Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Navy loses spine: capitulates to morons

Today on the following headline appeared:

Navy to Modify Barracks Complex that Resembles a Swastika From Air

This one's worthy of comment, so I'm quoting the entire story (don't have a cow... it's Fair Use). It leads off with a startling photo of a barracks complex at the Coronado Naval Air Station in San Diego, California.

CORONADO, Calif. — The Navy will spend as much as $600,000 to modify a 40-year-old barracks complex that resembles a swastika from the air, a gaffe that went largely unnoticed before satellite images became easily accessible on the Internet.

This wasn't a “gaffe”... it was a design feature, and a damned good one, as I'll point out in a moment.

The Navy said officials noted the buildings' shape after the groundbreaking in 1967 but decided against changing it at the time because it wasn't obvious from the ground. Aerial photos made available on Google Earth in recent years have since revealed the buildings' shape to a wide audience.

Ooooh, look at the phrasing. Makes it sound like just an unfortunate accident, doesn't it? Except that it was neither unfortunate, nor an accident. It's a swastika, alright. But ironically, here, in this context, it's not a symbol of hate. Keep reading and all will be revealed.

The Navy approved the money to change the walkways, landscaping and rooftop solar panels of the four L-shaped barracks, used by members of the Naval Construction Force at the Navy's amphibious base at Coronado, near San Diego.
"We don't want to be associated with something as symbolic and hateful as a swastika," Scott Sutherland, deputy public affairs officer for Navy Region Southwest, told the Los Angeles Times.

Gee, you should have thought about that before taking on the Germans in WWII.

Listen, folks, it's OK to be “associated” with a symbol of hate, so long as the association is clear that you are an enemy of those that the symbol represents. It's OK to be the enemy of Nazis, the enemy of the Ku Klux Klan, the enemy of terrorists. If you're in the military, and you're not readily identifiable as an enemy of our nation's enemies -- if that association is not clear -- then you're not doing your job, plain and simple. It's part of the oath. In fact, it's how the oath begins: “I... do solemnly swear, (or affirm), that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic... At least that's how it went when I took it.

Online commentators remarked widely about the buildings' resemblance to the Nazi symbol.

Yep. The 1:1 “resemblance”.

Dave vonKleist, host of "The Power Hour," a Missouri-based radio-talk show, said he wrote to military officials calling for action.
"I'm concerned about symbolism," he said. "This is not the type of message America needs to be sending to the world."

Looks like Dave vonKleist has a very narrow outlook. Otherwise he'd have broadened his view to see the Big Picture:

Yep. What you see coming from the SouthWest are two Allied bombers approaching the symbol of Nazi aggression and hate. Beyond the swastika you also see the aftermath: a ballfield tended so as to resemble a bombed out field. This isn't a symbol of hate in this context. Rather, it is a commemoration of past accomplishments and a promise for the future.

But according to Dave vonKleist, America doesn't need to send the message that the enemies of freedom will be met with deadly force. Does vonKleist has a soft spot in his heart for der Feuhrer, or does he just have a soft spot in his head?

The Navy decided to alter the buildings' shape following requests this year by Anti-Defamation League regional director Morris Casuto and U.S. Rep. Susan Davis.
"I don't ascribe any intentionally evil motives to this," Casuto said of the design. "It just happened. The Navy has been very good about recognizing the problem. The issue is over."

Yep. No evil motives. Only the purest motives of defense against tyranny. Of course, Casuto and Davis don't see that because they didn't look at the big picture either. Or perhaps this California Democrat just didn't want to see the big picture. By taking the image out of context, she found herself a very convenient way to target the military. While she votes for spending in her district (the NAS is a major presence in the 53 rd district, on broader issues she tends to vote against the military.

Out-of-control political correctness aside, there's nothing wrong with the swastika as it's portrayed here: a target of the defenders of justice. It was designed and erected by patriots, not sympathizers. However, the United States Navy, in a fit of mamby-pamby back-pedaling, characterizes this noble patriotism as “the problem.” It's a good damned thing our parents fought in WWII and not the present generation.

On the other hand, the issue IS over. These people are idiots. Case closed.


  1. I do agree with you in spirit, as I support the military, and political correctness is irritating, but I have a practical rebuttal:

    It's rather hard to see those building as airplanes. One has to be careful about how one uses powerful symbols like a swastika, they need equally powerful contrasting symbols to balance them, and in todays world, those planes don't quite cut it. I think it's convenient for the military to ascribe it as a mistake and for everyone to forget this one.

  2. Ice Cube, it is indeed convenient, which is why I characterized the Navy as having "lost spine".

    Nowhere in the report was there any mention of any official explanation from the Navy other than they "noticed the problem". In this case, a simple explanation early on most probably would have not only satisfied the detractors, but would have been a source of pride.

    I think your "practical rebuttal" would have been a lot more practical had anyone had the stones to open their mouths and simply explain the architecture rather than fold up like a house of cards as a first reaction. Then we would have gotten practical use out of the existing buildings rather than spending a practical fortune of the taxpayer's dollars unnecessarily to "correct" a mistake that didn't exist in the first place.

  3. Military barracks almost always have arms of some shape and courtyards for formations. It's a convenient shape, nothing more.

    It could be symbolic given the almost-planes to the southwest.

    It certainly is not some secret racist code supporting the Nazis, any more than calling 0bama "liberal" is a "code word" for "black."