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Date: Sat, 28 Jun 1997 10:49:55 -0700
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From: Paul Andrew Mitchell [address in tool bar]

>by Georgie Ann Geyer
>NEWPORT, R.I. -- When the subject of the military's 
>"adultery witch-hunt" surfaces here in the dignified 
>halls of the Naval War College, interestingly enough 
>the ominous word "Soviet" often comes up.
>A young officer studying here first used the 
>word as we discussed the terror in much of the 
>military today over the consuming sexual politics. 
>"We're becoming more Soviet," this colonel said. 
>"People are opting out, and vertical trust is dying 
>because nobody believes he will be defended by 
>his superiors. Our best people are just bypassing 
>the best positions."
>When I discussed this and other subjects with 
>Rear Adm. James R. Stark, the experienced president 
>of the college, he began by saying simply: "It's 
>a purge. If you study the Soviet Union as I did 
>in graduate school, you know that purges, once 
>started, have a life of their own--and they keep 
>rolling until they stop.
>"In the beginning, I was rather sympathetic 
>with Lt. Kelly Flinn, but then I saw that her case 
>had nothing to do with adultery. She preyed on 
>the spouse of an enlisted person, not only lied 
>but conspired to lie. ... This is a fracturing 
>of the trust that you have to have in the service."
>Then he paused and added: "Can you imagine 
>what would have happened if something like this 
>had happened during Vietnam? You can't fight a 
>war like Vietnam with something like this. Everybody 
>I know looks at this and says, 'Isn't this a tragedy? 
>This is not what America is about.'"
>And still another leading officer has picked 
>up on the comparison with today's military witch-
>hunt to the late Soviet Union, with its vicious 
>tactics for breaking down consciences and deconstructing 
>institutions. Gen. Michael Dugan, former Air Force 
>chief of staff, has been quoted as saying that 
>the military "hotlines," which should have been 
>a "temporary, pressure-relieving" mechanism to 
>report real sexual harassment, have instead become 
>a KGB-style "commissar system" for personal vengeance 
>and the destruction of careers.
>These are some of the remarks, often private 
>and sometimes whispered or written on notes, that 
>emerged in the corridors of the college's 1997 
>Current Strategy Forum, where retired officers 
>and serving officers meet once a year. It is clear 
>that people in the services see problems far deeper 
>than sex stemming from the present "witch-hunt."
>One young captain, for instance, quietly handed 
>me some ideas he had patiently written out: "Despite 
>the protests to the contrary, the military's public 
>'people are first' message always seems an afterthought 
>-- this is part of what is eating away at our trust,
>both vertical and lateral. The wholesale replacement 
>of 'intangible' rewards (belief in the system, 
>pride in serving your country) with material incentives,
>when added to this 'afterthought,' strikes directly 
>at the esprit.
>"It's no longer an adventure, but a job --
>that's the increasingly common complaint among 
>the older, more experienced members of the force."
>What is NOT being discussed, either in the 
>military academies or in Washington, for that matter,
>is 1) What are the dynamics and the process behind 
>the destruction of careers in the name of something 
>(adultery, without related real infractions of 
>the military code) that is not even illegal? and 
>2) Why does the Soviet analogy so constantly come 
>First, when we look at the dynamics, we find 
>that the military, by instituting those "hotlines" 
>after the Tailhook scandal, ostensibly to report 
>real infractions or crimes, should have realized 
>that it was obliterating the meticulous historical 
>protections afforded by American law against anonymous 
>Once thousands of calls poured in without 
>any check on them, callers could and did then call 
>a Washington press corps that has long been obsessed 
>with "getting"--read, destroying--almost any 
>kind of authority figure. In the sad case of Gen. 
>Joseph Ralston, whose ambitions to be chairman 
>of the Joint Chiefs of Staff were destroyed by 
>a love affair 13 years ago (which was not even 
>illegal under military rules), avid reporters then 
>went to his divorce proceedings, found the "dirt,
>" and went to the Pentagon with it. Ralston then 
>took his name out of the running.
>Second, many of the tactics being employed 
>are indeed Soviet-style ones: the anonymous threat,
>the public humiliation, the forced public confession,
>the destruction of personality and career through 
>unsubstantiated and unproven accusations, and the 
>assumed "collective guilt" of whole groups like 
>the military.
>Indeed, since the two superpowers began grappling 
>with each other for world dominance in the 1920s 
>and '30s, the tactics of each have infiltrated 
>the other. It is hardly surprising, although Americans 
>seem to need to deny it, that so many self-proclaimed 
>"Marxists" in American intellectual life have brought 
>these tactics with them and that they have passed 
>over into other areas of public life.
>June 13, 1997
>Copyright © 1997

Paul Andrew Mitchell                 : Counselor at Law, federal witness
B.A., Political Science, UCLA;  M.S., Public Administration, U.C. Irvine

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