Making Waves

From USA TODAY (Editorial):

The people who captain the nation’s aircraft carriers are not to be confused with choir boys. They lead crews big enough to populate a small town and command firepower sufficient to decimate a large city. They must be leaders with a capital L — people of substance, savvy and gravitas, with the instinct to make sound decisions and set an unerring standard for command.

Today, thousands of sailors, former sailors and others are rallying to the defense of Navy Capt. Owen Honors, the fired commander of the USS Enterprise, arguing that he is such a leader — a first-rate commander sacrificed on the altar of political correctness because some thin-skinned weenies were offended by videos he used to inspire his crew.

There seems no doubt that Honors inspires fierce loyalty. But the image the ex-captain puts forth in the videos, made when he was second in command, hardly merits it. If you didn’t know the man’s job, you might assume that he was the class clown, indifferent to the juvenile image he projects or to the consequences of his actions.

Original poster

To be sure, humor is a valuable tool for building morale. But a savvier leader would know how to do it without resorting to frat-boy mockery, sexism and slurs against gays — on tape no less.

Honors’ productions include scenes of simulated same-sex showers and masturbation, and of Honors using an anti-gay slur. Judging by the outpouring on Facebook, many crewmembers enjoyed the videos, shown on closed-circuit TV on the ship’s movie night in 2006 and 2007. But some — it’s unclear how many — complained. Honors’ dismissive treatment of the objections says as much as the videos do about his leadership qualities.


Yes, firing Honors was an easy call.

Much tougher to deal with are the broader questions the episode raises about the modern Navy.

When the videos, all at least three years old, surfaced Saturday in The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, the Navy initially seemed dismissive. Only after the videos went viral did the hammer come down on Honors.

The episode, and the Navy’s shifting response, raise doubts about how much the Navy’s culture has truly changed since the infamous Tailhook scandal two decades ago.


Now, just weeks after Congress ended its ban on openly gay servicemembers, the Navy ought to figure out why a rising-star commander felt free to make and distribute videos with anti-gay epithets. If “don’t ask, don’t tell” is going to be successfully repealed, the military is going to need officers who know how to lead by example. Whatever his other estimable qualities, Capt. Honors failed that test.


Filed under Congress, Homophobia, Homosexuality, humor, parody, politics, Scandals, snark, Wordpress Political Blogs

21 responses to “Making Waves

  1. I told my daughter (as she’s pondering financing her medical education), before you think about the military, think about a 30% chance of being raped or other various types of sexual assaults. Hats off to the brave women who join, but fuck, those are some mean statistics.

    • think about a 30% chance of being raped or other various types of sexual assaults.

      Well, that’s one problem that can’t be pinned on the gays. Perhaps heterosexual males should be banned from military service, since obviously so many of them are sex fiends with no self-control.

      • there’s a story about golda meir. women were being raped, and it was suggested that there be a curfew for women. she responded:

        But it is the men who are attacking the women. If there is to be a curfew, let the men stay at home.

    • i don’t have a daughter, but if i did, i don’t think i’d encourage her to join the military until they get their shit together. it’s hard to believe that, in the 21st century, there’s still so much misogyny and homophobia.

    • Sadly, that is only the reported cases. There are many more that remain hushed by threats, because it is often commanding officers doing the offending crime.
      There was a local girl here Suzanne Swift who reported sexual abuse, and guess who was assigned to oversee her? One of the offenders.
      Beyond that horrific statistic there is a clause in the military contract itself, that says they can keep you in active duty at any time for any reason for as long as they want. Essentially they own you. It’s called the back door draft–
      which is how they have soldiers doing 5 or more tours of duty.
      Once you sign, regardless of what they promise you, they can do what they want. One of my son;s teachers was in the Navy…. they simply told her she was needed in the Army & sent to Iraq. So signing up for any branch or believing any promise does not guarantee anything.
      Ask you local Quaker meeting to read up about recruitment.

      • the same thing happens on college campuses. girls report sexual assaults, and the big shots do nothing, because they don’t want the bad publicity. same thing goes for hazing. of course, if the college powers that be don’t do anything, the kids have the option of going to law enforcement, but many don’t. how sad to live in a society where certain people are considered more important than others, while the others are so dispensable.

  2. jeb

    This mentality was rife when I joined the Coast Guard in 1979. The idea that people would still behave this way – especially a senior officer – is appalling. He deserves to be fired, if nothing else for poor judgement, but really for being such a boorish asshole.

    • i didn’t know you were in the coast guard, jeb. it’s amazing that the military still has so many members who stopped maturing in junior high school. i think he not only deserves to be fired but to be demoted first. i wonder how long before faux news hires him as a military adviser and sobs about how he’s a victim of political correctness.

  3. Once again, I’m a tad suspicious of ostensibly 100%-heterosexual males who talk about homosexuality so much. Especially given the, er, reputation of navies throughout history.

    Based on the rainbow-patterned axle of his beanie, propeller, perhaps you share my suspicions? And the mouse, of course. A gerbil would have been too obvious.

    • you’re very observant, infidel. i didn’t think anyone would notice the mouse! 😆

      i share your suspicions. i think some people protest just a little bit too much. not saying that all if those who diss gays are homosexual (but some of them are), but i think they’re scared to death that they are. nobody is 100% heterosexual, and even a wisp of attraction to someone of their own gender scares the shit out of the most insecure among us.

  4. Man overboard!
    Buh Bye Honors

    You can almost hear the crew cheering!
    WTF that it took this many years for him to be busted over the tapes shown in 2006-2007. Maybe the repeal of DADT helped make the complaint be taken more seriously?

  5. Having lived in the bay area, San Diego, and Key West, having known and observed many a sailor, none of this surprises me. Let us do a calculation of what were dealing with: young, away from home, isolation for month after month, alcohol flowing in excess, hormones and male essence at critcal level (code purple). Having women in combat roles tends to make this even trickier, prime example the Bosnian deployment where I believe it was the first time in US military history we returned with more people than we deployed, little small ones, but people none the less! Yes, it’s like Jr. High out there, you get tough or you die, no middle ground. The biggest concern in any branches has got to be the rape charges and cutting the good old boy crap about how they were asking for it. About 10 to 20 in Leavenworth would stop a lot of that. As I heard a sailor say recently on an interview: “These long deployments are like serving in a floating prison”. Guys are going to always make fag jokes, that’s just the way it is in the real world (that’s what he said). But in the spirit of equality for all, any humaniod, femenoid, animal, or device gets the same tratment for the simple reason that most men have the moral level of a dog.

    • that’s why the grown-ups are supposed to be in charge. the junior high antics should never be allowed to continue. in this case, someone who wasn’t even as mature as a junior high-schooler was in charge, so where could anyone go for guidance?

  6. Snoring Dog Studio

    My sister is retired Navy. She’s particularly horrified by this episode because, as she says, “Nothing has changed.” She’s told me awful stories about the things done and said to her and her female officers by male superiors. It’s utterly disheartening to hear people defending this louse because he “is fighting for our country.” Why are decency, respect and serving your country patriotically mutually exclusive attributes? Why is it that these cretins think the only way to build morale is by tearing someone else’s down? I’m dumfounded that this stuff is still happening. Mandatory diversity training every month, zero tolerance, demotion and/or brig. That’s the only way.