Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Obama’s Casual Contempt for the Military

 

Sitting in the boardroom, a dozen social workers, salesmen and developers were waiting for the Health IT CEO to kick off the meeting. As we rocked in our chairs, my boss — an MSW-cum-Chief Sales Officer — complained about his “black sheep” cousin who was shaming the family name.

“The rest of us went to college but he’s stuck in the Army,” he said.

“Sounds like a good start to me,” I replied, as the only employee with military experience.

Those assembled rolled their eyes while my boss looked at me with pity. “He enlisted, Jon. He obviously isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed.” Pausing for a beat he added, “no offense.”

None taken, jerk.

As my boss knew, I joined the Navy right out of high school. The comment on all my report cards was “smart kid; doesn’t apply himself” so I knew college would be a bumpy ride. I read about the Naval Nuclear Power School, the military’s most demanding academic program.

I’d be spending up to 80 hours a week in classrooms studying calculus, thermodynamics and nuclear physics, and if I didn’t try hard enough, I’d be mopping decks on some oiler in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Just the motivation I needed.

After graduating near the top of my class, I worked as a reactor operator on a fast attack submarine. Once I completed my obligation to Uncle Sam, I returned to civilian life. Compared to nuke school, college was a breeze and I noticed that employers liked to hire summa cum laude grads even if they bore the black mark of military service. Which brings me back to my boss.

Granted, he had barely eked his way through a Master of Social Work degree on his parents’ dime. But the fact I had joined the Navy put me in a lower caste — not just socially and economically, but intellectually.

All in all, he was a great guy; but like many left-of-center Americans, he knew nothing about the military. I have repeatedly noticed this casual contempt, especially from those raised in northeastern states or academic circles. They never considered serving and don’t associate with anyone who has.

Team Obama fits firmly into this group. As we saw with the VA scandal and again with the Bergdahl debacle, President Obama and his defenders continually ooze contempt — often without even realizing it. Their utter tone-deafness on military issues regularly turns bad news into all-consuming nightmares.

Just a few recent messages coming from the White House and its defenders.

Unlike the Democrats’ inspirational message of attacking the military, killing veterans, loving on the Taliban and running down the economy.

“Swift Boat” is a slur used to attack veterans who served honorably at John Kerry’s side, but stayed in theater much longer than a few months.

Every solider in Bergdahl’s platoon was a psychopath… except the guy who joined the Taliban.

Obama has gone from allowing veterans to die at the VA, to confusing cadets at West Point, to saluting the heroism of an apparent Army deserter (if not enemy collaborator), to calling the honorable soldiers he betrayed “psychopaths.” And much of the DC press corps has little idea how to cover military issues because they share this cultural contempt. Enlisted soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines are considered stupid or insane — either way, indigent victims who must be enlightened by the liberal elite.

Let me offer a friendly reminder to our “betters”: If you’re more impressed with a college diploma than a DD214, you aren’t nearly as sophisticated as you claim.

There are 22 comments.

  1. rico Inactive

    Okay, I get your point.
    But you’ve got to admit that “Master of Social Work” does sound awfully prestigious.

    • #1
    • June 5, 2014, at 2:17 PM PST
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  2. tabula rasa Member

    These are the same people who, when reminded tomorrow that it’s the anniversary of D-Day, will think you’re talking about the moon landing or Earth Day or Woodstock.

    • #2
    • June 5, 2014, at 2:22 PM PST
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  3. James Lileks Contributor

    tabula rasa: These are the same people who, when reminded tomorrow that it’s the anniversary of D-Day, will think you’re talking about the moon landing or Earth Day or Woodstock.

    D-Day was more American arrogance, thinking it could “fix” other cultures. The moon landing was a waste of money; those resources could have ended poverty and hunger here and on Mother Earth. Woodstock was the apogee of human civilization. 

    • #3
    • June 5, 2014, at 2:45 PM PST
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  4. GLDIII Temporarily Essential Thatcher

    Jon

    Glad you did this post because it falls in line with a palatable notion I have been seeing with many of my “retired” military associates in my Boy’s Scout troop. As a resident of Annapolis we have a large share of folks from all of the branches and I have notice for the most part they maintain a outward apolitical stance toward the temporary leaders in the executive. I think it is trained into them. Lately this has been slipping, and I find it comforting.

    Pardon me now for the donning of the “tin foil hat”, but it seem to that in certain quarters of the lefty planning branchs there has be rumbling about finding the lawyer-ise to justify the military supporting the civil authorities in the event of “right wing extremists”, you know reports of bullet stocking, transfer of surplus gear to police departments, sending lots of Fed men to a tax dispute with ranchers, and general snarky contempt for the 2nd amendment.

    The white houses current behavior has pretty much ended any support from the uniformed services in any action against the citizenry since I bet they will find anything of that nature an “unlawful order”. There got that off my chest.

    Remove tin foil hat.

    • #4
    • June 5, 2014, at 3:23 PM PST
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  5. Scott Wilmot Member

    Jon:

    Thanks for your service and thanks for writing this. Your post is on par with what Ralph Peters has written at NRO:

    This is a fundamental culture clash. Team Obama and its base cannot comprehend the values still cherished by those young Americans “so dumb” they joined the Army instead of going to prep school and then to Harvard. Values such as duty, honor, country, physical courage, and loyalty to your brothers and sisters in arms have no place in Obama World. (Military people don’t necessarily all like each other, but they know they can depend on each other in battle — the sacred trust Bergdahl violated.)

    President Obama and his sycophants disgust me.

    • #5
    • June 5, 2014, at 6:29 PM PST
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  6. Western Chauvinist Member

    My father and father-in-law both served. The former landed on Omaha 70 years ago tomorrow and later fought in the Battle of the Bulge under Patton’s command. The latter served in Korea as one of the original Airborne Rangers and later in Vietnam. Neither were college educated. Both had/have more commonsense and practical skills, and more to contribute to society than anyone at that table apart from you, Jon. Thanks for your service.

    • #6
    • June 5, 2014, at 6:33 PM PST
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  7. Arahant Member

    rico: But you’ve got to admit that “Master of Social Work” does sound awfully prestigious

    I would never trust a Master of Social Work to run a nuclear reactor. (Or, come to think of it, anything else important.)

    • #7
    • June 5, 2014, at 7:21 PM PST
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  8. Commodore BTC Inactive

    also notice Obama repeatedly referring to Bergdahl as “someone’s child”

    • #8
    • June 5, 2014, at 9:04 PM PST
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  9. Dave Sussman Contributor

    Jon,

    I went to college and after a few years of fraternity, average grades and bong resin, I barely graduated.

    Besides making some life long friends, the feeling of accomplishment was nil.

    Once out in the world, Operation Desert Storm occurred and I envied those younger than me who enlisted. My grandfather fought the Nazis in the British RAF and was prisoner of war for 6 years. HE was accomplished, and so are you.

    Many of us patriot minded folks who never served would rewind time and do things differently.

    As far as your boss, he comes from a place of insecurity. He and the rest of that group tacitly tip their hat to you.

    Cheers.

    • #9
    • June 5, 2014, at 9:13 PM PST
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  10. Carey J. Inactive

    James Lileks: Woodstock was the apogee of human civilization. 

     It was the apogee of Leftist civilization.

    • #10
    • June 5, 2014, at 9:42 PM PST
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  11. listeningin Inactive

    I spent a few years overseas as a missionary and ran into a lot of NGO (non governmental organizations) folks…the kinds leftists love because of their humanitarian work…think PeaceCorp). One of the long running conversations was how ineffective NGO’s are at bringing meaningful immediate help or lasting change. When the tsunami hit Indonesia the US military that arrived and coordinated the rescue with astonishing speed and efficiency. They do incredible amounts of effective humanitarian work all over the world to help when bad things happen, and they are every day making sure that a whole lot of bad things never happen. If liberals are serious about their compassion and thought with even a teaspoon level of depth about what our military provides for the beleaguered poor across the globe, they would revere the US military. But every time I’d get into this discussion with leftists overseas, it came down to their loyalty to an ideology (and belonging to the social clan that held the same views), and the lives of actual humans didn’t really matter.

    • #11
    • June 6, 2014, at 12:28 AM PST
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  12. Podkayne of Israel Member

    Butters:

    also notice Obama repeatedly referring to Bergdahl as “someone’s child”

     Although evidently not much of a man.

    • #12
    • June 6, 2014, at 2:31 AM PST
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  13. Podkayne of Israel Member

    Podkayne of Israel:

    Butters:

    also notice Obama repeatedly referring to Bergdahl as “someone’s child”

    Although evidently not much of a man.

     By the way, as the mother of an IDF combat reservist and another entering recruit, I really resent it when our soldiers are referred to as “our children” without any reference to the other side of the equation. They will always be my babies, but if that’s all the respect they’re going to get, they might as well be going to summer camp.

    • #13
    • June 6, 2014, at 4:41 AM PST
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  14. TG Thatcher
    TG

    Quote from OP: “Obama has gone from allowing veterans to die at the VA, to confusing cadets at West Point, to saluting the heroism of an apparent Army deserter (if not enemy collaborator), to calling the honorable soldiers he betrayed “psychopaths.””

    A clarification: President Obama was not the person who tweeted that Bergdahl’s platton was full of psychopaths. I would not be surprised if he agreed with the sentiment, but, to the best of my knowledge, he has not publicly said so.

    • #14
    • June 6, 2014, at 6:36 AM PST
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  15. David Foster Member

    In Obama’s case, it is not *only* military people for whom he feels contempt, but all Americans who did not graduate from an “elite” college. This is also true of most other leading “progressive” politicians, specifically including Hillary Clinton.

    Writing in 1969, Peter Drucker said:

    One thing it (modern society) cannot afford in education is the “elite institution” which has a monopoly on social standing, on prestige, and on the command positions in society and economy. Oxford and Cambridge are important reasons for the English brain drain. A main reason for the technology gap is the Grande Ecole such as the Ecole Polytechnique or the Ecole Normale. These elite institutions may do a magnificent job of education, but only their graduates normally get into the command positions. Only their faculties “matter.” This restricts and impoverishes the whole society…The Harvard Law School might like to be a Grande Ecole and to claim for its graduates a preferential position. But American society has never been willing to accept this claim…

    American society has now come far closer to accepting the claim of Harvard Law (and its peers) as Grandes Ecoles than it had when Drucker wrote the above.

    • #15
    • June 6, 2014, at 7:20 AM PST
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  16. Ralphie Member

    He can pronounce and understand the word “children”, unlike “corpsemen”.

    I agree with the mom that they are always someone’s child, but in their current jobs, they are young men and women, signifying adulthood.

    • #16
    • June 6, 2014, at 7:56 AM PST
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  17. Mate De Coolidge

    In a lot of cases going to college prolongs childhood. Which is why when so many kids graduate and get a dose of the real world they can’t handle it. The military helps train young people for the real world. It should never be sneared at.
    I went to a regimented college, a state merchant marine acadamy, not the miltary exactly but it was modeled on that. When I graduated, I was much better prepared for the world then friends of mine who went to traditional colleges.
    There was a book that came out a few years after I graduated in 2000 call the Quarterlife Crisis. It was basically a bunch of recent college grads complaining how life post college was hard and they were having a hard time adjusting, and this was when the economy was good.

    • #17
    • June 6, 2014, at 8:44 AM PST
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  18. Danny Alexander Member

    Western Chauvinist, I’m late to the thread, but your comment resonates with me particularly since my maternal grandfather (died in 1986) was *also* a part of the Normandy invasion and the Battle of the Bulge.

    In his case, he was a physician in field hospitals with ADSEC.
    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ADSEC)
    I just hope that your father didn’t sustain any wounds/injuries — but if he did, I hope my grandfather treated him!

    All best!

    • #18
    • June 6, 2014, at 1:38 PM PST
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  19. Danny Alexander Member

    Then there’s this emblematic moment — the MSM spin for which I find only 50-50 plausible:

    http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2011/02/valerie-jarrett-mistakes-vice-chief-of-staff-of-army-for-waiter/

    • #19
    • June 6, 2014, at 1:43 PM PST
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  20. Western Chauvinist Member

    Danny Alexander:

    Western Chauvinist, I’m late to the thread, but your comment resonates with me particularly since my maternal grandfather (died in 1986) was *also* a part of the Normandy invasion and the Battle of the Bulge.

    In his case, he was a physician in field hospitals with ADSEC. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ADSEC) I just hope that your father didn’t sustain any wounds/injuries — but if he did, I hope my grandfather treated him!

    All best!

    My dad was one of the lucky ones, Danny. He landed H+11 (or 12?) and missed the worst of the slaughter. He was a lieutenant who led an anti-aircraft gunner squad, and his only injury the entire war was to his hearing. He admitted rather sheepishly that the whole thing was a huge adventure for a young man from Ohio, and he made some great friends. It was formative for him though, and I imagine for everyone involved. God bless them all.

    • #20
    • June 6, 2014, at 2:54 PM PST
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  21. Arahant Member

    Western Chauvinist: He was a lieutenant who led an anti-aircraft gunner squad, and his only injury the entire war was to his hearing.

    Shall we start the Redlegs jokes? (Of course, Harry Truman was the only redleg to be President.)

    • #21
    • June 6, 2014, at 3:02 PM PST
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  22. Brad T. Inactive

    My blood pressure has been normal since I’ve fully understood the Obama Doctrine: “to hold in contempt our values and institutions by forwarding policies antithetical to them in three main areas:
    1) in foreign affairs, appease our enemies and alienate our friends,
    2) avoid all domestic pro growth policies, i.e., tax reform, keystone pipeline, etc.
    3) increase size of government and commensurate regulations and spying on Americans.

    best regards

    • #22
    • June 7, 2014, at 10:12 AM PST
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