DEFENDING AMERICA
David H. Hackworth
20 Jan 98

CLINTON 'S 1998 STATE OF OUR MILITARY READINESS REPORT

Muh fellow Americans, tonight I bring you muh annual report on the state of our Armed Forces.

Back in 1992, when I first took over as your president, our forces were just back from the dust-up in the desert. They were plumb into killing and breaking things and a little too proud of these kind of violent activities, which I have loathed since muh peacenik days at Oxford.

So right then and thar, I made it muh goal to convert them into a kinder, gentler more humanized military, one that would strive for world peace and international harmony not through the employment of brute force but through brotherhood - oops, I mean brother and sisterhood.

Well, now, I couldn't do this by myself, even though back when I was govenuh of Arkansas - and the chief of the National Guard - I did cut a fine figure in camouflage fatigues whenevuh I went duck huntin' .

So I looked for executives that shared muh vision for a military that was about helpin' folks, not hurtin' them.

Muh criteria was secretaries who dodged that character spoilin' bad Vietnam War, who were never soiled by battle experience and had never been exposed to those troublesome grunts who're always grousing about combat readiness.

Muh deeply ingrained humility makes me reluctant to do any braggin', but I must admit muh choices were right on.

Dr. Sheila E. Widnall , muh secretary of the Air Force, brought to that service a whole lot of aeronautical engineering smarts from her teaching job at MIT.

True muh advisors told me not to hire an academic with no real world experience, because I'd have thrown in my face "If you can't do anything else, teach."

But despite a series of Kelley Flinn episodes, the resignation of her chief of staff and the highest pilot quit rate in history, Sheila has prevailed and moved our agenda forward. For example, she expanded the fighter pilot maternity program and personally designed a tool box with wheels for women aircraft mechanics which allows them to work right up to their third month of pregnancy.

For the Army, I chose Togo D. West. Togo, a lawyer who's lived and worked inside the Beltway all of his adult life, knows all the right political buttons to push and has got the Army right out of a war-fighting. Under his charge, our Army's out there all over the world protectin' Hillary's global village by doin' Peace Corps work, which makes me feel mighty proud.

Togo has almost replaced tactical training with sensitivity classes and all but stamped out the outmoded warrior-ethic by cuttin' out all that Pattonesque nonsense such as discipline, spirit and hard trainin'. He's replaced those anachronisms with affirmative action, social opportunity and equality.

His model was a Love Our Neighbors Summer Camp, and I want to tell you, muh fellow citizens, that's what the Army's become.

John H. Dalton came to the Navy from a background of creative accounting, running failed savings and loans down in Texas. He attended Annapolis but fortunately nevuh served, so he has a broad overview of naval knowledge without all the traditional hang ups .

John's outfitted our ships with separate women's quarters and made "Join the Navy and see the World" a sisterly mantra all around this great country of ours. Because of him, almost every ship in the fleet is now a "Love Boat." U.S. naval aviation is as coed as the Postal Service but, I'm proud to report, with a far superior birthrate. John has launched more child care centers than ships!

His one failure has been the Marine Corps, described by one of muh formuh assistants as extremists, but believe me, they'll come on board too or a lot of high muck-a-mucks in fancy uniforms will walk my politically correct plank.

Last but hardly least, our new sensitized, humanized and harmonized Armed Forces would never have been possible without the help of a great group of enlightened, socially aware admirals and generals who have saved their jobs by seeing the light. They've realized times have changed and are workin' with me to replace war with global solidarity and love.

Sleep well muh fellow Americans, for we've got the best huggy bear team in the world protectin' us tonight.

The end