Tuesday, July 19, 2011

This is Not Over

Today felt old stirrings.  A captain was enthusiastically telling us about a leadership book.  Obviously the book made little difference to me, since I cannot remember the title.  Apparently it's all the rage with commanders.  Anyway... reading Obama's Wars offers such a complex variety of insights, I am appalled we didn't have to read this at the Academy.  It offers so much more breadth and depth on the decision making of this country, that would have helped fuel and foster good conversation in our officership class as opposed to the pointless thinking exercises with incomplete information.  For example the GEN McChrystal case... reading this book is making me reexamine my original evaluation.  I think overall my evaluation has not changed, but I have so much more food for thought on the broad and complicated problem that faces our nation and military forces today.

The other familiar old feeling came when this same captain was referring to Gates of Fire and how it's the ultimate leadership book, blah blah blah, he made all his Lieutenants read it.  It's about the Battle of Thermopylae and the men who fought in it.  While I'm sure it's a great book, just like Black Hearts, which the captain also mentioned, I wanted to point out that we needed a modern book that highlighted the women leaders who are participating in battle right now.  Or we need a historical fiction book about the Arabian Battle Queens, or Joan of Arc.  He talked about how impressive the training was, how it just beat you down and getting back up the description he said was inspiring.  Well, sir, how would you like the same feeling with societal convention?  Want to feel like your a fish out of water?  Like what you're doing is unusual for your gender?  Like you get hit with or have to hear a stereotype describe your peers?  It may not be the physical brutality that you're so in awe with, but women face a challenge and an unregulated indoctrination process as harrowing as that which you've described.  Also, with all the book's accuracy how come you don't know a damn thing about Spartan women and the training they had to undergo or the rights that they had (though few) or the cultural nuances that affected women.  Why do you men give me a blank stare if I ask you, what about the women?  I guess the unspoken question in your minds which saddens me is, "What about them?"

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