"...do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic..."

"For the good of the Air Force, for the good of the armed services and for the good of our country, I urge you to reject convention and careerism..."
- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Maxwell AFB, April 21, 2008

"You will need to challenge conventional wisdom and call things like you see them to subordinates and superiors alike."
- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, United States Air Force Academy, March 4, 2011

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Finally, a One on One Debate with Tony Carr


It started with a post over on the Martial Matters facebook page about Tony's choice to use a picture of Colonel John Boyd as his facebook avatar.  Tony responded and with some serious vigor.

I want to thank Tony Carr for the John Q. Public discussion, which he chose not to engage in previously after promising we would have such a public debate.  The insults and the barbs are not a problem, I am quite secure in my position and in my character, and what matters to me is a dialogue.

Having a thick skin is actually very important in my book, and not simply by claiming you have one.  Much like supporting and defending the Constitution is not achieved simply by mumbling some words.

It was interesting to be called a traitor to my nation by retired Lt Col Carr, even if his definition of traitor resembled nothing of the actual meaning of treason and was simply an insult in a rubber-gluck-stick-to-you kind of way.  He knows better than to the lob that description at me.  He knows better than most, but he doesn't let that stop his attempts to insult.

It was an interesting conversation where Tony said he did not know whether or not it would be illegal for Congress to pass a law prohibiting the free exercise of religion, a theme he has championed previously as he remarked that our Constitution contains no rights that are "inviolate."  Still, he seems to be either coming around in an awkward clunky kind of way, or he's just throwing out differing and inconsistent opinions.

At any rate, communication and dialogue (rather than censoring and banning and avoiding conversation) is the most important part of the discussion of ideas.  It does require a thick skin.  Just like in a crew aircraft, the important thing is that crewmembers get the message out.  It doesn't have to be polished, or polite although that is a useful skill.  It has to get out and in a timely fashion.  It's up to the aircraft commander, the decision maker, to evaluate the comments for truth while allowing the venom not to sting (saving it for the debrief), to find and utilize what truth might be there for the sake of mission accomplishment while above terra firma.  That takes security and an openness for disagreement.

I'm glad to see Tony Carr engage on my public Facebook page.

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