Thursday, July 02, 2009

Diversity Thursday II: Electric Boogaloo

Over at USNIBlog, I have posted the "revised and extended" remarks by Professor Bruce Fleming from the USNA about what I described as "Gundecking diversity at Annapolis" back on the 15th.

I would like you to head on over to USNI blog and read his post and then come back.

One of my USNA spies has sent me an email that is making the rounds of the Alumni. I won't publish it in full here, but under fair use I want to pull out some of the excuses and bully-boy comments out of it.

In summary, many want everyone to shut up and salute. Sorry, in the tradition of Admiral Sims and Vice Admiral Tom Connolly, and a Milblogger in a Representative Republic - I don't roll that way.

Anyway, here is the exerts from a Class of '55 Alumni group email for your review.
No admissions process is perfect, but the Congress, the USNA Board of Visitors and the military leadership of the country, all of whom have a great stake in our security, find the USNA admissions process to be bringing in the right young men and women to fill the needs of the naval service.

A US Senator recently described the USNA process as “.. an amazing program. …I think other colleges and universities could learn from (it)”. Also, the Dean of Admissions was recently invited to brief a House Committee on how the USNA process could serve as a model for other academies. In other words, those who are familiar with the program believe that within the boundaries of Administration diversity policies USNA is doing a great job in the admissions area.
... and there are those who do not who equally have a "...great stake in our security." Referencing organizations and individuals who agree with their own opinions is not a good way to defend your position.
USNA admissions personnel bend over backward to find the best qualified candidates, and” best qualified” means those who are seen to have the highest potential for future command of our forces in combat even though the candidate may not have the highest SAT scores or GPAs.
This does not address the question if using the race of a person is a valid way to choose people in a zero-sum selection process in a nation where we are not to discriminate on the basis of "Race, Creed, Color, or national origin." That quote is a dodge.
My second thought concerns the commentary by the so- called “concerned alumni”. Predictably, they have taken the Fleming article as the truth and nothing but the truth and have used it to launch yet another series of vicious personal attacks on the Navy leadership. Talk about shooting the messenger. This crowd ignores government policies on race and diversity, which set the boundaries of the discussion by officers on active duty. The crowd also seems neither to understand nor care about how things work in the world of decision making in the Pentagon. By painting a picture of our leaders as a bunch of incompetents ( a picture that is grossly inaccurate),all their purple prose does is furnish ammo to those who would rather spend our tax dollars on bailouts and cap and trade than on the needs of the Navy.

Such is the environment in which the leaders of the Navy struggle 24/7. These men are doing the best they can in a very, very difficult time of major political and social turmoil.
There is the "shut up" quote. Thank you for again confirming one of the major critiques of the program - that good people in tough positions are willing to throw equality under the bus to avoid hard questions from Congress and threats to military programs if they do not support discriminatory programs based on debunked theories revolving around a early 1970s concept of race. Justify it if you want - but that is what is being done. That does not make it right - or excuse such activity from criticism...and where is "Ref. A" that tells me what I can and cannot say about Diversity programs?
Does any rational alumnus really believe that the Supe (who recently overhauled the mission of the Academy to emphasize its primary role of providing the future leaders of the Navy and Marine Corps) should not consider the objective of diversity to be within the USNA mission?
Yes there are. Many, shocking I know, believe that it is the wrong thing to discriminate on the basis of Race, Creed, Color, or National Origin. When they see it, they are to be silent? Is that what a program and policy based on sound logic, facts, and results stands on? If it is so correct, then why can't it stand up to critique and its supporters strive to silence all dissent?
Give the man a break. He believes that diversity at USNA will enhance that mission by broadening the entrance base. Like it or not, that rationale is historically sound.
If you believe a policy is unsound, you should not be quiet. Silence is approval. .... and once again, do not ask others to prove a negative. You state something is "historically sound" - you have to prove it is. I see no proof of any nation, from Rwanda to Bosnia to Belgium, where success was gained and excellence derived from an emphasis on difference, and relishing the codification of sectarianism based on ones ethnic group.
CJCS and CNO have repeatedly expressed the position that the Navy’s manpower needs cannot be met in our increasingly diverse population if it appears to potential enlistees that only white officers run the Navy. I’ve seen no fact-based contradiction of that position from any corner.
An opinion is not a fact. An opinion is not an order. An opinion, not based on fact - is just that, opinion. Prove otherwise? Is a predominately Black NBA stop non-Black kids from playing basketball? Did Black Union forces in the Civil War not perform because their officers were white? Were the children of Vietnamese refugees not join the military (which they have in droves) not willing to join because no Vietnamese extraction officers were in the leadership ranks? Of course not on all counts. To suggest otherwise is extremely paternalistic - and an insult to all the Sailors I have served with of all types.

There are many more Hispanic enlistees in the Marines as a percentage of the population than in the USN, Army, or USAF. "Conway, Allen, Kramlich, Mattis" sure don't seem very Hispanic to me. Why? Likewise, the Army, especially the support branches, have a much higher percentage of Black enlisted personnel than the general population? Again, "Petraeus, McChrystal, etc." Why?
Government policies are what they are. As General Eisenhower once observed, “When a man puts on the uniform, he has to accept certain restrictions on what he can say and do in public” We don’t have to agree with all the public statements or actions of the leaders of the Navy, and indeed our disagreement is itself an element of diversity, but public ridicule of those leaders renders a great disservice to the Navy. The words of our leaders on diversity may not have been expressed exactly as all would prefer, but to accuse them of pursuing diversity at the expense of the security of our nation is the worst sort of demagoguery.
The author is not the first to use this line of thinking. Using that line, we might as well close all professional publications as everything would be in agreement. Group think is a great way to be defeated.

Again, I will go back to Sims,
"After I had finished my tour as Naval Attache in Paris, 1897 to 1900, they would not let me come home. Anyway they sent me to the Kentucky on the way out [to the Asia Station]. I had never seen one of our battleships before. They were built while I was abroad. I was acquainted with the foreign ones. When I saw that battleship I was absolutely astounded. It is almost incredible that white men who have reached the present stage of civilization could have built a ship like that."
I'll stand with Sims - thank you.
UPDATE: Hey, come on in MSM, the water is fine.

Like Sid said, now even the WaPo is on the story ....
UPDATE II: Electric Boogaloo - Over 10 pages of comments ..... but no link to here or USNIBlog ... the ones that pushed this in the online world they talk about in the article -- but no links.

WaPo should be ashamed of themselves. Maybe we could have a MilBlog Salon at The Irish Times and not invite them?
UPDATE III - Season of the Witch: Over at HumanEvents, Pat picks it up as well.

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