Richard Swerdlin swerdlin at GTE.NET
Thu Jun 12 15:03:36 MDT 1997

> From: John Bush <jbush at POST.CIS.SMU.EDU>
> Subject: Re: Tradition
> Date: Wednesday, June 11, 1997 6:43 AM
> On Tue, 10 Jun 1997, Richard Swerdlin wrote:
> > JB:
> >
> >         Why not aspire to something more positive, than trying to alibi
> > nonsense by considering it "macho" to shit or piss on another person?
> I'm afraid you have me confused with someone else.  The incident here
> in TX (I'm not too far away from the incident you are referring to)
> had nothing to do with events in the military or schools that you are
> complaining about.  The incidents here involved older children
> harrassing younger ones--some being adults.  That is completely
> unlike your general attack on the citidel.
> > Relatedly, why does the suggestion of decent treatment of others bug
> > sense of masculinity or toughness?
> You just don't get it.  I doubt if I could have made it at the
> Citidel, and certainly couldn't have made it in the SEALS or some
> other such group.  It has nothing to do with my sense of masculinity
> or toughness.  It is because I don't want our military filled with a
> bunch of pansies that faint or turn and run when it gets rough.  I
> want the stongest, the best defending our country.  In general, I am
> going to stay out of these issues.  I will not be appalled by nor
> will I attack these incidents.  I would have generally believed that
> they could be handled best by those close to the situation.
> Unfortunately, in our current political climate, it doesn't seem that
> even the leadership at these institutions can do that.  My suggestion
> of milk and cookies might not be too far from the mark.
> >         There is still time for you to give up the older notions (hook,
> > line, and sinker) concerning human relations.  After all, even Paul
> > on the road to Damascus.
> I will continue to laugh at liberals who attempt to use Christianity,
> which they despise, as an argument for their ludicrous positions.

        I agree with you that it would be simpler, if authorities close to
the situation were handling it responsibly.  This is not a remark limited
to something that occurred recently.
For example, there was the base commander, who winked out problems related
to conditions in Biloxi, Mississippi at Keesler AFB.  Relatedly he may have
been on the take.
This general was negligent of his responsibility as commander.  He received
a call from the Pentagon finally, so that the city of Biloxi was placed
"off limits" to military personnel, except for necessary trips to the train
station or post office.  Another interesting recollection is that of a
squadron or wing commander at a Tennessee base, who thought nothing of
parading in the officers club, wearing only a jock strap.  This is some
example of  behavior of a senior officer.  Another recollection is that of
a major I worked for in Ohio.  He wasn't all there.  This really was common
knowledge, but nothing was done to improve matters.  I succeeded in getting
reassigned to saner work on the next floor in the same headquarters.

        Aside from The Citadel, there are hazing practices at West Point &
Annapolis, which have been criticized for many years.  I attended college
long before the advent of TV coverage.  In the larger sense, what I have
always opposed is *deliberate & unnecessary"
infliction of pain.

        As a related thought, I also recall even the Marine Corps finally
realizing that some DI's were not much, especially when unnecessary death
occurred in training , which involved swimming.   Without external pressure
for an investigation of causes of death
(from parents, Congress), the Marine Corps would have done nothing.
Considering the charges of rape or harrassment recently brought against
various training instructors, especially in the Army, it again is evident
that the military establishment is not prone to investigate itself, unless
there external concern.  A relevant concept is "conflict of interest".
In essence, a citizen need not be a proverbial doubting Thomas to wonder
what is going on, in the light of events.  Events unfortunately are often
conveniently ignored by heavy use of the thought that "they" will know what
to do about it.

        The Constitution wisely puts the military establishment under
ultimate civil control.  This reflects the notion of checks & balances.

        Overall, tradition should be constructive.  It should not be used
to mask continued questionable actions.  Such vestiges should be reduced.

Richard Swerdlin
(swerdlin at

P.S.  The "Christianity" reference clouds the issue.  It is foolish to lump
"religion" in relation to "liberals", "conservatives" etc.  It is true
that, with patience, a reader of one bible or another can pluck certain
elements to alibi almost any mortal position.

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