Letters to the Editor

Subject: It Ain’t the Heat, It’s the Timidity [Summer 2003, Issue 12]

Just a point about good journalistic satire. When Patrick refers to the VIP duties of sailors as bullshit he’s only making friends with immoderate left-wing crackpots. Suggesting that an organisation which is built on discipline and is strictly hierarchical, the military, should not have to hail to the chief is the sort of unyielding bias that you’d expect from a pissed-off teen. Even when it’s a blatantly God-awful chief like Bush. I agree with the article, I find the article amusing and also agree that it is bullshit to keep sailors from going home just for the sake of a Republican publicity stunt, but suspect that any sailor who is unwilling to put on a show for his Commander in Chief really shouldn’t be in the Navy, or should perhaps never be allowed to leave. It’s a minor point, but such are the things that separate good satire from people just shooting their mouths off.

M. Williams
United Kingdom

Patrick Russell replies

Well, seeing as how I originally got that bit about the VIP duty being bullshit from a former member of the US military, I will take the left-wing crackpot label as a doubly-significant gift from young Master Williams. ;^)

The point my aforementioned comrade was making, and which I very likely failed to convey adequately, was that when he was in the military, the last thing he wanted to deal with was the insane amount of extra duty which always accompanies a visit from the brass (or, in this case, the Ass). Scrubbing and polishing every last rivet in every last nook and cranny of a remote boiler room on a ship where the VIP is certainly not going to be poking his nose in the first place is, as I’ve been told by this and several other former members of various military branches, the bane of a grunt’s/gob’s existence.

Now add to this the fact that these kids were on their way home from a war, and were within sight of their home port (and their families, etc.) when he came out for his little photo-op-laden publicity stunt, and were thus forced to pull VIP duty and sit at anchor for a couple extra days...

But then again, what sort of observations would you expect from a left-wing crackpot like me? ;^)

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