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08 October 2012


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Hank Foresman

As I said, JM Hall is a "sacred space." I stood at Ray Charles' elbow there while he played and sang "Wha'd I Say?" and the Klinedienst painting of the charge of the cadet batallion looked down on the scene. JM Hall is the cathedral of the secular religion that is VMI. Thank god it was not used today. pl

Al Spafford

Romney speech at VMI called "most dishonest" via Slate:



I did not know that Pres. Eisenhower did not give credit to Marshall; Marshall gave credit for the idea of his great plan to his advisor and likewise great man - George Kennan. Kennan has seen first hand what the treatment of Germany after WW I brought about and advised not to repeat the same error (which was a totally diferent approach to the plan Morgenthau was proposing and pushing for). It is interesting, why would Eisenhower do that?



There is a general feature in life that condemns almost all of us to dislike those to whom we owe the most. Marshall was Eisenhower's great benefactor and mentor. When Pearl Harbor happened, Brigadier General Leonard Gerow was head of the ops section at the War Department. Marshall was out riding his horse around what is now Arlington Cemetery and could not be found. Marshall blamed Gerow for the delay, fired him and promoted Eisenhower into his position. Then, when someone had to go to England to head the planning staff for a 1943 invasion of Europe that did not happen, Eisenhower was picked by Marshall. Torch followed, then the planning staff for Overlord. Marshall was supposed to go to Europe to head the invasion with Eisenhower replacing him as CofS but FDR begged Marshall not to leave him alone in Washington surrounded by sharks. Marshall decided that Eisenhower should have the job. Then there was Eisenhower's dalliance with Kay Summersby. Marshall covered for him after counseling him about it. "Mamie is our friend" was the last line in the conversation. Soooo, when Marshall needed him, President Eisenhower walked away. Eisenhower could have destroyed McCarthy with a word, but he did not. pl

Babak Makkinejad

“If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and man.”

― Mark Twain

Clifford Kiracofe


Yes. IMO the Republican Party must drop the presently overwhelming Neocon dominance in foreign policy and return to some degree of "normalcy" of a Bob Taft-Ike sort.

The formerly influential types you mention could help. Personally, I would support folks such as Scowcroft and Gates to take over responsibilities for advising Romney. Romney must dump the Eliot Cohen's and other Neocons or we just have a GW Bush rerun without the fake Texas accent and Xanax facilitated cowboy delusions.

" And at Bnai Jeshurun, Kristol admitted playing a role in expelling members of the Republican Party he doesn't agree with."

In my book I analyze the penetration of the Republican Party by the Neocons, New Right, and Christian Right/Fundis. I saw this first hand.
"Dark Crusade" Christian Zionism and US Foreign Policy, London: IB Tauris, 2009).

William Fitzgerald

Pat Lang,

The Military College of S.Carolina has lent itself on more than a few occasions to Republican candidates hawking their wares. It seems to be about providing a background allowing said candidates to appear suitably military.



William Fitzgerald

What the Citadel chooses to do is of no interest to me. pl

Ishmael Zechariah

Off topic

Colonel Lang,

My apologies if you find this inappropriate. CHE has a a verbose article on the Naval Academy which has turned into a general discussion on military academies. This is very distantly related to the discussion here.


You and the regulars of your page might find the comments interesting.


Ishmael Zechariah


Call me Ishmael

I was a professor at WP and would generally agree with the article. As he notes VMI is a state college that happens to be military. This is quite a different beast. pl


"Fourths were not invited."

Even though the only kind of Rat Mitt will suffer is the neocon kind, he seems to be into some VMI traditions. The phone line between him and his sponsors is also called The Ratline. Or else it should.


I find this student on student 'leadership' system at the academies odd.

Contrast from Germany: When I did my military service we had "Fahnenjunkers", officer candidates, coming from officer schools, and spending time with service units, training commanding enlisted men as squad leaders in basic and advanced training for a couple months, under the adult supervision of officers and senior enlisted.

Such an arrangement probably makes sure that the showing off to peers by hazing juniors is limited to a minimum. After all, twenty-somethings are twenty-somethings, and having a 10 year service sergeant looking over their shoulder puts a lid on the worst kind of juvenile BS they might come up with otherwise.

Clifford Kiracofe


Well, given the dramatic shift in the polls, the door seems open for Romney to rethink this staffing. His wife and family want a change in the campaign approach. We will see indicators as the transition team is set into place. Should he win, then more indicators will appear in the composition of the transition team and staffing.

Right now with blood in the water, the sharks are circling for BHO and for the Neocons. The Neocons have many more enemies than they know, visible and invisible....

I hope that his visit to VMI will be a landmark on his road to Damascus, Biblically speaking. The positive reference to General Marshall may be a signal.



The sort of juvenile sadism of which you speak has been disappearing for decades now at undergraduate American military colleges. It has been weeded out by heads of these instututions that have come from the present day armed forces in which "hazing" is not allowed. training in the Army and USMC is difficult, especially in the elite forces, GBs, rangers, etc but it is not really sadistic. At the service academies and VMI the trend has been toward positive reinforcement as a training aid for a long time. If the training today seems harsh, it is because the youth of today have, in the main, been so coddled and spoiled that being expected to live an ordered life seems hard to them. pl


I was limiting my comment to the juvenile sadism part.

The part about positive reinforcement I agree with. In an army, drill is necessary. Sometimes the little sanctions like push-ups or doing some running are an excellent way to focus the mind of an absent minded or sloppy soldier (while contributing to physical fitness), even though at the time it does not appear that way on the receiving end.

To my chagrin my sergeant soon discovered that I liked the running part and switched over to push-ups. The bastard. Did wonders on my memory though.



At the same time one must remember that the service academies and VMI are highly rated national academic institutions. pl

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