Defeat from within

The Bush team has made it very hard to fill jobs in the military, so recruiters have been scraping the bottom of the barrel, and the SPLC says they’ve been vacuuming up some real vermin. As about a third of the armed forces are racial minorities (here is some 2001 data), one speculates only with real alarm about the effect on military capacity when the services have been sprinkled with folks who think that third is the enemy and appropriate targets of deadly force.

If you wanted to profoundly sabotage military effectiveness, which is known to depend at bottom on mutual dependency and bonding among enlisted personnel (soldiers don’t fight and die for their country or abstractions, they fight and die for the guys next to them), could you do better than putting vipers like these skinheads and racists in uniform and turning them loose in the barracks?

Author: Michael O'Hare

Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley, Michael O'Hare was raised in New York City and trained at Harvard as an architect and structural engineer. Diverted from an honest career designing buildings by the offer of a job in which he could think about anything he wanted to and spend his time with very smart and curious young people, he fell among economists and such like, and continues to benefit from their generosity with on-the-job social science training. He has followed the process and principles of design into "nonphysical environments" such as production processes in organizations, regulation, and information management and published a variety of research in environmental policy, government policy towards the arts, and management, with special interests in energy, facility siting, information and perceptions in public choice and work environments, and policy design. His current research is focused on transportation biofuels and their effects on global land use, food security, and international trade; regulatory policy in the face of scientific uncertainty; and, after a three-decade hiatus, on NIMBY conflicts afflicting high speed rail right-of-way and nuclear waste disposal sites. He is also a regular writer on pedagogy, especially teaching in professional education, and co-edited the "Curriculum and Case Notes" section of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. Between faculty appointments at the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, he was director of policy analysis at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. He has had visiting appointments at Università Bocconi in Milan and the National University of Singapore and teaches regularly in the Goldman School's executive (mid-career) programs. At GSPP, O'Hare has taught a studio course in Program and Policy Design, Arts and Cultural Policy, Public Management, the pedagogy course for graduate student instructors, Quantitative Methods, Environmental Policy, and the introduction to public policy for its undergraduate minor, which he supervises. Generally, he considers himself the school's resident expert in any subject in which there is no such thing as real expertise (a recent project concerned the governance and design of California county fairs), but is secure in the distinction of being the only faculty member with a metal lathe in his basement and a 4×5 Ebony view camera. At the moment, he would rather be making something with his hands than writing this blurb.

5 thoughts on “Defeat from within”

  1. "The groups are being abetted, the report said, by pressure on recruiters, particularly for the Army, to meet quotas that are more difficult to reach because of the growing unpopularity of the war in Iraq."
    I'm having trouble reconciling this statement with this other one that I came across. They both can't be right.
    "The Army goal for re-enlistments for fiscal year 2006 was for 40,000 soldiers to extend their active duty commitments. With four months remaining in the fiscal year, they have already exceeded their goal of 40,000 and may have to go back to Congress for authorization to exceed their force structure manning limitations. Since Congress has been pontificating for the past couple of years that the Army is woefully under strength, that should not pose any difficulty."

  2. "Recruiting shortfalls caused by the war in Iraq have allowed "large numbers of neo-Nazis and skinhead extremists" to join the military, a watchdog group said."
    As I understand, this amounts to a press release from the SPLC. It's hard for me to confirm this, as a non-subscriber, but the claims do seem to mirror this SPLC press release:
    Past experience leads me to take any claims made by that lot with a great deal of salt….

  3. This is news? The services have been filled with these people for decades, hence the law banning them.

  4. That would be the same army that won't recruit people like Jeff Gannon. Except they did. Or did they? Was he really a soldier or did he just play one in (censored and deleted).
    Shadows and fog.
    I can tell you, though, that minorities are not amused by rascists. On the surface they may act politely, but inside they dislike rascists. As do I.

  5. This is of a piece with the widely reported presence of street-gang members in the military. I assume the same factors are at work.

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