What a lot of people don’t understand about why Captain Brett Crozier was relieved of his command of the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt is that the Pentagon was required to reprimand him over the letter he sent to several people, some of whom were outside of his chain of command. One of those people leaked the letter to the San Francisco Chronicle (his hometown paper) and the rest, as they say, is history.
We can, and should, go after the Pentagon and president for not responding to his request to isolate 90% of his crew on Guam due to a COVID-19 outbreak on his ship. Besides keeping the ship from being ready for service, having a large number of Sailors and Marines sick from such a debilitating and deadly disease put the rest of the crew at risk as well.
Any ship of the fleet is a petri dish for this pandemic, but one with nearly 5,000 aboard, that could be catastrophic. The idea that the Navy had to keep the ship on its mission was incredibly harmful to readiness and the health and wellbeing of sailors throughout the fleet.
That said, the rules — laws — set down by the Uniform Code of Military Justice say the captain needed to press his case within his chain of command. Good discipline depends on that chain of command. The captain understands that so when he let his letter make its way to someone that could and did leak it to the media Captain Crozier knew the consequences of his actions.
There was a price to pay for standing up for his crew. It was a noble act to try and save the crew of the Theodore Roosevelt and he knew it would cost him his command and any chance for further promotion. In many respects Captain Crozier was heroic.
This is where I part company with the good captain: after he was relieved of command and the ship pulled into Guam, he gathered a large portion of the crew onto a crowded hangar deck in order to address them. Well, the social distancing guidelines were not observed in the least and that last act aboard his former ship looked like an act of self-aggrandizement that put his crew at more risk of getting and spreading COVID-19.
While I applaud the captain for trying to save his crew, over 500 of whom tested positive for coronavirus, it was a terrible idea to have hundreds of crewmembers crowded together on a hangar deck for his heartfelt goodbye. He should have been looking for ways to keep his former crew safe. Get on the 1MC and broadcast throughout the ship and quietly take that walk to the dock.
The military had to relieve him of command. If they let Captain Crozier slide, then they would look squishy on the backbone of the military’s code of conduct. Regardless of how ignorant they looked after it was revealed they didn’t want to take a frontline aircraft carrier offline over a deadly disease.
Now the president wants to make it worse by reinstating the captain. He reversed the military’s disciplinary process once before when he reinstated a Navy SEAL who had been convicted of war crimes. If he diminishes the UCMJ any further the law book for the military could lose its power. It would be better if the president and the Pentagon worked on fighting the virus in the military and put the Crozier affair behind them, but Trump is Trump so he will make it worse.
Then of course there is that dumb fuck of an acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly who flew to Guam to tell the crew of the Theodore Roosevelt their former captain was “stupid.” He also took political shots at the media and former Vice President and current presidential candidate Joe Biden.
Would you like to know what is actually stupid? Besides calling a career officer stupid and making political hay with the military? Not quarantining that entire crew, squadrons included, to separate the infected from the healthy before sending the ship back out on its mission.
The military has a lot of faults, not the least of which is that it is far too large. But it puts too much emphasis on the weaponry and support equipment and not enough on the personnel. Service members and their families now have to pay co-pays for health care, for instance. It doesn’t have enough housing for all those service members with families and you’ll find many barracks to be old and without adequate heating, with no air conditioning. Not every service member is a Navy SEAL, Army Ranger or Marine Recon. Just for the record Recon Marines are off the hook crazy. It’s a requirement I think. Semper Fi mofos.
As the last reward for his heroic act Captain Brett Crozier has been diagnosed with COVID-19. As Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) said in The Matrix, “Fate, it seems, is not without a sense of irony.”
I wish Crozier and his former crew the best and hope they all recover completely from the disease. It sucks he had to sacrifice his career to get the attention of his bosses. The fact that a ship’s captain had to sacrifice his career to save his crew tells us there is a serious problem at the top of that chain of command. The joint chiefs need to get their heads out of Trump’s ass and start looking after the well-being of their personnel.
On the bright side, Modly has resigned.
While we were all focused on COVID-19, as we should, the Trump Administration and their GOP toadies have been fast at work dismantling environmental protections and democracy. Case in point: The Wisconsin primary.
Governor Tony Evers, Democrat, tried to protect his constituents, who are living under a stay-at-home decree, by moving the primary to June and then by extending the deadline for mail-in ballots. But the Republicans that control the Wisconsin legislature opposed both actions and then the state and U.S. Supreme Courts backed up the GOP’s position on the matters. This put Wisconsin voters in the position of choosing between protecting their health, or exercising their franchise to vote. Of course Trump lied when he said mail-in ballots are for cheats. It’s only happened one time in recent history, in North Carolina by a Republican candidate.
It should surprise no one that the courts met via electronic means since getting together in person would be risky business.
Attorney General William Barr tried to get a rule passed in the CARES Act that would allow the courts to hold someone without bail and held indefinitely without a hearing if a judge decides that “a natural disaster, civil disobedience or other emergency situation” interferes with court operations. It was opposed by both parties.
In late March Trump stripped one of the oldest tribes in America, the Mashpee Wampanoag, of their native designation, taking away the 300-plus acres controlled by the tribe. Why would the president, through the Bureau of Indian Affairs, do that? To stop the tribe from building a resort-casino. He’s taking tribal status away from a native nation that has lived on the land for more than 12,000 years.
The administration has taken much of the EPA’s enforcement away from the agency plus it is limiting what science the agency can use in regards to its daily work. The Department of the Interior also removed the protected status of the sage grouse on top of selling millions of acres of public land for oil and mineral exploration.
Your president hard at work, all but ignoring the coronavirus pandemic and further destroying the land and air with its anti-environment policies. He’s mad at the inspector general of the House and Human Services Department for saying there is a big shortage of much needed PPE and ventilators around the nation, after claiming every doctor was happy with the situation.
He’s going after the W.H.O. claiming the organization is China-centric, which gives Trump the opportunity to prattle on — again — about how he closed the borders to China. For the record: Trump closed down the pandemic fighting agencies in the U.S. and stopped funding the W.H.O.’s emergency pandemic fighting group.
Trump also gets to take another shot at Joe Biden and the Morning Joe crew. Trump just claimed he’s helping the African American community a lot during this pandemic. Studies have shown that poor communities and communities of color are being hit harder by COVID-19.
The man is a shameless liar and dispenser of dangerous misinformation.
Currently the United States has 392,285 coronavirus cases and 12,627 deaths. New Jersey is now the second most afflicted state in the nation with 41,090 cases and 1,003 deaths. California has over 16,000 cases with 319 deaths.
On the bright side Governor Gavin Newsom says the stay-at-home order and social distancing are having a positive impact on the disease in the state. In his public address on the coronavirus Newsom said, “That curve continues to rise, just not at the slope that was originally projected without the kind of interventions, these non-pharmaceutical interventions like physical distancing have provided.”
Just being reported: Months ago one of his top advisors, Peter Navarro, was telling Trump the coronavirus would be the deadliest pandemic in history, but as we saw Trump dismissed the pandemic as a hoax and then a not so serious flu.
Donald J. Trump is the number one existential crisis facing the planet.
Top photo is a YouTube screenshot of Captain Brett Crozier leaving the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt
Tim Forkes started as a writer on a small alternative newspaper in Milwaukee called the Crazy Shepherd. Writing about entertainment, he had the opportunity to speak with many people in show business, from the very famous to the people struggling to find an audience. In 1992 Tim moved to San Diego, CA and pursued other interests, but remained a freelance writer. Upon arrival in Southern California he was struck by how the elected government officials and business were so intertwined, far more so than he had witnessed in Wisconsin. His interest in entertainment began to wane and the business of politics took its place. He had always been interested in politics, his mother had been a Democratic Party official in Milwaukee, WI, so he sat down to dinner with many of Wisconsin’s greatest political names of the 20th Century: William Proxmire and Clem Zablocki chief among them. As a Marine Corps veteran, Tim has a great interest in veteran affairs, primarily as they relate to the men and women serving and their families. As far as Tim is concerned, the military-industrial complex has enough support. How the men and women who serve are treated is reprehensible, while in the military and especially once they become veterans. Tim would like to help change that.