SWMBO and I have agreed to split the chores around here. She, for example, mows the dooryard with the little rotary mower every four or five days when the weather is like it is now; I mow the rest of the lawn with the diesel tractor. She does the laundry; I rebuild the back porches. She complains to her friends about all the things I have to do; I blog.
Muttering is time honored. There has never been a time that a soldier — or a husband — didn’t sit around a campfire and complain about working conditions.
Sometimes, “I find myself on the receiving end of little burst of off-the-record trash talk,” David Brooks wrote in the NYTimes when he took a former Vermonter to task for reporting about Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s kvetching.
Imagine that. A soldier might complain about the yo-yos in his or her chain of command. Why, I simply can’t conceive the conversations between Hannibal (the Grace of Baal)’s conscripts when they had elephant duty. Except I reckon the language would have been … salted peanuts in nature. Used salted peanuts.
“General McChrystal was excellent at his job,” Mr. Brooks wrote. “He had outstanding relations with the White House and entirely proper relationships with his various civilian partners in the State Department and beyond. He set up a superb decision-making apparatus that deftly used military and civilian expertise.”
Then he called the boss a poopyhead.
Liberals, afraid of most dangers in their minds and unaware of most dangers in real life, have this mantra:
Words and poems can break my bones
But IEDs can never hurt me.
“I welcome debate among my team, but I won’t tolerate division,” Barack Obama said, showing his pettiness, his despottery, and his complete lack of understanding of either military or family life, as he relieved Gen. McChrystal as commander of American forces in Afghanistan. As an aside, I don’t think Mr. Obama or Mr. Bush before him fired enough generals. Generals need to be nervous. Generals need to work miracles or they need to get out of the way.
So far, Gen. McChrystal did seem to be doing a better job than Gen. Bluggett. Doesn’t matter. The words around the campfire haven’t changed much.
But they will. Our army (every army) does two things very, very well: eat and gripe.
Mr. Obama had the opportunity to treat the General’s campfire griping with grace. By not doing so, he put every soldier on notice that the chain of command will punish them the first time they get caught griping.
Scary stuff, that. Scary that the Despot in Chief doesn’t understand morale in the ranks.
Mr. Brooks thinks, “The culture of exposure has triumphed, with results for all to see.”
He’s only half right.
If we all got fired for kvetching, there wouldn’t be a marriage — or a soldier — left standing.