September 05, 2002
Required Reading

As many of you have probably read, the Commanding Officer of the USS Kitty Hawk was recently relieved of his command. However, if you read the Times (of London), you were done a grave disservice. The article began reasonably enough, with a recounting of the factors that led to his dismissal. However, the article devolved into an absolutely inexcusable trashing of the US Navy, with a willful ignorance of the facts. Dodd Harris, at Ipse Dixit (and a former sailor himself), fisks the moron who wrote the article, and clears the air. It is required reading for those who still think of all sailors as knuckle-scraping deck apes who possess room-temperature IQ's and never see the sun. The inexcusable attempts to portray the navy as racist are laughable coming from the British, who as a society are far more racist than the America of the 21st century. I have spent four years (actual days, not approximations) aboard our aircraft carriers, and what the writer describes is *not* even close to the truth.

**UPDATE: 05Sep/1400—A comment at Cut on the Bias from John Anderson, quoting a marine, eloquently captures my feelings on the subject of the military.

posted on September 05, 2002 10:40 AM


Whilst I agree that was a ludicous article, I think you are quite wrong that British society is more racist that that in the USA. I believe it is quite the other way around. Of course as we are both talking in such broad sweeps, it is eazy for us both to find examples to support our respective views.

posted by Perry de Havilland on September 5, 2002 12:09 PM

Point taken. Both Britain and America are bastions of racial and ethnic harmony compared to much of the world. I was thinking of the recent elections in Oldham when I composed my above post, and the race riots that occurred in Bradford, Toxteth, and Brixton in recent years. Of course, we have had the Rodney King fiasco, and the events in Cincinnatti, Philadelphia, and New York. Compared to the genocide in the Balkans, in the middle East, and in Rwanda and Burundi, however, they pale into insignificance.

I find it appalling, however, at the swipe the authors took at the navy, since the military has been fully integrated in this country far longer than the civilian sector. The general tone of the article was something I'd expect from the Guardian or the Independent, not the Times.

When I am in the US, the shop in which I work, while 85% white, has three blacks (one female and two males) in charge, entirely unlike the picture painted in the Times article.

The number of factual inaccuracies and smears in the article would have been slanderous had they been directed toward a private individual. I am still shocked that the editor let such a piece run in a respected newspaper; even the New York Times would not have released such tripe.

posted by timekeeper on September 5, 2002 01:40 PM

Don't overestimate the NYT :).

posted by susanna on September 6, 2002 12:03 AM

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