Monday, February 28, 2005

Spate of Pessimism

From Anonymous:

Recent posts and comments relating to Secretary Bodman's visit last Friday have given rise to a spate of pessimism. Some of the posts and comments might have been submitted by LANL management sympathizers, but more likely the oft-cited "Pete slapping Pete's back" incident, the "Pete slapping LANL staff around (get over it)" incident, and the rather pathetic showing LANL staff made when it came to the question and answer session are the cause for the new pessimism. I'm pessimistic myself: I have very little faith that an organization which would allow a screw-up of the magnitude that Nanos represents even has the ability to make things right, much less the desire. Given that, I'm still not willing to give up. At the very least, we should continue to try to get Nanos removed before he does even more damage. I like the letter that was in a comment to the post which gave Bodman's email address:
Dear Mr. Secretary:

Thank you for taking the time to visit LANL last Friday. You might be interested to know that you left a positive impression with the audience, perhaps even giving cause for some small rays of hope that our problems may soon start to be behind us. I do wish to say, however, that during the questions session there seemed to be a white elephant in the room that everyone (myself included) was afraid to talk about. That white elephant was this: most of us at LANL (Director Nanos and members of the SET apparently excluded) feel that it has been amply shown that the shutdown of last July was not justified. We feel that an accounting for that completely unnecessary and damaging act is required. We would like to take Senator Domenici's advice to "just get over it", but that will not be possible until Director Nanos is removed. Finally, to turn this into the question that nobody could apparently bring themselves to ask last Friday: why as that not been done yet? Why is Director Nanos still in charge of Los Alamos National Laboratory? He has lost our trust; he has lost our respect. By his continued presence he will lose us even more of our one precious resource, the talented people who used to take pride in working at Los Alamos. We have already seen far too many of our valued colleagues leave LANL because of Director Nanos.

If, in your considered judgment you decide that it is not possible to remove Director Nanos, could you please have the courtesy to tell us that, and to tell us the reason?


I think that if enough LANL staff voice this request to the new secretary, we might be able to salvage a bit of good.

I'd like to encourage some of the more angry voices here to be a bit patient with things. I very much doubt Nanos is going to be here much longer, but no official is going to stick out their neck to remove him now when the contract changeover represents a perfect opportunity to replace him.

Some of the comments here are becoming snarky and desperate. These don't serve our cause. Slow and steady wins the race. Keep your cool. Keep your reason. Keep giving voice to the truth and let the rest work itself out.

Ignore the Nanos groupies. They will blow away like chaff.
This is a very thoughtful and well-composed letter. It eloquently displays the same pathos and disappointment I felt following the visit of Secretary Bodman and Senator Domenici. However, we should not be surprised. History is full of examples of tyranny being patted on the back sometimes by well-meaning but deceived men and women.

Today I reread all the statistics and stories concerning Iraqis and Afghanis who risked their lives to vote for freedom and against tyranny. In light of their statement and the sacrifices of our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, I cannot see my agreeing "to just get over it."
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