Thursday, March 16, 2017

It Has To Work Both Ways

You’ve all heard about the Marine Corps uproar over nude photos of female personnel.  That’s not the kind of subject I cover and that’s not the point of this post, at least not directly.  CNO Richardson recently issued a message to Navy commanders that the Navy shares the same root problems with regards to its treatment of women.  Here’s some of what he had to say (1).

"But we get reminders of it every day, when we disrespect women by crude jokes, wisecracks, sexual harassment, and in its worst manifestation, sexual assault -- a serious violent crime," he wrote in the message. "Despite a steady effort to get after this, we're not making progress."

He gets it.  Well, part of it.  We’ll get to the part he doesn’t get in just a bit.  He’s describing the tip-of-the-iceberg phenomenon.  The faulty behavior that we see – the photos – is just the tip of the iceberg.  As he notes, there are hundreds of other behaviors, less “serious”, that support and build towards the identified problem which is the photos.  These lesser problems are what grow the larger ones.

Now, here’s where CNO Richardson begins to reveal that he has no idea what the real root cause of the problem is.

“He called on rank-and-file sailors to "become intolerant" and openly denounce sexist and degrading behavior, and do what they could to put a stop to it when they observed it. Commanding officers and other leaders, he wrote, should challenge their command leaders at the small team level to discuss what respect for fellow troops means in every setting, including online.”

Did you pick up on the key phrase in the passage?  Here it is:

“…discuss what respect for fellow troops means in every setting …”

I’ll analyze that in a moment but let’s look a bit deeper.  Here’s additional statements from Richardson that show that he has absolutely no idea what the problem is.  He is totally ignorant and he’s a hypocrite.

"Make it clear that individuals who can't live up to our professional standards in competence and character are not welcome in our Navy," he wrote. "Make it clear that our standards call us to a higher commitment than the law -- we are better than that."

Did you pick up on the key phrase?  Here it is:

“… individuals who can't live up to our professional standards in competence … are not welcome in our Navy.”

Now, let’s pull this all together.

Women are being disparaged on a daily basis, according to Richardson.  No doubt there is an element of oversensitivity (feminization) at play, here, as well.  Good natured ribbing is a normal aspect of human interaction but when directed at a female is used as an example of disrespect.  On the other hand, there is, without doubt, genuine disrespect directed towards women on a daily basis.  I’m not here to debate the frequency.  I’m here to analyze the “why”. 

Why are women being disrespected?  The answer is blindingly obvious to all but Navy leadership and here is the answer:

You disrespect people you have no respect for.

Take a moment and absorb the utter simplicity and truth in that.  In fact, say it again.  You disrespect people you have no respect for.

Why don’t service personnel - Marine, Navy, or whoever - respect women?  Again, the answer is blindingly obvious.  It’s because they aren’t held to the same standard of performance.  No one respects another who is accorded preferential treatment.  No one respects another who is given benefits without earning them.  I’m not even going to bother to recite the entire litany of reduced standards that women are accorded but the men see it on a daily basis.  Whether it’s reduced physical training standards, preferential selection for assignments or promotions, retries at training that are not generally accorded men (Kara Hultgreen, for example, or ranger training), unofficial quotas that allow women preferential assignments, benefits that men can’t enjoy (pregnancy reduced duties and leave), or any of the hundreds of other daily biases that favor women, the net result of all that preferential treatment is what grows the resentment that leads to the disrespect the men display towards the women.

Every sensitivity training session just breeds more resentment.  Every time a male soldier is forced to carry a female’s pack it just breeds more resentment.  When a general stares at the instructors and announces that a woman WILL pass Ranger school, it just breeds resentment.  When the Marines conduct experiments proving that women, either as a group or in mixed groups, cannot perform as well as men and the results of the experiment are ignored, it just breeds resentment.  Every time a male Marine is doing pull ups while watching a female simply hang from the bar, it breeds resentment.  And the list goes on.

Now, let’s reexamine CNO Richardson’s comments.

“…discuss what respect for fellow troops means in every setting …”

He said, “respect for fellow troops IN EVERY SETTING”.  Those settings have to include training, physical performance testing, etc. or it’s just hypocritical and the men will see right through it.  You can’t demand respect for women unless you treat them exactly the same and hold them to the exact same standards.

“… individuals who can't live up to our professional standards in competence … are not welcome in our Navy.”

He said, “individuals who can't live up to our professional standards … are not welcome in our Navy”, and yet the women, who demonstrably cannot meet the same standards as men are not only still welcome in “our Navy” but are accorded preferential treatment!  That’s the height of hypocrisy.  No wonder the men have no respect for women.

It has to work both ways.  You can’t force respect for a group that is not earning respect.  If you want respect, earn it.  You also have to respect the men who have had to earn their way and meet higher standards.  You respect them by not disrespecting them by according women special privileges and benefits that the men don't get.  It has to work both ways.

Update:  Reader "DJF" made an absolutely astute observation that leads me to this addition. This is yet another example of the differing standards for men and women.  The military is fired up about the lack of respect and judgement shown by the men who post and view nude photos of women and will do everything they can to prosecute/persecute the guilty but no Marine/Navy leader has mentioned the incredible lack of judgement and self-respect demonstrated by the women involved.  If the women don't want nude photos spread around, they shouldn't take, or have taken, nude photos.  Who is holding the women to account for their part in this?  If the women want respect they have to earn it.  This does not earn it.

CNO Richardson is demonstrating utter ignorance on the subject and is merely parroting the political correctness line of propaganda.  He is demonstrating his complete absence of intelligence, integrity, and moral courage.

CNO Richardson, you are not living up to our professional standards and you are not welcome in our Navy.


(1)“ website, “Navy's Top Officer to Commanders: 'We Have a Problem'”, Hope Hodge Seck, 14-Mar-2017,


  1. This just showed that diversity and inclusion have no function in a highly charged atmosphere of being a warrior. To bad the leadership wasnt made up of warriors.

    I think this shows the root of the real issue. A lack of leadership at the top and the ability to see things clearly is definitely lacking

    I'm not detracting from the issue but this just illustrates the fact that real leadership is lacking and this is the reason for the lack of weapons, maintenance is just a symptom of an issue that pervades the leadership and is far more dug in Than the Navy admits. Rot had definitely settled in

    1. You make the excellent point that a failure of leadership in one area unerringly denotes a failure of leadership in all areas. Think about it ... What's the odds that a leader will demonstrate incompetence, poor judgement, and lack of integrity in one area but not all areas?

      Excellent comment.

  2. Is the military going to tell the women to stop getting naked in front of cameras? And especially stop handing them out to boyfriends and others. And certainly don't put them on the internet since once they are there they are everywhere forever.

    You won't have your nude picture being passed around if you don't take any nude picture of yourself.

    If males will be charged for having nude pictures of women will women be charged for having them taken and giving them out?

    1. What an astute comment. This is yet another example of the differing standards for men and women. The military is fired up about the lack of respect and judgement shown by the men but no Marine/Navy leader has mentioned the incredible lack of judgement and self-respect demonstrated by the women involved.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. And you were doing so well, right until the word "drivel", followed by the subsequent personal attacks. If not for those, I would have gladly allowed your post to stand. I NEVER delete a post for disagreeing with me. I do delete posts for being disrespectful, as your post was. You don't seem to grasp that.

      Why don't you try reposting without the personal attacks? If you do, be sure to include the answer to your own question, which you failed to provide. I'm genuinely curious what it is!

      All you have to do is be respectful, factual, and logical and your posts will stand. Seems like a simple requirement.

  4. Glad I served in the all-male destroyer navy, from what I saw with females on shore duty, but I did run across the exceptional Michelle Howard when we were both LTs. She was outstanding, completely focused then, not surprised she made it to the top.

    Enforcement of a single standard is a key, but only exceptional women will not manipulate and evade. Biology trumps policy.

  5. I have three female relatives who all served honorably. Two are still reserves. If told tomorrow they had to leave their families and risk their lives for their country, they would.

    If the year my aunt spent as a nurse in a field hospital in Vietnam doesn't earn your respect, that's not her problem.

    1. You understand that there is a world of difference between serving honorably and serving equally and capably, right? A person can serve honorably without being equal and fully capable.

      Also, with respect to your example of a nurse in Vietnam, we're talking about combat in today's cultural climate, not a job specifically tailored for a woman decades ago.

  6. This isn't a new problem. 1995 - flight line at NAS XYZ, and as squadron MO I see a male AD2 carrying two tool boxes to an aircraft while the female AD3 carries none. When asked the female said she couldn't carry the PPD2, it was too heavy. So off the flight line she goes and quickly becomes the geedunk PO. Until she complains to the CO, who backs me, then to the Wing Commodore who has a closed door with the CO, who then calls me and tells me she is back on the line. So I moved her to nightcheck which really screwed with her robust social schedule (no pun intended). We will always have two levels of "qualified".

    1. You're right, it isn't anything new. A police officer told me that when women first joined the force, they were constantly getting beat up trying to break up the bar fights that were a not uncommon occurrence. Policy quickly evolved that, however many male officers were deemed necessary to dispatch to a bar fight, one extra was sent to extricate and protect the female officers. Thus, the presence of the female officers resulted in an overall decrease in the force's effectiveness since now an extra officer was babysitting females rather than being out on the street doing their job.

      Women are well suited for many jobs in the world but physical activities, like combat, are not among them.

  7. Sorry, unrelated topic, seems interesting

  8. Many of the same reflexes at work here as during the Truman-ordered integration of black and white troops.

    For some who were in the services then, the segregation Truman pushed aside never made sense to begin with.

    For others, even by 2017, they are still weepy-eyed emotional at the sight of a black admiral, general or President.

    Worst case scenario - and the least honorable - is for the 'weepers' to just fade away.

    Once you volunteer to serve this democracy as a warrior, you better understand what this society is all about.

    Honorable WW-1 Warrior COLONEL Harry S. Truman understood this well before many. Therefore no segregation by whatever tortured reasoning.

    1. Black-white integration was emotional but there were no underlying, fundamental racial differences. Therefore, the only objections were cultural and societal.

      Female integration into combat has an underlying, fundamental, physiological, and anatomical flaw. No amount of hand waving or sociological wishing can change that.

      You also fail to grasp the point of the post which is that one "class" cannot help but resent another "class" when the other class is accorded preferential treatment. The post was not actually about whether or not women should be allowed in combat units or the military, in general.

    2. "Once you volunteer to serve this democracy as a warrior, you better understand what this society is all about."

      You are revealing a fundamental lack of understanding of the purpose of the military. The military does not exist to conduct sociology experiments. It does not exist to reflect society. It exists to safeguard the existence of the country. By its very nature, the military does NOT reflect society's values and freedoms. For example, individual soldiers give up a degree of freedom by subordinating themselves to a chain of command. Similarly, killing and violence, which are at odds with society, are the methodology of the military. In short, nothing about the military should necessarily reflect society. Anything that interferes with the efficient functioning of the military risks national annihilation.

      You seem to lack this most fundamental understanding of what a military is, how it functions, and why it exists. You also seem to lack an understanding of the fundamental, inherent inadequacy of females in combat.

  9. You appear to fail to grasp the history up to Truman's policies during which the majority of folks incl. 'scientists' were certain that there were indeed substantial differences between black and white.

    And while your argument on the military in the service of and reflecting a diversity-based democracy parallels the tragic and unproductive 'separate-but-equal' reasoning of constitutionally ill-repute, your perspective may fail to grasp the basic hard-edged reality that like that bigoted Supreme Court decision, your views on the discrete-&-distinctly-separate nature of the military in this Democracy has long ago been overturned as well.

    While some in your camp favor perpetuating their endless Social Engineering reflexes structuring women's and men's lives along different lines of presumed 'competencies' and thus opportunities, that self-reducing outlook has also been proven to be not even a self-serving exercise.

    Repeating Political Correctness-driven (arbitrary) segregation of folks holds not much promise for any fighting force, nor does it for industry, government, economy, society. Factually, all this yesteryear-view has long been left behind... and for good.

    'Ditto' for the ancient moldering chest-nut reflex-of-last-resort "in a highly charged atmosphere of being a warrior. Too bad the leadership wasn't made up of warriors." Truman heard this too...

    If that is to reflect someone's 'warrior's creed', good that many of those most online-vocal are about as far away from ever seeing the 'front-lines' as Aunt Millies Knitting Bee...

  10. Of course, before you now it, we'll hear about joint-angles, bone torque-curves, stress-fracture-stats etc. etc. yada yada... ahh, yes (!) pregnancy versus 'readiness', and on the narrative moves so breezily.

    One single generation from now all this talk will be the subject of all women's Officers' Club stand-up routines... for about 3-minutes of laughs. before more substantive humor will have to be brought on to hold the audience' attention.

    1. Do you have a shred of data to support your positions? Without it, you have no credibility. At the moment, you're simply hand-waving actual physiological and anatomical differences. Put up or shut up!

    2. "before you now it, we'll hear about joint-angles, bone torque-curves, stress-fracture-stats etc."

      Those are called facts and data. Only an idiot ignores facts and data. You seem to be ignoring the facts and data ... ?

    3. Trudy I was in during the introduction of women to combat arms. The only way they could do the job was to drop the requirements. You had mens groups and womens groups and the womens requirements were far less than the mens requirements.

      You misunderstand the issue. Combat is tough and if you've never been there at this point I would say you sound ignorant.

      If the women could meet the mens physical requirements that were in place in the 1980's 95% of the women would wash out of basic or their secondary schools. Thats a fact. I was there and watched them drop the requirements so that women could do the jobs.


  11. Anecdotes and first-gen stats are at best a first orientation. I am watching for more and more to
    - a. live up to more and more of the requirements, and
    - b. zero-in on less 'mule-load' requirements since male anatomy is eventually plenty limited as well, and continue to develop 'lighter' load-options/load-assist options.

    We would have never had lots of common-place technology had we given up early and often.

    In our family a shift in diet based on overall affluence and healthier living alone generated 4"+ growth across just one follow-on generation. Evolution can move suddenly.

    I am quite relaxed that 'the issue' is being/can be plausibly addressed. After all, we are in the early stages of this. I-told-you-so pessimisms don't help in civilian nor in military life. You see to getting 'it' done.

    Finally, where is the Kossak-Belt standard for those me and women carrying most personal built-in 'armor' ?

  12. And of course, none of this 'bench-pressing' fixation remotely begins to explain, never mind excuse the idea about 'respect' for a fellow soldier, as claimed here. Ethically this would be a fairly 'dark' angle...

    Plenty of scenarios out there where men have curled up in the fetal position well before women began to consider that option.

    This is why insisting on that mentality has cost so much already in legal dramatics to the offenders out there in civilian courts, or just internal corporate career-bending reviews, actual demotions and flat-out dismissals.

    Ye Olde Timey mindset has produced plenty of broken marriages, arbitrarily diminished lives for 'conventional role-conforming' men and women, sub-standard organizational performance etc. etc.

    The challenge is how to harness each other's 'best', not to find reasons to undermine the shared project.
    And it is and forever will be a shared project. Good luck finding the genie and then that bottle...or with the project gluing up those glass-chards.

  13. The first shots in WW2 sank that type of thinking. They had to then promote warriors and train for war.

    Snap judgements based on innuendo and pseudoscience result in dead bodies

    You obviously have never been in or participated in actual war making. Your one of the first nummies killed in the firefight. I'm not being mean but I'll prepared people get killed. Combat hasn't been dumbed down in fact the dumb and weak get weeded out fast. War is a hard hitting brutal physical exercise. Try and reason with reality

    No one is against women getting into combat. We're only against making the requirements less physical so that women get in. If they meet the standards than they should be able to get in but as it is now the physical requirements have been reduced to allow women to get in. This is while physical requirements have increased in actual combat

    Loads for combat troops are between 40-80 lbs. While in combat. That's a fact. You can't get around that Fact

    1. "civilian courts, or just internal corporate career-bending"

      We're not talking about civilian jobs, we're talking about life and death combat. We're also not talking about desk jobs, we're talking about a combat which is, ultimately, a very physical act.

      Your continued refusal to recognize reality and, instead, formulate your position based purely on feelings is just reinforcing the stereotypes about women.

      I note that you've also totally ignored the point of the post which is that any class of people resent any other class that receives unfair, undeserved, and unequal benefits as women currently do in the military. Until you can logically and factually address these issues, your credibility is non-existent.

    2. "The first shots in WW2 sank that type of thinking. They had to then promote warriors and train for war."

      Excellent reminder. Combat will quickly eliminate all our social engineering experiments!

  14. Both my parents were P.O.W.s.
    That is not mentioning injuries and deaths in our clan.
    There is little you could teach this family across our generations just in the 20th century with your views...

    Just push those 'chards' a little bit deeper into that living flesh, this fight of yours has already been sidelined.

    But we read
    " CNO Richardson is demonstrating utter ignorance on the subject and is merely parroting the political correctness line of propaganda. He is demonstrating his complete absence of intelligence, integrity, and moral courage.

    CNO Richardson, you are not living up to our professional standards and you are not welcome in our Navy...."

    In my circles, this language does not suggest strength -of-position. The genie is gone.
    And the CNO is where he is because he understands this society and the role of this Navy IN it.

    1. Trudy, I've deleted your latest comment because it fails to rise to the level of data and logic that I require of myself and commenters. I've repeatedly asked you to address the actual medical and combat training data and you've declined. Until you do, I won't allow illogical comments that are nothing more than vague generalities that contradict or ignore actual data. If you wish to logically address the data feel free to comment. Otherwise, don't waste your time commenting.

  15. The horrors of war are far more unimaginable if you've not been there your imagination will not suffice. Social experiments are not for the military they are for college or somewhere else.

    In the end it's lives were talking about.

    1. Quite right. The military's ultimate, end purpose is to ensure the continued existence of the nation - to fight existential threats. The existence of the nation is not something to wager on social experiments.

      Women can serve a valuable purpose in the military but it's not in combat.


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