Thursday, July 3, 2014

Naming military aircraft after hippies? Why not indeed…

At NRO, Ian Tuttle nicely dissects  Simon Waxman’s case of the vapors over this question. OK, not exactly this question, but another burning question: why it is we persist in naming bad ass birds after Native American tribes.

Waxman is among the stable of Solons at the Washington Compost. It is evident that he thinks the practice is deeply offensive to Kiowa, Lakota, Apache and Comanche.  Equally as evidently, he did not do his research as to the attitudes of these groups. Here is a typical example, from the post:

Army Regulation 70-28, dated April 4, 1969, made the tradition of conferring tribal names on military choppers official policy, and names are selected from a list provided by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. In 2012, American Indian leaders came out to ritually bless two new LUH-72 Lakota helicopters.

And more from Crispin (WOI) Burke on the long standing  perception of this tradition as honoring brave, courageous and tenacious warriors (perceptions, we must impress upon you, by the very tribes Waxman is so concerned with):

So what evidence do we have to suggest that Native Americans aren’t offended by the Army’s tradition? Take, for instance, the fact that Army Material Command actually gets approval from Native American tribes before naming its aircraft. That’s according to the Department of the Army’s Pamphlet 70-3, paragraph 1-11-4-g, for you sadists out there.

Still not convinced? Well, consider that some Native American tribes don’t just approve of the Army’s naming convention, they give their outright blessing—literally.

In 2012, Native American leaders were on hand to bless two brand new LUH-72 Lakota helicopters—named for the nation which handed the Army one of its most notorious defeats at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876.

The two helicopters, christened “Eagle” and “Turtle” for prominent Native American symbols, carry honor feathers in their cockpits, gifts from the tribe to the North Dakota National Guard.

A rudimentary Google search would have perhaps revived poor Mr. Waxman, he of the oh-so-finely- tuned moral sensibilities.

Now, Tuttle has some fun at Waxman’s expense:

Indians were not alone in placing a high premium on martial courage, of course. Until about the time Franklin and Penelope Rosemont started printing “Make Love, Not War” buttons and distributing them on the streets of Chicago in 1965, people tended to see war as an unavoidable part of the human condition, and it was a truth universally acknowledged that a society seeking to survive would need a sizable corps of men fierce enough to fight. Vergil, following Homer, sang “of arms” and the men who bore them.

But the progressivism that has flourished over the past half-century is not interested merely in eradicating war (a doomed, if well-intentioned, undertaking). It sees a self-evident evil in the martial virtues themselves. Progressives see not an America whose martial virtues have been exercised in defending and liberating but rather a jingoistic country that has used superior military force to conquer and brutalize. They would much prefer an army (if such a thing is necessary) of SNAGs: Sensitive New-Age Guys. American Indians such as Apache John, who embrace warrior glory rather than victim status, are not only unwelcome in the progressive vision but impossible. Like offensive team names, they need to be disappeared.

And, if you think that characterization is a bit over the top, reference the words of Waxman, who while deep in the throes of the vapors concerning America’s past, references Chomsky, the high priest of such vexation, as backup for his claims.

The destruction of the Indians was asymmetric war, compounded by deviousness in the name of imperialist manifest destiny. White America shot, imprisoned, lied, swindled, preached, bought, built and voted its way to domination. Identifying our powerful weapons and victorious campaigns with those we subjugated serves to lighten the burden of our guilt. It confuses violation with a fair fight.

It is worse than denial; it is propaganda. The message carried by the word Apache emblazoned on one of history’s great fighting machines is that the Americans overcame an opponent so powerful and true that we are proud to adopt its name. They tested our mettle, and we proved stronger, so don’t mess with us. In whatever measure it is tribute to the dead, it is in greater measure a boost to our national sense of superiority. And this message of superiority is shared not just with U.S. citizens but with those of the 14 nations whose governments buy the Apache helicopters we sell. It is shared, too, with those who hear the whir of an Apache overhead or find its guns trained on them. Noam Chomsky has clarified the moral stakes in provocative, instructive terms: “We might react differently if the Luftwaffe were to call its fighter planes ‘Jew’ and ‘Gypsy.’ ”

So, it is quite evident that the Native American groups take no offense, and actually are honored by the practice. Indeed tribes are active partners in the practice. Now, I suppose it is always open to Waxman, the Roaming Noam and others of the tribe of the ‘progressives’ to argue that these groups are in the throes of some deep seated denial, Stockholm syndrome or the like, in an effort to explain all of this away. But in making such a rhetorical move they open themselves up to charges similar to those they level at others; they engage in a sort of pseudo-psychotherapeutic imperialism if you will, knowing better than the poor vanquished  brown man, what is in fact better for him, his true valuations and interests. They would seem to be arrogating to themselves superior knowledge of the true thoughts, emotions, motivations and interests of the Native Americans that take part in this practice.

Be that as it may, there is simply no evidence that the tribes are offended. It seems that in his haste to capitalize on the Redskins brouhaha, Waxman, as others have done, has glommed on to the notoriety of the case in order to morally preen before his readership.

Now, to the point of this post:  I am disappointed that Tuttle failed to actually address the question that heads the post.  I can see no good reason NOT to name military aircraft, missiles, tanks & etc. after hippies. I think it’s a damn fine idea.  But, lest we too narrowly restrict our pool of candidates for honor, we should include the entire ‘progressive’ tribe. Yes, I know the term is imprecise, but we can use it to delineate those that share the overall view of Waxman/Chomsky, that, on the whole U.S. history is a lopsidedly bad story of exploitation, imperialism, genocide, etc..

Once we’ve supplanted or supplemented DOD with DOP, we can begin the purge, and institute the new naming regime.

Well, very clearly Howard Zinn and Chomsky need honoring. 

Zinn was a B-17 bombardier, so, obviously, we will need to name one of the two extant bomber aircraft after him. Since his prose is a bit less turgid than Chomsky’s, we’ll give him the B-2 Stealth Bomber.


Chomsky, precisely because his prose lumbers along, angrily growling at a low rumble, saturating his target with less than precisely delivered rhetorical munitions, will be assigned to the old reliable flying strato-fortress, the B-52.

How about derivative popularizers of the prog gospel?
There should probably be a large troop transport, a C-130 perhaps, that can proudly bear the moniker of Davison native, Michael Moore.
Hey Hey Hey! The Blue Angels need to freshen things up anyway.

And, lest we forget, Oliver Stone, who has rendered Zinn’s masterpiece cinematically, we’ll assign him the LGM-30 Minuteman, the last land based nuke missile in the arsenal, because of the obvious connection with JFK, and ‘Cuber,’ Ollie’s home away from home.

OK, now on to actual hippies.

Abbie Hoffman was by all accounts a loud and obnoxious guy. So he gets the McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II

Kind of a big loud middle finger ain't it?

Damn.  He’s a “yippie.” I know. I know.
OK, how about Donavan? That guy has the essence of hippy doesn’t he?
No. Not that Donavan, this one..
Mellow. Yellow. 
He reminds us of something relatively slow and easy, something one wants to get comfortable with. Yes, of course...
A trainer, the HawkerBeechcraft T-6B Texan II

It’s yellow after all.

Speaking of mellow dudes, you have to give John Sebastian something very slow and non-threatening and cloyingly saccharine.

Because he sings like a lark, he gets the LARC-V (Lighter, Amphibious Resupply, Cargo, 5 ton)

Note: It’s yellow, and it ain’t scarin’ anyone.

How about misunderstood I’m-only-aiming-to-destroy-property bomber boss Billy Ayers?  Sure his folks were building bombs chock full o’ nails nuts and bolts, but those were not intended as anti-personnel.  We can take him at his word, something of similarly innocuous intent is suited to him.

How about the SRBOC, or Mark 36 Super Rapid Blooming Offboard Chaff? It, as the name indicates, is a short range missile system that throws up shards of chaff, simply to confuse incoming missiles.  Harmless enough. Billy boy would approve.

How about wifey, Bernadine Dohrne, who thought what Manson’s group did with knives and forks was pretty darn hip?  Clearly, she deserves to be the first official name given to the M9 Bayonet.

Yes, I know, these two were less hippy, more yippie, but still in that broadly prog camp.

OK, that’s all I have.