driven kids at heart. The leader’s job is to help them as they grow, not hinder. So we should not cover up the hazing or sexual aggressions at such extraordinary centers as Fort Hood. We should stare the brutal truths in the eye, confront and start over to build the first high tone US army of the 21st century. And the Commander – in – Chief? He should set the example for this. Unfortunately he does not know how to do this. As followers of a sort we should not tolerate the uncaring of a president whose own military achievement is summed up by “heel spurs”, the last refuge of the privileged coward. So our leader demeans those who pay the ultimate price, mocks the soldier’s commitment to his own, and excoriates those who lead – the Generals and Admirals. Such an attitude from the top only reduces confidence among the leadership we have. The best will leave. Debate and proper challenge is silenced. Our institutions may now be staffed with yes – men covering up reality to give the president what he wants to hear and to save their next steps to a pension.
None of us are heroes – we can only try as hard as possible to be open, to be truthful, to do an honest job, and, dare I say it in this hostile America – to be kind.
Have a good day, James