Once again, “We interrupt our regularly scheduled program…”1
This just in: In a stunning blow against international terrorism, US Army Cadet Command has recently unleashed its latest martial innovation, the comedy bomb. It is reported that Islamic terrorists from Thailand to Central Africa were incapacitated for hours and a few have even laughed themselves to death. The bomb was delivered via the Internet after a rapid development initiative at Headquarters, Cadet Command, Fort Knox, KY. Cadet Command is treating the name of the developer of the comedy bomb as top secret, but has released several photos of the bomb…”
Al Qaeda, when contacted, said, in between guffaws, “No comment.”
ISIS, however, was more forthcoming, with their spokesman asking, “What are those bints2 doing without burkas.” When that mistaken impression was corrected, Sheik Kareem Adbul Mohammad, ISIS Minister for Islamic Culture, said, shortly before collapsing with laughter, “Oh, c’mon; you’re shitting me. So what’s next, half uniformed slut walks with males in makeup, miniskirts, heels, and knit stockings, over Army Combat Uniforms cut into halter tops, all surmounted by patrol caps with flowers sewn on? Now admit it; you’re just shitting me.”
But you can’t make this shit up, you just can’t. You see, fiction has to make sense. This next comment, passed to me, was not fiction, but came from a friend of mine, a retired British Army WO2:
“…a no doubt well-intentioned, but naïve, foolish, and pointless gesture which can only have a negative impact on morale, reputation, and discipline.”
He had some other, more pungent, words, but I’ll spare you.
I contacted the Public Affairs Office at Cadet Command shortly after being apprised of this.3 Along with that conversation – which was, by the way, very cordial and polite, on both sides – I sent the following email to the Professor of Military Science (in ROTC terms that’s the head of a given school’s ROTC program), at Temple U, the following missive:
I am Thomas P. Kratman, LTC, Ret. My branch was infantry. I hold a JD from W&L. I am a former IG. I am an (occasional) bestselling author (per Wall Street Journal; I am told I am blacklisted by NYT).
I also write a weekly column (the most read weekly column) for an online magazine with a lot of readers. So before I unfairly screw anyone’s figurative lights out, in a very public way, would you care to make a statement and answer a few questions? Please, in the answering, if you choose to answer, do not insult my intelligence or experience by claiming that AR 670-1 authorizes red high heels and ACUs. It does not. Please don’t waste my time with claiming that the high heels event was for morale building. That kind of nonsense will just piss me off and do terrible things to the objectivity to which I, of course, aspire.
I have been in contact with PAO, Cadet Command. You may wish to coordinate your answers, if you choose to answer, with them.
1. Were you ordered by higher to do this/have your cadets do this? Yes, “I wish” or “I would like” still carries the weight of “I order.”
2. If you were acting under orders, from whom did the order originate, at what level, again with the understanding that “I wish” equals “I order.”
3. Do you know whence it originated, at brigade or at Cadet Command?
4. What were the precise words given to your cadets to set this in motion.
5. Were cadets required to buy the shoes? And, again, I wish = I order.
6. Which ROTC Brigade does Temple fall under?
7. Did any cadets object vocally or in writing?
8. Did any cadets threaten to go their legislative representation or the IG over this?
9. Are you familiar with 10 USC 1034?
10. Did you, personally, really think this was a good idea? Really?
I won’t ask if you can give me the contact information for each of the cadets who took part. I will try to find it on my own if the questions above are unanswered or if the answers smell. If I have to drive to Temple and wait for someone in uniform to pass by so I can ask them, so be it; the drive is tax deductible for me.
A slightly different version was sent to the PMS of Arizona State. N___ had the good grace to answer that he would not answer. B____, the PMS for ASU simply didn’t respond. I also sent the message to the PAO of Cadet Command, inviting that office to answer. This offer was declined in favor of some fairly uninformative boilerplate I’d been given earlier.
Since nobody concerned on the Army’s side would answer, I trust they and you will understand when I try to reason my way to the answers for such of these as I am able. To take the last first, I am pretty sure that, by this point in time, N____ and Cadet Command have figured out that, why no, this idea was down there with getting involved in a land war in Asia for sheer box-o-rocks stupidity.
Item 8 and 9 I tossed in to protect the cadets, since B____, the PMS at ASU, had the poor grace and judgment to ask for the names of informants:
“I saw a comment posted by someone who made a false statement regarding Arizona State University Army ROTC. I am the Professor of Military Science for that program. We are having a “Walk a mile in her shoe” event tomorrow in support of the Chief of Staff of the Army guidance to support efforts to stand against sexual violence. This event is not mandatory and we are not wearing our uniforms. There is no retribution for someone choosing not to participate.
I would like to know the name of the individual that posted that information. They truly are misinformed and are clearly not representing our program or the Army in the way that a future officer should.”4
I mentioned that Section 1034 of Title 10, United States Code, because that is the section that offers a truly painful fine and not inconsiderable jail time for interfering with or retaliating against someone’s contacting the IG or their legislative representative. I trust B____ took the hint, even if she wouldn’t answer.
The same source that provided the question from B____ also provided a couple of quotes from unnamed cadets. Since they are unnamed, one may be skeptical, and yet, to me, the quotes have the ring of truth about them:
“Regarding the ASU army ROTC incident. Our Commander is threatening to kick us out of program and take away our scholarships if we get caught, liking, sharing, commenting or sharing with you guys.”5
“Regarding walk a mile in her shoes: I go to another school that has an ROTC program, we are in the same BDE as ASU and we were mandated to be at the event as well that was held at our school. Our cadre did not impose any threats though. But I can say that the event was made mandatory from higher than the school leadership. Any threats came from the school level.”6
That’s pretty much how the Army works. Without experience of it, looking from the outside, inward, I am sure it seems like a rigid dictatorship, where everything imaginable is covered by a set of regulations that may well exceed the tax code for sheer volume and complexity.
Forget it; it isn’t like that. It’s as much anarchy as order, or more of the former than the latter. Half or more of everything is done informally, with an informal understanding that, “Do this or I’ll fuck your lights out on some pretext or other.” So I don’t feel like I’m going very far out on a limb in suspecting that the schools have made threats, open or tacit, to the cadets, but did so under threatening prodding from higher.
Again, too, remember that, as per my missive to Lieutenant Colonel N____, “I wish,” “I would like,” “I suggest that you…,” and “you should” have all the weight of “I order.” The Army is going to try to hide behind that as if there were a distinction. There is not, and they should not be permitted to hide. Short version: “Call ‘bullshit’ when you see bullshit.”
Going back to that “higher,” which higher? Two battalions, in different brigades,7 come up with very similar programs? The odds of this happening independently are poor. That suggests to me very strongly that the idiotic idea didn’t originate with the battalions or the brigades, but either originated from or was passed through the next higher common headquarters, Cadet Command, itself. Passed through? Yes, this brain dead notion didn’t necessarily originate with Cadet Command. There’s at least one reference to it happening in Germany, with the Regular Army, last year.8
But, still, it passed through Cadet Command. Thus, it passed through the command headed by a female major general, one Peggy Combs.
Is Combs, therefore, responsible? Clearly, she has command responsibility for it, so she is responsible as a commander. But is she still responsible, not in the sense of command responsibility but in the sense of moral and intellectual responsibility. That’s a much harder question. Not being a mind reader, I asked about her from some contacts I have (who, by the way, Army, shall remain nameless). This is what I got from one of them:
“BG Combs9 apparently made this her initiative since she’s now in charge of Cadet Command. When she was here at Fort Leonard Wood recently as the Chemical Commandant she was the senior rater for the Basic Training battalion commanders (something that has since then been rectified) and she made it a policy during her tenure that Drill Sergeants were not to yell at privates. She has been actively trying to destroy the ‘Warrior Ethos’ throughout her career.”
Adding in that she hasn’t, so to speak, “manned up” and taken responsibility lends more credibility to the claim, supporting what my informant, above, said of her. That’s fairly damning but, even so, the most I can claim is that she definitely has command responsibility for this nonsense and only may have moral and intellectual responsibility, as well. I think the first, alone, is sufficient for her to be shown the door, whether or not she’s been actively trying to destroy the Army’s warrior ethos.
So what this whole “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” nonsense about? I can’t imagine that anyone not a total frigging moron can believe it is remotely effective in combating any real distress inflicted on women, anywhere, at any time. Donning a purely optional item of female footwear and walking in it prevents rape? Puh-fucking-leeze!
But it is about rape, I suspect.
One of the chief aspects of feminist orthodoxy, analogous to a devout Moslem’s attitude toward the Quran or a fundamentalist Christian’s approach to Genesis, is that rape is not a sexual crime so much as a crime of violence, and exercise of power, domination, and humiliation, by those evilwickedbadnaughtybadbadbaddoubleplusungoodcrimethinking straight men.10 That silly notion has been debunked by such luminaries as Steven Pinker, in The Blank Slate. Dr. Trayce Hansen, too, has shown how nonsensical it is.11 My own, rather simpler, take is, “Imagine a world in which orgasm and reproduction are impossible. How much rape takes place then? Maybe a very little, but little, indeed.”
Still, it is holy writ of feminist orthodoxy. They do think that way. So how is a woman, lacking a penis or testicles, going to get even with those evil males? How is she going to rape them back? Well, she could humiliate them by having them wear woman’s shoes. She can make the humiliation more complete by making them dye or paint the shoes bright red. She can exercise her dominance through wicked and evil orders. She can show her power by showing them they have none.
So, General Combs, how would you like wearing that scarlet “Rapist” sign around your own neck?
1To be sure, I’ll get back to the inherent fraud in the taxation system directly, but this is too timely to pass on without comment.
2 Arabic patronymic for daughter, hence for girls, generally.
3 Among other sources to which my attention was directed, this: http://www.statepress.com/article/2015/04/asu-army-rotc-members-run-in-heels-to-support-sexual-assault-awareness-month
9 Now major general, it seems, perhaps because a single star just wasn’t shiny enough to display her all around goodness.
Tom Kratman is a retired infantry lieutenant colonel, recovering attorney, and science fiction and military fiction writer. His latest novel, The Rods and the Axe, is available from Amazon.com for $9.99 for the Kindle version, or $25 for the hardback. A political refugee and defector from the People’s Republic of Massachusetts, he makes his home in Blacksburg, Virginia. He holds the non-exclusive military and foreign affairs portfolio for EveryJoe. Tom’s books can be ordered through baen.com.
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