Navy Captain Sunk by Videos

Screenshot courtesy of US Navy

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


…Aaaand we have closure, kinda sorta. The Navy fired Captain Owen Honors, skipper of the USS Enterprise, for those imprudent “morale” videos he cut a few years back as the ship’s second in command. Spencer Ackerman at Danger Room sums up what was at stake for an eminently qualified combat commander whose sense of humor wasn’t in the service’s spirit of honor, courage, and commitment.

I still have one unanswered question, which is: Where was the ship’s old skipper, Captain Lawrence Rice, when his right-hand man was going all Coco on the camera (minus the funny, plus sexism and homophobia)? Rice, the one man who could have counseled Honors on prudence, apparently never did…perhaps because he was a member of the Navy’s last total fraternity: the all-male Naval Academy class of ’79 (“last class with balls,” they call themselves). And now Rice is an admiral, assisting former Iraq commander Gen. Ray Odierno in forming military-wide joint startegy and policy. Nothing succeeds like excess.

Not much else to add here, except that Honors’ defrocking has been an interesting learning lesson and opener of dialogue on what all Americans, liberal or conservative, want their military to be. Regardless of where you sit on the political spectrum, you probably expect service members not only to be professional about their military missions: You expect them as well to uphold some sort of moral example to their shipmates and subordinates. My previous post on Movie Night-gate led to a lively discussion between commenters who have very different visions of an officer’s moral responsibilities. And as Ackerman and Foreign Policy‘s Tom Ricks recently pointed out, the US has sort of slipped away from its longstanding tradition of holding admirals and generals (and captains and colonels) to account for failings of all sorts. So, even if you’re hopping mad at the “politically correct” brouhaha surrounding Honors’ sophomoric video scripts, enjoy the fact that we as a society are again talking about what is and isn’t acceptable behavior in the commander of a nuclear-powered floating airbase.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate