Saturday, January 14, 2006

LT Black's Courts Martial: naming names

Good news on the USNA front that we covered earlier- there is more news coming out about what is happening to LT Black. Kathleen Parker has a Chicago Tribune article out via The Orlando Sentinel, that gives more details - and a sober review of the POLITICS that brought this to the farce that IMAO it is.
Navy Lt. Bryan Black, a U.S. Naval Academy faculty member, thought he was just shooting the breeze when he told a midshipman that getting on a battleship turned him on.

Such was the sentiment, at least, though the language was saltier than the Chesapeake Bay, where an inspired Black was serving as safety officer on an oceanographic cruise aboard a "yard patrol craft."

Unfortunately for Black, among the midshipmen was at least one sensitive female. He also made some equally spicy comments about his ex-wife, of whom he apparently is no longer fond, that were overheard by, but not spoken in front of, female midshipmen.

Now he faces a special court-martial and three criminal charges.

I can't write what Black specifically said, but suffice it to say I've heard worse walking the half-block from my office to Groucho's Deli without need of smelling salts.

Not so Samantha Foxton(PS-Who if you look at this site, unless there is more than one Samantha Foxton, that she is at least a Junior(2nd Class Midshipman),) apparently, who complained that Black's remarks bothered her. He apologized. At that point, Black thought the matter had been put to rest, as did the first investigating officer, who recommended that Black receive a letter of reprimand and counseling.

That sounds reasonable, but these are not reasonable times. Once Foxton's female superior, Lt. Cmdr. Michelle Whisenhunt, caught wind of Black's rich commentary on the seductive powers of seafaring vessels, the freefall began. Whisenhunt conducted her own investigation, interviewing only women, and now Black is charged with (1) failure to obey a lawful general order or regulation; (2) conduct unbecoming an officer; and (3) indecent language.
There that is a review for those that didn't read the other bit. Now, if you still don't get the political angle, chew on this tidbit of hardtack.
Black's case surfaced last fall at the same time that U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), a member of the Naval Academy's Board of Visitors, was asking academy leaders why sexual harassment persists after years of studies, surveys, investigations and recommendations. (Hint: years of studies, surveys, investigations and recommendations that pose women as victims and men as abusers? Just a thought.)

Under such pressures, the superintendent of the Naval Academy, Vice Adm. Rodney Rempt, has announced a zero-tolerance campaign against sexual harassment. Rempt has urged midshipmen and staff to attend for the third consecutive year a production of "Sex Signals," an adults-only play, ironically billed as realistically graphic, about how mixed signals between men and women can cause misunderstandings.

Let's see: Salty language in real life bad; salty language in play depicting real life good. No wonder sailors sometimes get confused.

Despite ongoing concerns about sexual harassment, complaints are, in fact, down, according to recent surveys, including one published, but not highlighted, by the Department of Defense (Service Academy 2005 Sexual Harassment and Assault Survey).
Quick, hide the good news!!
Moreover, a 2004 report by the Defense Department's inspector general found that fraudulent complaints are considered a problem by 73 percent of academy women and 72 percent of men.

This is not necessarily good news if you're in the business of victim advocacy--and it is a business, perhaps soon to become a career choice if Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) has her way. Slaughter is the sponsor of a 95-page bill that would create a Pentagon Office of Victim Advocacy. We may never win the war on terror, but we'll by golly win the war on hurt feelings.

Slaughter's bill has met with little success thus far, but the Pentagon is working on the idea. Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, reports that the Pentagon contracted with the Wellesley College Centers for Women to study the idea of an OVA and make recommendations. Wellesley has submitted a report for which it was paid $50,000, but the Pentagon has not released it.
Did you click the link? Wonder where the self-creating crisis are coming from? Harvard, Yale, Wellesley. You reap what you sow.
Meanwhile, we'll have to wait until Jan. 30, the court-martial date, to learn what really happened as Black waxed poetic last fall, because Foxton and Whisenhunt have declined to be deposed under oath. Why? Because they "just don't wanna," says attorney Gittins.
This is a great line, one that I wouldn't ever use... (thought Skippy might).
Those who lament that boys will be boys will have to concede that, sometimes, girls will be girls.
Sigh. This reminds me of a big 'ole Joint NATO conference I was at once in a nice, cold Northern European country. An Army LTC was up giving his "heads and beds" brief when someone make the comment about how expensive everything was. The nice LTC stated, "Yes, the beer, food, hotels, and shopping is expensive; but our women are free." Much giggling, especially by the Turkish officers. Then the European LTC noticed an American Army LTC in the corner that happened to be female. he said, "Oh, sorry about that." She said, "I accept." and we went on our business. She didn't get the vapors; she didn't make a scene, the good LTC sure wasn't going to Courts Martial.

Here is the kicker. The USNA is supposed to train Midshipmen to become warriors. Is the USNA training Midshipman Foxton to operate in a Joint, international environment with warfighters - or are they setting her up for professional failure, and national embarrassment because she is more intune with a hyper-sensitive victimhood and not focused on warfighting? That female Army LTC (I have worked with her on a few issues) is a professional's professional with the thick skin needed by anyone male or female to survive a successful career (there is more need of a thick skin for issues beyond sexhar) - Midshipman Foxton I think is being poorly served - as are all the outstanding female Officers and Enlisted that I work with who have more important things to do than play PC games.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a great resource!