Monday, November 20, 2006

The Unbearable lightness of bigotry - Navy style

Another data point towards a nasty mess that festers under the surface of our Navy: blatant racialist policy. No, I am not talking about the soft-paternalistic racism of the Diversity Ninnies and their '70s-esque thoughts on racial equality, soaked in the acid of self-loathing condensation - no, we are talking about a desire to look so much like the photographs on their glossy propaganda sheets they will short change a smarter the child of a Bosnian war refugee in favor of the son of a Grenadian-American New York investment banker for a scholarship strictly on the basis of the color of his skin. Lex (..if I may paraphrase..) is right, there are people who mean well, but end up making policy that is racist on its face.

Sometimes, they do things that are illegal. One of the foundations of being an officer is to not obey an illegal order. Sometimes that means you don't line all the military age men against the wall and shoot them - sometimes that means you refuse to discriminate against your fellow citizens on the basis of the color of their skin - like MLK asked us and out laws demand.

One would think that we would cherish such officers. Well, LT Jason Hudson has a different story.
On page three was a new nationwide policy that, Hudson believed, broke federal law, including the Civil Rights Act, in no fewer than a half-dozen ways. Not to mention that it placed his recruiters in a very tough spot, making decisions that ran counter to the American system of equal opportunity.

The policy set a limit on the number of minorities admitted into the Navy whose scores on a standardized test classified them as "lower mental groups."
That was not the Navy way, not the Navy that Hudson had served proudly as an officer since 1997.

The lieutenant understood on that day in October 2002 that Directive 1133.8B was trouble. He also knew he would speak out against it, a risky business for a young officer. Orders were to be followed, not questioned, but this order angered him.

His Navy, the Navy he loved, the Navy he wanted to serve for his entire career, was about equal opportunity, not discrimination.

So in fall 2002, Hudson complained.

The recruiting policy he disliked was rescinded after five and a half weeks. After years of wrangling, the Navy has since admitted the rule was "legally indefensible."

But four years after he complained, Hudson said he is still paying the price for speaking out. Next year he may be forced out of the military. Meanwhile, his effort to steer the behemoth bureaucracy of the United States Navy to ask how a discriminatory policy had been adopted has failed.

"I've never gotten an answer," he said.
You know the phrase, "It only takes one FITREP."?
By November 2002, the lieutenant had taken his concern to the head of the Nashville recruiting district, who told him to follow the policy as given. However, a later investigation would reveal that he and other commanders had expressed the same concerns as Hudson about the new rule.

Hudson said the policy "was just so blatantly wrong. I couldn't do it."
On Nov. 18, 2002, the lieutenant filed a formal complaint with a Navy equal opportunity adviser, the equivalent of a civilian-sector Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigator.

Three days later, on Nov. 21, Hudson was relieved as head of enlisted recruiting in the Nashville district.
On Feb. 12, 2003, the same day Hudson was instructed to meet with inspectors general outside Memphis, he was given a negative job evaluation, which the Navy calls an "adverse fitness report."
An IG later found that the complaint was unfounded. All that for nothing you say? Well, why was it unfounded? Wait for it. Wait.
In April 2005, a Pentagon report acknowledged that discrimination occurred but said it was justified: "Lt. Hudson does not seem to understand or recognize the difference between 'lawful' and 'unlawful' discrimination." It said discrimination was lawful if it was "institutional discrimination," in other words, if the policy were applied to all minority recruits.

But one month later, the Naval IG's office concluded the directive was "not legally defensible," and said the Navy should have investigated whether the new rule discriminated against minorities. But the IG said it would not order a new investigation.
Hear that? The Navy IG admits that the Navy practices "institutional discrimination." The Diversity Bully that keeps emailing me can now officially stow it. The Navy has managed even to confuse itself - meanwhile this officer's career is over. Done.

Yep, but the good LT reminds me of one of my favorite Fleet LT (albeit without the salty language perhaps), he isn't taking this lying down.
As superiors took him to task for "going outside the chain of command," Hudson called a Vanderbilt classmate, Ross Booher, a former Navy attorney now with Bass Berry and Sims law firm in Nashville. He took the case without charge.

"To me it was evident that the system had broken down. Here was a man who recognized the Navy, an organization he greatly admired, had adopted a flawed policy. He wanted the organization to change, even at the peril of his own welfare," Booher said.
He even has some Congressional top cover.
Officially, Hudson's case is closed, but he has appealed to the Defense Department, arguing that the policy's discriminatory nature should still be investigated and that his adverse fitness report should be scrapped. The appeal is under review.

"It looks as if the Pentagon is stonewalling us," said U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Nashville, a member of the House Armed Services Committee who has argued on Hudson's behalf.

He commended the young officer for "having the guts to spot a problem and get it changed."

The congressman said he hopes the lieutenant's case points out the need to protect military whistle-blowers. "We need an environment in our military in which junior officers and enlisted men can spot problems and report them to their superiors without fear," he said.
There is a Democrat that would get my vote.

There is some good that can come out of this - perhaps the Navy will have to come to terms with its hard and soft racism. "Goals," calls from the Commodore because you have too many minority Sailors going to NJP (nice implication and threat). Some communities that turn a blind eye to a AD 2-star that contacts members of a selection board to push a list of officers - all of his ethnic group. More than once.

Also, can we start by getting rid of that paternalistic, racist calendar first?

LT Hudson. Bravo Zulu. Though you may only get a Fleet Unit Commendation with decorative cluster out of this - many in the Fleet appreciate the stand you took - and by your example force us to ask, if we were in your shoes would we do the same. The message from Big Navy is clear - if you even think about not supporting our racist policy we will crush you like a bug.

(One disclaimer. There may be more to this story than meets the eye, but it has not surfaced. Until something else comes up, LT Hudson is getting straight 5.0s from me.)

Hat tip Chap via MilBlogs.

Hey while I am at it, let me tilt against one of my favorite windmills - retired flag officers. Who was responsible for the David Duke like "we don't want dumb negroes" 1138B?
Then came the directive from Rear Adm. George Voelker, at the time head of the Navy's recruiting efforts. Now retired and working for a defense contractor in California,
Of course he is working for a defense contractor. Oh, RADM Voelker isn't getting off that easy. Check out note 20 on page 24 of this bit of approved USAF racist apogetics for a Balkanized society.
The Navy Recruiting Command is collaborating with corporate sponsorships such as the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, the Mexican American Engineers and Scientists and attending various conventions similar to the AF such as ones sponsored by National Council of La Raza and the League of United Latin American Citizens,
That is from,
Voelker, RADM George. Briefing: Navy Recruiting DoD Forum, National Image Conference, 28 May 2002.
Yes friends. La Raza - which means "The Race." It does not involve running. Is an organization that is called "The Race" racist? Sounds like it. Their fellow travelers seem to have problems "Borat like" with The Jooossss too. Mmmmm. We are playing with them? In this day and age - ignorance is no excuse. That goes for you too Mr. Rove.

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