"...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

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Tony Carr, the Ultimate Political Animal, Out PAs Public Affairs

I'll keep this short.  I have no idea about the details of who fired who, why, etc.  I do know that command is not a right, but a privilege and responsibility that is performed at the pleasure of those higher up the chain of command.

Tony Carr may be right that this firing, or that firing, were unethical decisions.  But Tony Carr is not to be trusted despite his mastery of media and his ability to sound objective by using phrases like "reportedly" and "some may think" while "others may have felt..."  In his latest blog post he provides a notably lengthy disclaimer about publicizing what he calls "hearsay," while in the very same article later saying, "Score of additional anecdotes indicating toxicity at Little Rock have been registered on social media outlets but will not be published here, at least until they have been corroborated."  He tries very hard to sound objective to his audience and he does it well, because his audience is largely as uninterested in truth as he is.  But he is no journalist.  He has an agenda.

I very much like the idea of citizens like Tony expressing opinions and keeping public servants under pressure for performance.  In fact you might say I love it.  But Tony is a horrible champion of "right" or officership or integrity or courage or honor.  And he is absolutely horrible as an example of public service.  He is simply a political animal, making a power play, executing a checklist to climb a ladder that he hopes will take him far above the general officers he lambasts.  He has no integrity, but he is one hell of a great spin doctor. 

Tony Carr has no problems casting aspersions at currently serving senior officers with, "To the extent General McDew has spent energy trying to marginalize and undercut JQP and others in his recent travels (as reports indicate), he is missing an opportunity to keep discussion flowing and pick up key signals from his people," while then turning around and banning, censoring, and deleting the discussion on his own blog to tidy it up like he's pruning a garden to present just-the-right appearance.  Which is that appearance that he desires.

Life's a garden, dig it.

He's a gifted politician still checking boxes on the outside with a healthy dose of ambition and insecurity, the two main ingredients of any massively destructive "leader" in uniform or out. His mentality is demonstrated by his statement, "As a commander, he gets an additional presumption of honor that other commanders are also supposed to enjoy."  Commanders have some "additional presumption of honor" because they are commanders?  That tidbit belies his professed point to talk about a leadership crisis in the service, as if he's anywhere in the realm of actually concerned about unethical action in our service.

That doesn't mean he's not right about his criticisms on who fired who and why.  Still he does, in my view, have a habit of lofting his insults toward senior officers with the precision of a drunken archer.  Yes, that's irony.  I am convinced Tony does so because he's more interested in his platform and his own career ambition than he is in expressing truth.   He is attempting to mass popular opinion, and he's doing so for a specific reason.  Himself.

Not public service.  If it were about public service instead of careerist ambition, I suspect Tony wouldn't have such an over-sized traumatic response to stories of squadron commanders getting fired.

Still, that doesn't mean he's wrong when discussing the decisions to remove squadron commanders.  He's also not wrong when he discusses a plague of unethical decision making in the military.  On that point he is correct.  But only because it serves his interests to be in this instance.

Officers need to be aware that picking one viper over another viper in a duel, does not make that one any less of a threat than the other.

But I will give him credit, he sure is giving Public Affairs a lesson in getting a message out.

Now let the masses in this service sing the praises of JQP.  If only they had a champion in a position of authority to reflect how wonderful and ethical and non-careerist and true to public service they are.  Those poor masses need a champion.  Oh, where ever will we find one?

1 comment:

  1. PYB, with your penchant for putting heat on Tony Carr I am surprised you haven't shared this as a contrast to what you say is his current politicking: http://www.charleston.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123306578

    Even if Allardice was a great leader WTF is the use of a sitting squadron commander using a PA Commentary piece to laude praises on a senior GO in his chain? This sure reads like a kind of crawling up the 3-star's ass, especially when you talk to other folks who were at Charleston while Allardice was OG there, especially his penchant for being in every publicity photo -- the type of things Carr expresses distaste for today. Perhaps for Mr. Carr there was more value in praising that cadre of AMC leadership back when he was on that side of the fence?