Saturday, July 12, 2008

Army Censors CPT G

Thankfully, I've put a disclaimer on this blog, so I can sound off with just what I feel about this. Please insert the sound of someone cursing incoherently for about two minutes, as I don't want to foul up my blog with it, but that is exactly what I'm thinking right now.

For those of you who weren't aware, there was a cav officer, pseudonym LT G. He was a great officer and a great blogger, over at Kaboom: A Soldier's War Journal. He followed OPSEC rules, and didn't post about missions. When he was offered the position of Company XO, however, he turned it down.

His superiors didn't take it so kindly, and when he posted about it, he was ordered to delete his entire blog-going back years-and to cease posting at all.

In honor of CPT G, the post that caused all the commotion has been reproduced here in full.

I’d brushed aside the informal inquiries for months now. No, not me. Not interested. Keep me on the line. I want nothing to do with a lateral promotion to XO (Executive Officer) that involves becoming a logistical whipping boy and terminal scapegoat for all things NOTGOODENOUGH. I’ve been out here in the wilds too long, dealing with matters of life and death, to go back to Little America for PowerPoint pissing matches. Not me. I’m that too skinny, crazy-eyed mustang who drives a hippie van with a McGovern bumper sticker and keeps his hair long and actually read the counterinsurgency manual rather than pretending he did, even quoting it during meetings and out in sector in this era of recentralized warfare, remember? You aren't gonna break me, no matter how enticing the fires of the FOB are.

Semper Gumby.

I guess they forgot, and instead focused on matters of competency. Cue outright offer.

Cue LT G “thanks but no thanks” response.

Cue illogical backlash from higher, acting like a spurned teenage blonde whose dreamboat crush tells her point-blank that he prefers brunettes.

Q finding myself on the literal and metaphorical carpet of multiple field-grades, sometimes explaining, sometimes listening.

Mostly listening.

Yes, Sir. I’m getting out. No, I’m sure. Definitely sure. Surer than sure. What am I going to do? Don’t tell him Option A, he’ll scoff at Option A. He believes dreams are only for children. Option B will suffice. Well Sir, I’m going to go back to school, somewhere on the East Coast. Haven’t decided if I’ll focus on the Spanish Civil War or Irish History yet, though. I think I’d be a pretty good wacky professor. I already like to ramble and I look good in banana yellow clip-on ties. Sir.

No, Sir. I’m not saying that at all. I would absolutely bust my ass as an XO, and perform the job to the best of my ability. I’m just saying I’d be screwing a peer of mine, who is staying in, and could use this professional development, benefiting both him and the big Army in the long run. Uncle Sam agrees with me.

No Sir, I don’t think I’m selling myself short. Recognizing one’s own weaknesses isn’t a weakness in and of itself. Crushing balls is only my thing with people who aren’t wearing an American uniform.

If I throw enough clutter in the way, something will stick.

This is the Army, son. Your opinion doesn't matter.

Roger. Acknowledged. I figured I'd proffer it, just in case.

You need to start thinking big picture, Lieutenant. That’s what officers do.

I roll out of the wire everyday to bask in a third-world cesspool craving my attention for nothing more than the most basic human need -- hope. Is there a bigger picture than that, or just different vantage points from safer distances?

Yes Sir, I will remember to think things out more rationally next time. (Pause long enough to make the point that this was already a well-thought out decision.) Of course. Sir.

No Sir, this isn’t just because I want to stay with my platoon. (Maintain eye contact so he doesn’t think you’re lying, for the love of God, maintain eye contact!) I won’t lie though, Sir -- it was a factor. Just not my motivation.

Nice work, liar.

Another reason? Well, Sir, two of my best friends in the world are LT Virginia Slim and LT Demolition. If I were to become their XO, I would be extremely uncomfortable with possibly having to order them and their men to their deaths. As their peer, I should be right there next to them. Hell, I probably would insist on it.

Yes, I know that was a good point. Don’t say that out loud. Don’t say that out loud. Phew. That was a close one. I almost out-louded rather than in-loaded.

Yes Sir, I have full confidence in my platoon to be able to succeed without me. SFC Big Country would be more than capable of performing the job of a platoon leader. But he’s an NCO. He shouldn’t have to deal with lieutenant bullshit. That’s my bullshit to deal with. I’m the soldier’s buffer. (Cough. From you. Cough.) If a butterbar were here, I’d understand. That’s the natural order of things. But since an opening occurred without a backlog, I really strongly really definitely really definitively believe that it should go to a LT who wants it. Hell, there are some of them out there who NEED it. Aren’t I being a team player here?

The ballad of a thin man walking a thin rope. Moonwalking a thinly-veiled rejection of his superiors’ life decisions. Wondering why they are taking it personally. People are different. They want different things out of existence. Let’s not act like I’m a ring of Saturn stating the case that Pluto’s planethood should be reconfirmed.

Don’t fall on your sword, Lieutenant. No one likes a martyr.

Can’t help it, I’m Irish. And. Yes. They do.

Fine, I’m not going to make you do it. (Even though I spent three days trying to do so.) But you are now on my shit-list, and I want to fuck you over for daring to defy and defying to dare. A bullshit tasking will eventually come down the pipeline, and I got a rubber stamp with your name on it. And yes, I know your performance has been outstanding, and we have consistently rated you above your peers, at the top echelon. Doesn’t matter now.

You’re right. It doesn’t. Doesn’t matter at all. Even if I’ve only haggled a few more months with the Gravediggers, it was worth it; I came here to fight a war, not to build a resume. My men need me. And. I need them. It would have been worth it for a few more days.


Mustangs don’t blink.

You know where we learned how not to?

It wasn’t behind a desk.

Every day of free-roaming makes it worth it.

Don't worry, folks. Somewhere, there's an archive of all formerly-LT-G's postings. I'm not posting the link, but you can email me for it. I don't want the Army to shut that down, too. His writings are truly a marvel. Also, his fiance is now blogging from his old spot.

But I really hate this. CPT G wasn't IVAW. He wasn't even aggressively political. He wasn't even really against the war, other than some things about how it played out. They didn't censor him for some great plan. They censored him for petty, petty reasons-that they were upset that they looked like the petulant children they truly were.

My props to you, CPT G, and all the best. I understand that you are the type who will follow that order, no matter how BS it is. Hopefully they will soon see the error of their ways.

For the rest of you: keep blogging!


Earl said...

LtG is now a Captain, and is still a great officer and has shut down and destroyed all his blog and such like he was told to by THE POWERS THAT BE silly and such. City Girl has posted the story of Hotwheels and he and the Gravediggers and all our service people need our prayers and support - even THE POWERS THAT BE silly and such - since independent thought and courage are sadly lacking. Pray on and go gently...

Shauna said...

While you have posted the post that apparently got CPT G ordered to shut down his blog, he never says it was because he wouldn't accept the XO position. Here is the direct quote from his blog the day he informed us he had to stop posting (below). I get from this that it was more because he didn't have his post screened by the "higher ups" as usual before posting. Some who left comments did imply it may have been some sort of retaliation for not accepting the XO position, but in an effort to be totally forthright about the entire situation, you need to also read this from CPT G, and not just assume it was because of the XO turn-down. Afterall, turning down the XO position obviously didn't prevent LT G from getting his promotion! Here's LT/CPT's quote:

"Friday, June 27, 2008
A Tactical Pause

Due to a rash posting on my part, and decisions made above my pay-grade, I have been ordered to stop posting on Kaboom, effective immediately. Though I committed no OPSEC violations, due to a series of extenuating circumstances – the least of which was me being on leave – my “The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide is Press Coverage” post on May 28 did not go through the normal vetting channels. It’s totally on me, as it was too much unfiltered truth. I’m a soldier first, and orders are orders. So it is."

Army Sergeant said...

*nods to Shauna* The only reason I'm not buying that is because the post in question contains nothing that would have to be screened. Anything relating to mission, sure, but there is nothing that could expose anyone in the Army in what was said, and there are a /lot/ of other bloggers who weren't being as conscientious as to get every post approved in advance. I'm highly, highly suspicious.

Shauna said...

That being said (my previous comment), I agree there was more to this whole shut down than just not getting the post screened--but I doubt CPT G was going to elaborate on those details in his final post! As has been said, no OPSEC was violated. And quite honestly--I'M SUSPICIOUS TOO!! Some are encouraging CPT G to write a book when he gets out, and in it, to not hold anything back, including naming names! Regardless, it's such an unfair shame he had to stop posting!!

tankerbabelc said...

CPT G's blog was one in a million. A million curses on the officer who shut him down.

Hopefully he is still writing and when he returns from this deployment we will all have volumns to read. He is one incredible writer.

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