Thursday, December 10, 2009

Fowler's foul

It is time to head back to Annapolis; back to where we started.

Well hidden on Pearl Harbor Day, Phil Ewing at Navy Times had
an update on The Potempkin Color Guard that I had to read twice to really believe what I was reading.

Though others have, I have intentionally avoided bringing the Superintendent of the Academy, VADM Fowler, into this mess. No longer - he has made the decision to come out on the subject and is now fair game - and come out he did.

I am sorry; this cannot go unanswered.
Vice Adm. Jeffrey Fowler told Navy Times. He said the administration often changes the makeup of groups that represent the academy — bands, glee clubs and color guards — to make sure midshipmen get equal chances to represent the school.

“We do it for a variety of reasons, whether their grades are good enough, whether it’s their physical fitness; ... if one certain group of people, even though they’re very good at something, ends up missing a lot of class — and even if they’re the best — we may say, ‘I don’t wanna send you anymore, you’ve already missed 10 days,’ ” Fowler said. “We want to spread the wealth and give everybody an opportunity.”
Read that again. What he has done here is to put the blame on the victim. So, if you are discriminated against because of your race, you should expect an organization's leadership to smear your reputation - claiming that you skip class or have bad grades? What is this - 1960 in Alabama?

I don't know why he said what he said - but by his self-contradicting statements has brought an even darker cloud over the uniformed leadership at Annapolis. Phil puts is well.
“They signed themselves up for something that was not yet approved,” Fowler said. “That was really the misunderstanding. A couple of mids had a great idea — hey, I’m a Yankee fan, I’d love to have gone to the game myself, I’d have marched out there with that darn thing — but they kind of made a decision before they really knew what the chain of command had authorized.”

Still, the Naval Academy’s public affairs office issued an official press release on the day of the game, identifying the six midshipmen slated to present the colors, which included the names of the two replacements, Hameed and Midshipman 2nd Class Hannah Allaire. Academy spokesman Cmdr. Joe Carpenter later told Navy Times that announcement omitted the other two names, for the “eight-person” color guard, because the public affairs office didn't then know who else would be joining it.
It was bad enough with Klunder and Carpenter coudn't tell the same story - now Fowler has created a triangle of quasi-truth. None of their statements though are in full alignment with what really happened.

For review, here is how the system works. There is the Plebe Color Guard, and then for the lack of a better word – the varsity Color Guard. The way who does what is distributed is if it were a regular event or parade, whoever wanted to do it could – usually the lower classmen. However, if it was something special, then the 1st Class Midshipmen got first dibs. They have been there longer, they put in the hours – they get the first choice. A fair, equitable, and self-regulating system that gives everyone their chance when it is there time.

The greatest smoke screen is the 8v6 issue. Again, eight Midshipmen did go to the game - but they went as a six-MIDN color guard with two alternates, luckily - so they could replace the MIDN who forgot his uniform.

Why all the fuzzy logic and the inability to tell a straight story? The same reason three 8-yr old boys in trouble can't. Someone is either ashamed or afraid of the actual story.

The actual story is racial discrimination at Annapolis - and they cannot defend their actions.

Fowler's final comment just makes him seem out of touch.
Fowler told Navy Times on Monday that he considered the matter closed but that it had taught the brigade some important lessons. Not only did midshipmen learn it’s important for them to follow proper protocol, he said, “but if you make a mistake, personally, like a midshipman forgot some uniform items, not only does it affect you, it affects your shipmates. That’s a good life lesson that hopefully the brigade got out of it, and certainly two individuals. That’s unfortunate, but that’s the way it is.”

“Nobody would have read about it or no one would have cared about it if one person didn’t make a mistake,” he said. “And that mistake had impact. Good lesson learned. Good lessons learned for a future sailor or Marine.”
That is not the story. Period. That is not what got coverage from The Washington Post, Navy Times, Diana West, Powerline, to Michelle Malkin, three radio appearances - and interest from interesting people. A 2/C MIDN forgetting his cover and shoes is no more the story than a car is something you sit in to look in the mirror at what is behind you.

From the MIDN I know, the lessons are that they can and will be discriminated against on the basis of race - and they cannot count on the word of their chain of command.

Shame on all of us. This is what the corrupting intellectual cancer of Diversity will do to you and the organization you love.

UPDATE: From CDR K, we have the power word of the day: Quibbling.
quib⋅bling  [kwib-ling]
1. characterized by or consisting of quibbles; carping; niggling: quibbling debates.
2. the act of a person who quibbles.
3. an instance of quibbling: a relationship marked by frequent quibblings.

quib⋅ble  [kwib-uhl] noun, verb, -bled, -bling.
1. an instance of the use of ambiguous, prevaricating, or irrelevant language or arguments to evade a point at issue.
2. the general use of such arguments.
3. petty or carping criticism; a minor objection.
verb (used without object)
4. to equivocate.
5. to carp; cavil.

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