Thursday, June 09, 2005

The party may rival LANL's

From Anonymous:

Adm. Steidle (ret) of NASA is going at end of the month. The party may
rival LANL's.


Why do we keep bringing these military guys in to run civilian scientific organizations? Private industry does not think very highly of upper level military management (except as "liasons" to valuable inside contacts). Why does the government continue to employ these people? The military is not exactly a shining example of efficiency, organization, or ingenuity.
Amen! See, for example, this article from the NYTimes

Arsenal of the Future
Arms Fiascoes Lead to Alarm Inside Pentagon

Published: June 8, 2005
Gosh, do admirals all go to the same class for drafting their "I'm-being-fired-but-let's-not-admit-it" letters? Admirals are not automatically capable of leading a laboratory any more that they are automatically capable of brain surgery. Why do some people think that a star on a shoulder board confers super intellect? The converse unfortunately is similarly not true. Super intellect does not confer a star. Fearing that Sun Tsu who was one of the most significant military geniuses of all time would quit thinking, the Emperor of Wu would not promote Tsu to the rank of general.

Of course, the fallacy and dangers inherent in stereotypical thinking is what this blog was about. The real truth is that not all admirals can lead a laboratory or even a horse to water but some can do both. Similarly not all Los Alamos scientists are cowboys or even potential Laboratory directors. Only a few reside in either catagory.
For all of you "young folks" reading the blog, I suggest you read President Dwight D. Eisenhower's 1961 Military-Industrial Complex speech which may be found at

From part IV of the speech are the sentences, "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist."

Only Congress can pass legislation keeping defense industries from hiring retired military and keeping retired military from double dipping in other governemnt jobs. Do not forget that Nanos believed that ALL returning retirees were "double dippers" of the worst kind yet he never saw himself as one.
The Mil/Ind complex is fully entrenched inside the Beltway. Since the law allowing military to keep pension while in Federal employ, pure civs are priced out. The mil subsidizes their own kind to keep full control.
Amazing! While many of you bloggers were in graduate school with a draft deference in hand, I was slugging around in the mud of the Mekong Delta. My boots would get so waterlogged that that grafted to my feet. Like most of us, our minds were numbed from seeing our comrades-in-arms getting blown to bits or perforated by punji sticks smeared with excreta. I had to retrieve their dog tags so we could inform their wives and children. I spent months on end separated from my own wife and children at time they needed me the most. Even as a young officer with a masters in physics, I was making less than the guy who picked up your garbage while the Congress worked hard to move more and more of my compensation into pay sectors that were not part of my retirement basis. So please don't talk about double dipping and neither should have our previous director.
Poster 7:11am

What is your point? By the way we lost in Nam.
We never lost a battle including the Tet Offensive so exactly what part of "we" are you talking about. The only loss I know about was a loss of political will and popular support for the war. Grantedly, the war should never have happened in the first place given the constraints on action imposed by the White House and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. Is this the "we" you (Poster 7:11am) were a part of.
Poster 6:57

Ok fine. We won all the battles,
whatever. We lost the war, they won. What more needs to be said. It was not one the United States better moments. Let us not repeat that mistake again. Oh maybe we already are?
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