Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

As an African-American graduate of the Naval Academy, I found Goldich’s article deeply offensive — and so should you

By "An African-American Academy Grad" Best Defense guest respondent Mr. Goldich, as an African-American, a former football player at the Academy, and a Marine Infantry Officer, I take great exception to your article, especially point number two. Your comments are totally out of line, misinformed, without merit or factual basis, and frankly, borderline ‘racist.’ You ...

Wikimedia
Wikimedia
Wikimedia

By "An African-American Academy Grad"

Best Defense guest respondent

Mr. Goldich, as an African-American, a former football player at the Academy, and a Marine Infantry Officer, I take great exception to your article, especially point number two. Your comments are totally out of line, misinformed, without merit or factual basis, and frankly, borderline 'racist.' You could have crafted a more plausible argument based on well-researched facts vice editorial commentary.

By "An African-American Academy Grad"

Best Defense guest respondent

Mr. Goldich, as an African-American, a former football player at the Academy, and a Marine Infantry Officer, I take great exception to your article, especially point number two. Your comments are totally out of line, misinformed, without merit or factual basis, and frankly, borderline ‘racist.’ You could have crafted a more plausible argument based on well-researched facts vice editorial commentary.

I, like many other African-Americans who have played football, had great service records, graduated, and have gone on to serve our great nation with distinction. We did it by not hiding behind a football program, but by holding and being held to the same standard as every other midshipman. If you want to attack the institution, at least get your facts straight and mount a coherent argument, but don’t bring race into the argument. I get it, you used the disclaimer of ‘all too many,’ but you know that was a weak attempt at implying that all blacks that attend the Academy are academically weak and have bad behavior. I will admit, I wasn’t the smartest midshipman, but I met the standard and I graduated on time. The day I graduated, my shipmates to the right and left of me were not African-American. So maybe they should not have been admitted into the Academy either due to their lack of academic prowess and shady behavior.

Mr. Goldich, don’t diminish what many of my shipmates and I worked so hard for because of a loosely supported argument that is borderline racist because you failed to do the proper research to mount an articulate argument. It is 2013 and people are still writing crap like this that actually feeds into this stereotype . I get it, you have the right to write whatever you want. I respect that, but this is the very reason we, as a nation, cannot progress.

Mr. Ricks, I read your blog everyday because you post some really thought provoking pieces. However, I think an apology is in order for what was posted on behalf of Mr. Goldich. It was extremely offensive. He could have excluded point number two and still he would have been off base, but it would have been more palatable. Most of your articles call for action of some kind, on behalf of those the article is directed. I want to see if you are in fact fair, just, and hold yourself to the same standard — or will there be silence on the net?

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

More from Foreign Policy

A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.
A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.

Lessons for the Next War

Twelve experts weigh in on how to prevent, deter, and—if necessary—fight the next conflict.

An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It’s High Time to Prepare for Russia’s Collapse

Not planning for the possibility of disintegration betrays a dangerous lack of imagination.

An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.
An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.

Turkey Is Sending Cold War-Era Cluster Bombs to Ukraine

The artillery-fired cluster munitions could be lethal to Russian troops—and Ukrainian civilians.

A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol  January 8, 2009 in Washington.
A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol January 8, 2009 in Washington.

Congrats, You’re a Member of Congress. Now Listen Up.

Some brief foreign-policy advice for the newest members of the U.S. legislature.