DeM Banter: And we can not forget “Poppa Panda Sexy Pants,” is there any doubt we are facing a crisis of leadership in the US? Is it a training issue? Is it an accountability issue? Is it morals? Standards? All of the above? Or is it people afraid to make the tough calls when the tough calls have to be made? Are our folks empowered to make the tough calls? I note below Manning had issues in basic training? Were the soldiers there afraid to make the call…too lazy… or perhaps they felt they would not be be backed up if they made the call..were they empowered to make THAT call? Was there enough evidence at that time to kick him out? It all looks very easy on this side of the problem, but I guarantee it looked different in basic training… someone there knew Manning could not cut it, but were probably fearing they would be second guessed… or perhaps it was too “mean,” “harsh,” you name it, to kick him out. Are our leaders able to make those tough calls on evidence that is not all that firm…it’s a gut check…can we trust our gut? Or is the system not set up to support those gut calls? Ponder Gen Sinclair…where were his peers? The article linked above says people were even joking about the affair…were they empowered to make the call? Can our system make those tough calls or does it take a Wiki-leaks, a Snowden, a cross-dresser (can you imagine the press if we kicked Manning out for cross-dressing), or a “Poppa Panda Sexy Pants” before we can really make that call? Something to ponder…
August 15, 2013
This week, America is being treated to two court spectacles, neither of them flattering to the Army.
One is the sentencing phase for Pfc. Bradley Manning, recently convicted of handing state secrets to WikiLeaks. The other is the trial of Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan for the 2009 shootings at Fort Hood that killed 13 people and wounded another 30.
Both raise a fundamental question: What the heck is going on with our Army?
Tuesday’s hearing revealed that in April 2010, Manning sent an e-mail to his commanding officer admitting to a gender-identity “problem.” Attached to the e-mail was a picture of himself dressed as a woman wearing makeup and a blond wig.
Manning had been sending classified material to WikiLeaks since January and was arrested weeks after he sent the e-mail. But signs pointing to his instability went back years. He lost a civilian IT job because he’d often just stare into space. In basic training, he regularly got into fights and was recommended for a discharge.
Yet the Army kept him, trained him as an intelligence analyst and gave him a “Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information” — precisely what he needed to access some of the nation’s most sensitive material.
Hasan is another example of the Army’s failing to identify an individual unsuited for service. A military psychiatrist, Hasan was known for pushing his radical beliefs on others well before he went on his killing spree. This was a man the Army assigned to counseling returning vets.
During his service, the FBI learned that Hasan had multiple contacts with Islamist radical imam Anwar al-Awlaki. Eighteen intercepted e-mails to Awlaki between December 2008 and June 2009 were judged by the FBI as related to Hasan’s “professional research.” Not to mention that the Fort Hood killings are officially deemed “workplace violence” instead of terrorism.
A military court will eventually reach a verdict on Hasan, just as another military court has already held Manning responsible for his actions. Our question is this: Who’s going to hold the Army to account?