Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Hey Tom, I’m finding this blog a bit boring lately, with too many similar points of view on the same damn subjects

By “A Reader Becoming Less Faithful” Best Defense guest columnist Why? It is the same topics each time. My point about challenging the paradigm is that it would not be just challenging the left/right paradigms, it should challenge both. For instance, we talk of leadership in the ranks, but would it be out of line ...

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By "A Reader Becoming Less Faithful"
Best Defense guest columnist

Why? It is the same topics each time. My point about challenging the paradigm is that it would not be just challenging the left/right paradigms, it should challenge both.

For instance, we talk of leadership in the ranks, but would it be out of line to have someone actually come out and document the correlation between the GOs who talk a big game once in retirement, but refused to speak up while on AD? On the topic of suicide, why are we not questioning how so many people with so many pre-enlistment issues actually get in the military and why the go there in the first place? (Over 50 percent of all military suicides are by folks who never deployed to anywhere.) On retirement, there have been some interesting takes, but none that factor in the collateral problems that go with a military career into that "benefits" package. On the UCMJ, I have never seen an article from anyone (right or left) explaining why it is so important in certain areas, yet I have seen articles bemoan the suicides of folks who were harassed due to falling asleep on watch in a combat zone. On the female topics, no one and I mean no one has addressed how much women have been accommodated in terms of quotas, standards, set asides, frat, pregnancy, etc... On Gitmo? Has anyone explained the Geneva Conventions and written on why, how, and where they are needed and how they could and should apply to the POWs? No, we only get stories that Gitmo is wrong, that they should be charged as criminals, etc...even in the right-wing pages you mostly only see them calling for blood, no mention of how the Geneva should be applied and why then it would be wrong to let those folks go.

By “A Reader Becoming Less Faithful”
Best Defense guest columnist

Why? It is the same topics each time. My point about challenging the paradigm is that it would not be just challenging the left/right paradigms, it should challenge both.

  • For instance, we talk of leadership in the ranks, but would it be out of line to have someone actually come out and document the correlation between the GOs who talk a big game once in retirement, but refused to speak up while on AD?
  • On the topic of suicide, why are we not questioning how so many people with so many pre-enlistment issues actually get in the military and why the go there in the first place? (Over 50 percent of all military suicides are by folks who never deployed to anywhere.)
  • On retirement, there have been some interesting takes, but none that factor in the collateral problems that go with a military career into that “benefits” package.
  • On the UCMJ, I have never seen an article from anyone (right or left) explaining why it is so important in certain areas, yet I have seen articles bemoan the suicides of folks who were harassed due to falling asleep on watch in a combat zone.
  • On the female topics, no one and I mean no one has addressed how much women have been accommodated in terms of quotas, standards, set asides, frat, pregnancy, etc…
  • On Gitmo? Has anyone explained the Geneva Conventions and written on why, how, and where they are needed and how they could and should apply to the POWs? No, we only get stories that Gitmo is wrong, that they should be charged as criminals, etc…even in the right-wing pages you mostly only see them calling for blood, no mention of how the Geneva should be applied and why then it would be wrong to let those folks go.

I guess what I am saying is that with the talent pool you have available, the blog has the ability to be a lightning rod that questions the CW and should be able to bring realistic questions and answers, but at times be honest that there may not be one.

Heck Tom, your pet peeve on procurement and O&M, there has to be someone who can attack it in a manner to make folks understand that just cutting it is not the answer and that massive reform is needed, but usually all the authors do is say “cut the budget” thinking that the military will react like a private business, but it can’t since it is not a private business. I bet if people knew that 800k of the folks in the O&M budget are civilians they would gasp! Sorry for the rant, the blog is awesome, you have been seriously kind enough to even engage us and I really do think you are one of the few journalists who actually gives a shit.

I think I am just searching for a blog that is not afraid to step on those third rails, but do so in a way that forces others to look as well.

“A.R.B.L. Faithful” is an active-duty servicemember.

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

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