« Betrayal/Humiliation, Continued | Main | Health Reform Whoppers »

December 16, 2009

CJ Grisham and Undue Command Influence

Many Milblogs are going silent today in protest of the Army's dealings with Milblogger CJ Grisham.

I've been following C.J.'s story for some time and like many in the Milblogs community, find the Army's actions disturbing.

At the same time, I have to take issue with some things that are being said. Probably the single biggest reason I haven't written about this is my hesitation to undercut C.J.'s supporters in any way. Six years of witnessing flame wars and the toxic fallout that often accompanies online disputes has left me increasingly reluctant to wade in with all eight fingers (can't type with your thumbs!).

But on the other hand I think there are some important aspects of this story that I believe we ought to be discussing as a community:

... milblogs are facing an increasingly hostile environment from within the military. While senior leadership has embraced blogging and social media, many field grade officers and senior NCOs do not embrace the concept. From general apathy in not wanting to deal with the issue to outright hostility to it, many commands are not only failing to support such activities, but are aggressively acting against active duty milbloggers, milspouses, and others. The number of such incidents appears to be growing, with milbloggers receiving reprimands, verbal and written, not only for their activities but those of spouses and supporters.

The catalyst has been the treatment of milblogger C.J. Grisham of A Soldier's Perspective. C.J. has earned accolades and respect, from the White House on down for his honest, and sometimes blunt, discussion of issues -- particularly PTSD. In the last few months, C.J. has seen an issue with a local school taken to his command who failed to back him, and has even seen his effort to deal with PTSD, and lead his men in same by example, used against him as a part of this. Ultimately, C.J. has had to sell his blog to help raise funds for his defense in this matter.

I have a real problem with the bolded portion of David's excerpt. I greatly respect David and the other Milbloggers who have stepped forward to defend C.J. At the same time, I believe there is a critical difference between demanding your employer respect your right to engage in legal activities unrelated to your employment, conducted on your own time and accomplished using privately owned resources, and demanding that your employer support, endorse, or facilitate such activities. The first demand is justified as a defense of individual liberty. It asserts a negative right: the right to be left alone; to be allowed to conduct private activities free from the threat of heavy handed government meddling or retribution.

The second smacks of extortion. It asserts a positive right, saying in effect: it's not enough for the government to leave bloggers alone. An affirmative duty is imposed on the government to endorse and/or facilitate blogging. As a conservative, this is problematic for me. I have no quarrel with Milbloggers attempting to persuade the military that it's in their best interest to do encourage blogging. But I do have a problem with attempts to pressure the military to actively support or endorse blogging. (Note: I've been told my wording gave the impression I was attributing the 'you have to support my blogging' argument to C.J. That wasn't my intent. I did want to address the argument since it is one that has been made repeatedly and one I don't agree with.)

It is for this reason that I cannot join the "going silent" movement. While I believe military personnel have the same Constitutional right to free expression as their civilian counterparts, I can't in good conscience support a demand for greater freedom than is enjoyed by civilian employees.

I can't think of too many civilian employers (actually, I can't think of any) who, as a matter of policy not only support but endorse an employee's right to blog about work issues. In the civilian world employees are fired or reprimanded all the time for work-related blogging. And I can't think of a single civilian employer who not only supports and endorses bloggers who write about work issues, but accepts their "right" to blog during working hours with employer-owned computers or Internet access. There's a huge difference between saying, "I have the right to do as I please on my own time and so long as my actions affect only me", and saying "You have to make it easy for me to conduct non-work related activities during work hours even if those activities affect (or directly reflect upon) my employer. Furthermore, you have to subsidize my non-work related activity with assets you own."

It makes no sense to me to demand that DoD do anything more than agree not to interfere with the activities of military bloggers who blog on their own time, using their own computers, bandwidth, and Internet access, and who don't write about work. I fully understand the utility of having military bloggers blog about their jobs. I just don't agree that this is - or even should be - a "right".

That said, I find the Army's alleged behavior towards C.J. deeply disturbing. It's not necessary to endorse some nebulous "right to milblog" to conclude that there is something very rotten in the state of Denmark.

I don't believe the Army has any legitimate or defensible interest in preventing C.J. from blogging about his PTSD. The Army essentially "rents" C.J. during working hours, but they don't own his brain or his emotions. During the controversy over the Dover photography ban, I was deeply offended by the argument that the American public "owns" service men and women, or that taxpayers have the right to intrude upon private moments simply because a military paycheck is funded by taxpayer dollars. The military no more owns service members than Microsoft owns its employees. During working hours, employers assert limited rights over the actions of employees acting within the course and scope of the employment contract. But those rights terminate once the 5 o'clock whistle blows and we go home to interact with our friends, families, and peers.

The Army's treatment of C.J. represents an unwarranted extension of his employer's authority from reasonable supervision during working hours to intrusion on a private dispute between a parent and the public school system he subsidizes with his tax dollars. This private dispute is in no way related to C.J.'s official duties; thus it is of no concern to the Army. Just as none of us has the right to demand that our employers support non-work related activities, I don't think employers have any right to interfere with non work related activities.

There should be a clear line of demarcation between work and private life.

What the school board has essentially done here is pressure the federal government to punish an employee for activities that have no reasonable relationship to his job, and over which an employer should not be expected (much less allowed) to assert control. C.J. has committed no crime, has violated no laws.

If the facts are as C.J. and other bloggers present them (I say this because I've made no effort to find out the other side of the story), the Army's heavy handed interference in this matter is offensive and intolerable. Military folks voluntarily surrender many freedoms in return for the privilege of defending our way of life, but the right to a private life and private decisions unrelated to their military service is not - and should not - be one of them. I come down on this one the same way I did on the Dover controversy: their willing sacrifice is not a blank check and certainly the government should not be allowed to make demands that exceed the agreed upon terms of service.

In a way, when military men and women take that oath of enlistment or accept a commission, they place a finite amount of "money" in the government bank. By mutual agreement and in return for a paycheck, the military has a right to assert claims against what service members have willingly deposited.

They have no right to spend money that was never placed in the account. And they certainly have no right to spend "money" that belongs to C.J.'s wife. If you want to help C.J. defend himself, David has a link to his legal defense fund.

I just contributed. If you value the sacrifices military people make to guarantee our freedom every, you should, too.

Posted by Cassandra at December 16, 2009 08:59 AM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.villainouscompany.com/mt/mt-tb.cgi/3457

Comments

"many commands are not only failing to support such activities,"

From what I have read, I believe that CJ only expected to be left alone to write on his blog within the parameters of his contract. I believe that David misspoke.

If you take that part of his statement out then you are left with the parts that you agree with.

Grim wrote about this last night and leaned toward sympathy to his command. My civilian take is that this issue involved his wife, kids, and the family coffers and as such should have either been backed by his command, (there is a military term for taking care of the soldiers under your command that I cannot remember now), or left alone to fight the battle himself.

I agree with everything that you wrote. I just think that the first half of your post was due to David's poorly worded comment, I do not,(strictly from reading about CJ), believe he expected anything from his command.

Posted by: Russ at December 16, 2009 12:51 PM

If I gave the impression that I thought CJ was asking his command to support/subsidize his blogging, that was not my intent but I can certainly see how I might have given that impression.

I'll add a note to my post clearing it up. I just thought it was an important point to make b/c this is an issue I feel very strongly about. I did give his legal defense fund a big donation so I hope I didn't give the impression that I don't think he has a valid complaint.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 16, 2009 01:05 PM

FWIW, that was the feeling I got, too, when I first read this post.
I understood the whole *command backing him up* deal to be that he expected his command to inform the civilian entity who complained that that was a private matter and will not be addressed by his command -- and they didn't.

Posted by: DL Sly at December 16, 2009 02:01 PM

It is not my impression (though of course I may be wrong) that CJ was asking other bloggers to go silent to support him, but rather than other bloggers *wanted* to organize a show of solidarity.

Therefore, my decision not to join in had less to do with CJ than with my disagreement with some of the arguments put forth on his behalf.

I thought this was pretty clear when I wrote it, but since it wasn't I posted a clarification. I thought my support for his right to be left alone was obvious from the request that readers donate to his legal defense fund and from my own donation.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 16, 2009 02:29 PM

Your point was valid even if there was "a poorly worded comment".

Your support showed through.

Posted by: Russ at December 16, 2009 02:43 PM

Cass, as a resident of the city in question, I can tell you that the school board's alleged actions in regard to this matter are right in line with their usual M.O. The school board consists of a bunch of entrenched, unchallenged little tyrants who all deserve to be thrown out on their ears. It does not surprise me at all that they would pull a stunt like this.

Posted by: Cousin Dave at December 16, 2009 03:23 PM

I got that impression, Dave. It's just that I don't like to accept anything uncritically unless I've checked it out. If I can't check on the other side of the story I try to caveat whatever I've said with the admission that there might be more to it and I'm accepting one side's version at face value.

I don't think that lessens the strength of the argument but do think it's something readers have a right to know :)

Posted by: Cassandra at December 16, 2009 03:28 PM

I dithered on this too, for many of the reasons already laid out.

I also was reluctant to tie it so closely to CJ, rather than more broadly.

But we did reach a consensus that presenting a unified voice was a better approach than a lot of caveated posts.

Which, of course, means I will put up my oh-so-subtle and brilliantly nuanced post up tomorrow...

Because we do need to give credit where it's due, but make the point about weak leadership, too.

And CJs situation is too complicated for that to my thinking.

Posted by: John of Argghhh! at December 16, 2009 03:48 PM

I understand :)

I just wasn't privy to that discussion so I did what I thought best.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 16, 2009 03:53 PM

Actually, I never expected you to jump on this bandwagon, for all the reasons you so cogently laid out!

You eschew the groupthink.

Posted by: John of Argghhh! at December 16, 2009 03:59 PM

The part of CJ's situation that bothered me the most is when he started getting grief about what his WIFE posted when he turned the blog over to her. Now maybe in my mother's day, when an officer's wife was expected to be an extension of her husband (the whole white glove party nonsense), holding the officer accountable for his wife's actions might have been expected. But today? I could even see an EEO complaint being filed against the officer that dared call CJ to the carpet about what his wife was doing.

Mind you, I can understand if there was a security clearance involved, or if his wife was violating OPSEC (e.g. "My husband is in the town of Falafelville Iraq with the 999th Typewriter Battalion conducting door to door searches for White Out.") But that's not the case. The MOMENT his career was threatened because of something his WIFE posted, he should have filed a formal complaint up the chain of command.

I was mostly curious to see your thoughts on that matter Cass. If the Unit came home and said his rating officer didn't like something you posted, what would your/his response be?

Posted by: MikeD at December 16, 2009 04:23 PM

Actually, I never expected you to jump on this bandwagon...

Me neither. When I was considering whether or not to do it, I was thinking to myself, "If I do join up, I'll have to explain myself to Cassandra..."

Posted by: Grim at December 16, 2009 05:53 PM

Actually, I never expected you to jump on this bandwagon...Me neither.

It is vaguely comforting to me to find that apparently I'm not as predictable as you gentlemen think :p

If the Unit came home and said his rating officer didn't like something you posted, what would your/his response be?

I think it would depend on what I posted.

And that's as it should be. If I passed on information I wasn't supposed to divulge (and any senior officer's wife invariably ends up knowing things that aren't for public consumption even if her husband doesn't tell her) then he'd concur with the Marine Corps and I'd have some 'splainin' to do.

To me, this is just as much a betrayal of trust as the wife who writes gossipy essays about her husband's sexual performance. Trust is trust.

If I merely expressed an opinion on an issue or news story in the public domain, I expect he'd stand up for me. But then this has already happened - over 25 years ago.

I was a guest at what was presented as a social gathering during which for some reason the CO decided to talk shop.

One of the Lieutenants said something I considered monumentally stupid, and it was obvious from the response that his stupidity had been uncritically accepted.

I sat quietly for a while but finally I couldn't stand it any more, so I gently threw my two cents into the hat. My husband was not pleased with me (nothing was said to him about the incident, by the way). I responded that if our host expected half of his guests to sit silently and be seen but not heard, he should have asked the ladies to retire to the powder room. IMO, it is extremely rude to introduce a topic of conversation at a social gathering and then expect half your guests to sit for an hour like well behaved children. This is even more true when said guests were asked to bring the g***amned food.

If he wanted a maid or a cook, he should have married one. I dare say he wouldn't bring his maid or cook to a party, though.

My husband was still not thrilled, but acknowledged that I had a point :p He also said that if it ever got to the point where he was counseled for something I'd said, he'd figure it was time to get out.

After that I made a greater effort to be demure and not speak unless spoken to. That lasted until another of his COs informed me (again at a social gathering) that American women are wussies b/c in VietNam women squat right in the rice paddy, deliver their children, and go right back to work.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 16, 2009 06:08 PM

I don't think CJ (or many of the blogs who have shut down, or altered how they blog) are asking for "time on the clock" to blog. I think they want the freedom to blog - on their own time - with their own opinions (keeping in mind OPSEC). With CJ's current situation, his command should have told the school district - in Fuzzy's words - to "pound sand" when they came to the Army about a strictly private matter. I think there is a problem when commands are downright hostile towards blogs/bloggers, instead of being generally "hands-off", unless there is an issue of OPSEC. Isn't Chuck, at the Command & General Staff College, being tasked with blogging as part of the curriculum? The Army is schizophrenic about blogging - they like when blogs give them the good PR they aren't getting with the MSM, they are doing blogger roundtables, they are teaching the officers at Leavenworth to blog, and yet there are some commands where blogging - even about things that shouldn't be an issue - can be detrimental to one's career; that, IMO, is bullsh!t...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at December 16, 2009 06:30 PM

Well, again my arguments here are directed at the idea that the military has any duty to "support" blogging (as opposed to your "hands off" stance). Sorry, but I don't think they do. I think people (civilian and military alike) should have the right to try and persuade the military that it's in their best interest to encourage blogging, but I don't buy the notion that people's rights are being violated if the military isn't actively supportive of blogging, no matter where it occurs, with whose equipment or on whose time.

And that absolutely HAS been argued by several of the bloggers on that list. Don't know about C.J. because I haven't followed his site. I deleted the original posts but I can look them up. I have all my old posts archived on another machine.

I remember this very clearly b/c I was stunned that people were actually arguing that they had a "right" to blog on military computers and/or networks.

I also don't think the Army can or should tell anyone to pound sand. If people come to them with a complaint (especially if they allege that they were threatened by a service member) the command has to look into it. They don't really have a choice and I think it's pretty bizarre to suggest they turn a blind eye. What if a civilian comes to the Army with a complaint of a crime or threats of violence. Do you really want the command to say, "Who cares? Talk to the hand."

Absent evidence to the contrary, the command ought to presume their guy is innocent and certainly I don't support them telling him to stop blogging if he isn't violating any rules or laws. But ignoring an allegation of that sort just because "he's one of us" isn't something that is sensible. No one likes rules, but the military is respected BECAUSE they attempt to apply the rules consistently.

Clearly that doesn't seem to have happened here but I've also read an awful lot of speculation that runs far ahead of the facts.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 16, 2009 07:19 PM

"That lasted until another of his COs informed me (again at a social gathering) that American women are wussies b/c in VietNam women squat right in the rice paddy, deliver their children, and go right back to work."

OK, you just can't lay that out and leave it. I except a TINS to follow.

Posted by: Russ at December 16, 2009 09:46 PM

Personally, I find it very disturbing that the school finds it appropriate to bring the non-criminal complaint to the parent's employer and that the employer, in this case the Army, finds it appropriate to get involved in the non-Army and noncriminal issue.
This is how the things were done in the great old USSR: the threat of complaint filed with one's employer and the resulting threat of losing a job and getting blacklisted kept the masses in order...

Posted by: olga at December 16, 2009 09:50 PM

"That lasted until another of his COs informed me (again at a social gathering) that American women are wussies b/c in VietNam women squat right in the rice paddy, deliver their children, and go right back to work."

My reaction when I saw that happen was, "Geez, I'm glad women don't have to do it that way back home."

And they don't squat in the paddies, they move over to a dike or the side of a road.

Posted by: BillT at December 17, 2009 12:02 AM

This is part of a comment I left over at Grim's on the subject:

"A public school administrator in the school CJ's child attends takes issue with a statement CJ made about the administration of that school, that administrator takes umbrage and complains to the IG, who then unilaterally decides that someone totally outside *any* chain of command has the right to lodge a complaint through the military system, even if that complaint has nothing to do with CJ's position in the military and the complaint is not, by any stretch of the imagination, about an illegal act."

The IG was overly-PC -- it reacted to a complaint from someone who did not have the legal right to complain through that venue and, because it could find no other way to assuage the *civilian's* injured overly-inflated sense of self-worth, reported to CJ's commander, who took action against him on something completely unrelated to the original complaint, merely to show the *civilian* that "the Army" was not an uncaring organization.

Carrying through with legal action will only make all parties to this travesty, with the exception of CJ and his lawyer, look like absolute fools.

Posted by: BillT at December 17, 2009 12:26 AM

You mean you don't use at least one thumb on the spacebar?

;-)

Posted by: Lt York at December 17, 2009 12:48 AM

"You mean you don't use at least one thumb on the spacebar?"

You have no idea how long I have bitten my tongue on that particular comment....
0>;~}

Posted by: DL Sly at December 17, 2009 01:15 AM

I have stayed out of this thread for a variety of reasons; not the least of which I have seen examples of this type of nonsense going on and it seems to almost be systemic.

He names a particular rank cadre, the 0-5 and 0-6, but says the upper echelon don't have a problem. Well, at one time the general officers were field grades, so it begs the question; how do the field grades become general officers when dealing with so-called loose cannons in their commands?

You see where I am headed with this? What will happen if these people who are doing this sort of garbage now get promoted? How is it that the upper echelon aren't telling their subordinates to knock it off if they are 'okay' with his postings?

Today's 0-5, 0-6 is tomorrow's 0-7.

Just saying.

Posted by: Cricket at December 17, 2009 07:23 AM

What will happen if these people who are doing this sort of garbage now get promoted?

Does the name "Wesley Clarke" ring a bell?

Posted by: BillT at December 17, 2009 07:41 AM

My head is clanging horribly. Cutting these people off at the knees is the only way to get their attention.

Do.not.get.me.started.

I have to laugh; the best thing you can say about your life is Madonna endorsed you for president?

Bwahahahaha...

Posted by: Cricket at December 17, 2009 08:08 AM

On a serious note about Wesley Clark; need I say more?

Posted by: Cricket at December 17, 2009 08:10 AM

He names a particular rank cadre, the 0-5 and 0-6, but says the upper echelon don't have a problem. Well, at one time the general officers were field grades, so it begs the question; how do the field grades become general officers when dealing with so-called loose cannons in their commands? How is it that the upper echelon aren't telling their subordinates to knock it off if they are 'okay' with his postings?

A question more milbloggers might care to ask themselves before shooting off their mouths about how stupid and officious field grade officers are.

General officers, in my experience, are extremely adept at saying what people want to hear and avoiding flack (both on their own behalf and that of their services). A few folks might want to pull the hooks out of their mouths and do a bit of thinking. But I won't hold my breath waiting for that to happen.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 17, 2009 08:26 AM

My reaction when I saw that happen was, "Geez, I'm glad women don't have to do it that way back home."

That was the gist of my response: "That's why Vietnam is a 3rd world country and we're the world's largest superpower. There is nothing stopping American women from squatting and giving birth in rice paddies too - if they want to. Personally, I'd prefer that we have a choice in the matter."

Posted by: Cassandra at December 17, 2009 08:30 AM

And now I'm checking my rice bags for country of origin... =8^⁄

Posted by: bthun at December 17, 2009 08:48 AM

I think it would depend on what I posted.

Well of course. But I know you're a smart cookie who would not post anything that would violate OPSEC or reveal privileged/classified (Cass-ified?) information. However, you posting your opinion of the local schoolboard, regardless of how positive or negative, truly is NOT the concern of his command. Sure, you could MAKE it so by saying "The Marine Corps hates and will not tolerate this behavior by Susquasakatoon County School Board." Because at that point, you'd be misrepresenting the issue. If you don't go insane about it, the USMC should have nothing to say about it. And yet, that's pretty much what CJ's command did after he handed over the blog to his wife. They told him to have her cease and desist. And yes, he SHOULD have told them to pound sand, but unlike a commissioned officer, CJ doesn't have the option of resigning his commission. He's an NCO. He can obey the order, violate the order and attempt to fight any NJP through Court Martial, or he can file a formal complaint against his command for issuing an illegal order. All of which save the first, is most likely a career killer for a senior NCO.

And for the record, good for you for speaking your mind at a social engagement. As any officer who would take umbrage at a *gasp* woman speaking her mind... well, let's just say if you can't handle disagreement from another officer's wife... I seriously doubt your ability to handle troops in the face of enemy action.

Posted by: MikeD at December 17, 2009 09:51 AM

Well, I turned your question into a post. It will undoubtedly make some folks mad, but IMO it's not a bad idea to discuss both sides of the question.

I am not going to be able to discuss the specifics of this case with any authority. I know the general outline, but honestly I have not been following it all that closely.

I don't know, for instance, how we know what the Army told C.J. with regard to his blog or his wife. I am assuming that he is telling the truth, but at the same time I think it's important to note when we're dealing with hearsay and when there is concrete evidence (like a letter of reprimand or an email or some other written/taped evidence).

That I wrote about this at all means I'm inclined to believe C.J. and think this deserves more scrutiny. I just think it is important to note that we don't necessarily know all the circumstances or facts here.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 17, 2009 10:08 AM

I don't know, for instance, how we know what the Army told C.J. with regard to his blog or his wife. I am assuming that he is telling the truth, but at the same time I think it's important to note when we're dealing with hearsay and when there is concrete evidence (like a letter of reprimand or an email or some other written/taped evidence).

And that's a fair point. However, I would hasten to add, that we're not really just taking CJ's word for it. It was also in the Army Times' Article, and the LTC hasn't (publically) disputed it. Now, I WOULD be in agreement that it would be vastly superior if we heard his side of the matter as well. But I really cannot see justification for ordering CJ to take down the video of a public meeting he attended (thus removing the clear evidence that he did nothing wrong at the PTA meeting).

The source of the discontent seems not to be directed at the actions of the PTA and school administration (they are merely the proximate cause). I have read the open letter the head of the PTA wrote on Facebook, and I must say, it's pretty clear she's got a political axe to grind against soldiers in general, interrogators more specifically, and she took it out on CJ. Instead, the source is the fact that at some level, CJ's command felt it was better to tell him to turn off the blog rather than deal with an unhappy civilian organization that IMPROPERLY went to CJ's employer when they were unhappy with what he said in a civilian capacity.

I would be similarly outraged if my employer told me to quit posting to a blog about a disagreement with the local school board, because their members complained to him about my comments at the meeting. It would be inappropriate for them to approach my employer at all, so why should it be different for CJ? One major reason, if I disagree with my boss and don't do what she tells me... I can only be fired. If CJ doesn't do what his boss tells him, he could end up going to Ft. Leavenworth as a felon. UCMJ being federal law and all.

Posted by: MikeD at December 17, 2009 12:49 PM

If CJ doesn't do what his boss tells him, he could end up going to Ft. Leavenworth as a felon. UCMJ being federal law and all.

Assuming he committed a chargeable offense under the UCMJ. And that's a rather big assumption.

I'd like to make a point here. Without in any way trying to minimize what he's going through, I'd like to see a big more faith in the military justice system. I have no problem with bringing more attention to his plight, but maybe we shouldn't assume the entire system is corrupt and people are out to get him?

I've seen the same reaction with the Lt. Pantano thing and Haditha, and yet the system seems to have worked the way it's supposed to. The LtC involved may not have acted properly, but it's a fur piece from there to "the entire Army is out to get an innocent man for no reason".

Just a thought.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 17, 2009 01:19 PM

Assuming he committed a chargeable offense under the UCMJ. And that's a rather big assumption.

Article 92. Failure to obey order or regulation.

His only defense would be to prove (in a Court Martial) that the order was illegal.

And I'd like to have more faith in the military justice system Cass, I really would. But beyond the Haditha mess (which also smacked of undo command influence in there) there are SEALs on trial now for "detainee abuse" because a known terrorist got a "fat lip" while being apprehended. These men were forced to stand before a Court Martial rather than merely accept NJP from a Captain's Mast (which they were offered). As accepting NJP would destroy their careers in Special Ops, they now face felony charges and their very freedom is on the line.

When the announcement of the charges was first made, I nearly blew my top at an ignorant statement made by Allahpundit at hotair.com. He stated that he thought the Navy was going to give these guys a slap on the wrist, and that it was just Kabuki theater for the hand-wringing contingent back home. The only thing that kept my temper in check was knowing he had no clue what he was talking about.

The Navy DID offer them a slap on the wrist, a career destroying Captain's Mast, but they'd not serve any jail time or anything. To a man, they chose a Court Martial to defend their innocence rather than accept that stain on their records. Rather than drop charges, the Navy prosecutor doubled down and accepted their request for Court Martial.

Do I think the Army is out to get CJ? Not remotely. The Big Green Machine eats careers without malice all the time (and for full disclosure, the Army was and has been an unadulterated positive force in my entire life, so this is not sour grapes or anything). What this is seems to be a commander who when faced with a complaining civilian body found it more expedient to tell an E-8 to "quit making waves" rather than patiently explain to the schoolboard and PTA that the Army does not have any role in a dispute between a servicemember acting in a parental role and the school.

As we've already agreed, I'd LOVE to see COL Pastorelli's side of this, but lacking that, I must go on what I know of Army life and what news articles say about the incident.

Posted by: MikeD at December 17, 2009 01:43 PM

I have not yet wrapped my brain around the larger picture of the future of milblogging. However, my biggest beef with this entire situation (which I have been following closely as I have several close friends whose children are in the same school district as CJ's kids were) is what Bill pointed out:

"The IG was overly-PC -- it reacted to a complaint from someone who did not have the legal right to complain through that venue and, because it could find no other way to assuage the *civilian's* injured overly-inflated sense of self-worth, reported to CJ's commander, who took action against him on something completely unrelated to the original complaint, merely to show the *civilian* that "the Army" was not an uncaring organization."


Were he to have worked for a civilian employer, more than likely this would not have happened. If my husband were to work for Boeing, Microsoft, or even another government agency (say, the Forest Service), the local PTA/PTO would have nowhere to go with their asinine complaints. But the Army welcomed them with open arms.

THAT is my biggest beef here.

And MikeD is right - the Army is a Big Green Machine that eats careers without malice. It grinds slowly but it grinds, nonetheless. Trust me.

Posted by: HomefrontSix at December 17, 2009 03:23 PM

Tonight's You Served show was devoted to the Milblogs Go Silent "protest" and then to speaking to CJ about his current situation. If you missed it, I recommend listening to the podcast (you can also subscribe to the YouServed podcasts on iTunes, for free.

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at December 18, 2009 01:04 AM

Thanks for the link Miss LB. The second hour is very interesting.

Posted by: bthun at December 18, 2009 09:06 AM

FYI, I've been shut down again, this time with the threat of a general officer Article 15.

Posted by: CJ at February 17, 2012 06:02 AM

Post a comment

To reduce comment spam, comments on older posts are put into moderation 5 days after the last activity. Comments with more than one link also go into moderation. If you don't see your comment after posting it, try refreshing the screen. If you still don't see it, your comment is probably in the moderation queue.




Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)