DEFENDING AMERICA
David H. Hackworth
July 16,1996

A LITTLE TALK WITH JOHN PAUL JONES

Ahoy, Hack!"

A salty voice boomed out of my 18th-century sailing frigate model, a replica of Bon Homme Richard.

Thinking "I'll never hoist another glass of rum again," I whispered, 'Hello, is someone in there?"

"Aye, aye, it's me, John Paul Jones. I want a word with you lad." "John Paul 'I-have-not-yet-begun-to-fight' Jones?"

"Aye, now we're making headway. I been talking to Eleanor Roosevelt, lad, hearing about her yarns with Hillary. She says you've got strife with the Navy."

"I don't have a problem, Commodore, but the Navy sure does."

"What do you mean? Davy Jones's locker is brimmin' with Brit, French, Spanish, German and Japanese hulls sent there by U.S. Navy shot. Its men and officers are the finest sailors in the world."

"John Paul, you haven't mentioned the women sailors of the modern Navy."

"Did you say women are crewing our fighting ships? Why, women would scuttle crew cohesion, spirit and discipline faster than a cannon-ball in the powder room! What damn fool could have possibly ordered up this nonsense?"

"Commander in Chief Clinton, with, so goes the scuttlebutt, a lot of help from Hillary and probably your pal, Eleanor. All three are more into equal opportunity than military necessity."

"I told Congress when this Republic was but a pup that the practice of democracy has nothing to do with warships. They're for fighting, not for equalizing. Clinton should understand social opportunity doesn't wash when you're dealing with life-and-death issues at sea. Besides, any fool should know you can't mix the sexes aboard ship. Young folks will always do what the young do -sex! There's no stronger urge. Didn't Clinton command a PT boat during the Big War? He should know about sailors' lust!"

"You're close, you're talking the same half-century. But that was JFK - Clinton's wannabe. The only uniform Clinton's ever worn was in the high school band. He knows a lot about lust, but he doesn't seem to know much about sailors, sea duty and fighting."

'My God, the pregnancy rate must be over the moon. How can you run a Navy with sailors friggin' in the riggin' or on maternity leave? Who looks after the ships while the sailors are having kids, and who looks after the kids when the moms are back at sea?"

"John Paul, you've asked all the right questions. The U.S. Navy is a fertility happening. One ship, known in the fleet as 'The Love Boat,' eventually looked more like a maternity ward than a naval vessel, even though its skipper insisted none of the pregnancies happened at sea."

"In my Navy, he'd get the lash and then be keelhauled! Why doesn't the senior leadership square Clinton away?"

"They're the problem, not the solution. Jim Webb, former secretary of the Navy, blames the Navy's funk on the top brass. In a speech last April at the Naval Academy, he zeroed in on Clinton's social experiments that have gone awry such as women at sea. Webb said, 'Some [of the senior admirals] are guilty of the ultimate disloyalty.. .To save or advance their careers, they abandoned the very ideals of their profession in order to curry favor with politicians."'

"I don't get shore leave often. But when I do, I spend as much time as possible at Annapolis. I remember Jimmy back in the 1960s. He was a bright, scrappy midshipman with a high sense of honor, a real truth teller. From what I hear from today's middies, I reckon he's dead on target."

"Yep, most of the top brass have been Clintonized."

"What do you mean, Clintonized'?"

"Clinton selects go-along-to-get-along people for the top jobs. He's been doing his damnedest to civilianize the Navy as well as the other services. Today's modern Navy is run more like a cruise-ship line than the sea service of old."

"Why doesn't the leadership stand tall?"

"Webb says, 'Many of the most capable officers simply don't get promoted in the first place."'

"Aye, Hack, it looks like moral courage has lost to political correctness. I fear for our country's future."

"Welcome to the club. And if you see my man George Patton, tell him I've got bad news as well about our Clintonized Army."