Dismissal of Lewd vidoes commander raises questions of military enforcement of unacceptable behavior

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    Jan 05, 2011 3:19 AM GMT
    "WASHINGTON — The Navy brusquely fired the captain of the USS Enterprise on Tuesday, more than three years after he made lewd videos to boost morale for his crew, timing that put the military under pressure to explain why it acted only after the videos became public.

    Senior military officials said they were trying to determine who among Navy leaders knew about the videos when they were shown repeatedly in 2006 and 2007 to thousands of crew members aboard the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.

    An investigation by U.S. Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk, Va., also is seeking to determine whether Capt. Owen Honors was reprimanded at the time.

    The episode has raised serious questions about whether military leaders can behave badly so long as the public doesn't find out.

    The Pentagon said the disciplinary system isn't foolproof but generally works.

    "There are always going to be people do things they shouldn't," said Marine Corps Col. Dave Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman. "They will be held accountable."

    Yet Honors was set to deploy with the USS Enterprise this month as the ship's commander when The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk obtained videos he made three and four years ago as the carrier's executive officer. Honors, who took command of the ship in May, appears in the videos using gay slurs, simulating masturbation and staging suggestive shower scenes.

    ....

    No leaders in senior posts at the Pentagon and in the Navy could explain why, if Honors' conduct was so questionable, he was promoted after the videos aired. Last week, the Navy said the videos were intended merely as "humorous skits" and stopped airing immediately after other senior officers became aware of them. ... "

    The Huffington Post

    So it's a policy of NPND ... Not Public, No Discipline. .... And these are the people O has planning the implementation! ... icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Jan 05, 2011 3:38 AM GMT
    Wait a second, and feel free to correct me if I'm wrong here, but wasn't the video and anti-gay video? So if one were to speak out against it the military could just say "well you're a homo" and kick them out?
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    Jan 05, 2011 4:26 AM GMT
    JAKEBENSON saidWait a second, and feel free to correct me if I'm wrong here, but wasn't the video and anti-gay video? So if one were to speak out against it the military could just say "well you're a homo" and kick them out?

    No, they were pretty equal opportunity offensive videos. Plus your hypothetical objection doesn't hold up for his promotion review board. They could have questioned his judgment then. These videos were known to the navy. They only acted on them when they became public. Hence the questioning of naval discipline.
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    Jan 05, 2011 11:25 PM GMT
    This idea that offending someone is justified for public entertainment, is the same idea that bullies use to justify their behavior. Public humiliation of others is not "entertainment". It is not harmless humour. It is bullying and harassment.

    The guy is a senior officer. He should have had the judgment to act professionally. He didn't do that, so he had to go.

    Calling anyone who wishes to complain anonymously, "gutless" is a most telling fact about Capt Honor's social ineptitude. This makes it clear that he doesn't understand that someone of inferior rank would quite rationally worry about retribution that might result from openly calling into question the judgment of one's superiors.

    As a leader, the standards of his conduct needed to be higher.
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    Jan 05, 2011 11:34 PM GMT
    UpperCdn said
    With the repeal of DADT, new regulations relevant to the policy directive will be put in place, and they will be enforced under the code of military justice.



    But does the law allow for the retroactive application of new laws?
  • DiverScience

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    Jan 05, 2011 11:48 PM GMT
    UpperCdn saidThe military is a culture apart from civilians. That does mean if questionable conduct does not become public it can be be overlooked, as long as no military regulations are violated. No actual regulations were violated, so no military discipline was called for. But once brought to public attention, public exposure cast the military in a bad light and then brass cannot ignore it by simply sticking to the letter of military law.

    With the repeal of DADT, new regulations relevant to the policy directive will be put in place, and they will be enforced under the code of military justice.



    Not *quite* true. They could have gotten him for Conduct Unbecoming if they wanted. They weren't required to (it's usually something they hold in reserve for if they want to throw the library at you) but they could have.
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    Jan 05, 2011 11:59 PM GMT
    The sad thing is with superior officers if they are doing wrong it's a bit more difficult to seek recourse if the group or unit is in deployed status. I can't speak for the navy but when I was deployed with the Air Force our troop commander made some disparringing (sp?) towards females and as he was an O-6 Colonel he was in-effect "the law" and really couldn't be touched. Technically yes he could be punished, but the female which were offended didn't take his remarks too horribly and they didn't want to make their deployment harder than what it was. That's what possibly happened with the navy cmdr in this story.