Capt. Owen Honors has been temporarily relieved of duty commanding the USS Enterprise after the Virginian-Pilot revealed he showed his crew explicit videos featuring gay slurs, women appearing to wash each other in the shower, and sailors faking a rectal exam. The skits were supposed to provide some comic relief for sailors deployed supporting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Honors broadcast the videos in 2006 and 2007 over the ship's closed-circuit TV. Adm. John Harvey, commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command, said Honors displayed showed a "profound lack of judgment" in making the videos. "I have lost faith in his ability to command the Enterprise," Harvey said, according to NPR's Tom Bowman. While some think this was the right move, others question the wisdom of putting political correctness ahead of other considerations
- Note This Had Nothing to Do With Job Performance, Wired's Spencer Ackerman writes.
If [Honors] did anything to merit not commanding a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, no one in the chain of command believed so before he was put in charge of it, and no one has asserted that his command of the Enterprise has been lackluster. ... The Navy has a better track record of punishing command failure than the other services: Witness its cashiering of Captain Holly Graf of the U.S.S. Cowpens last year for intimidating her crew. But Graf lost her job because of how she performed in it. Honors lost his because the media found out about what he believed to be a fun diversion from his duties in his old one.
- Sex Is the Military's Third Rail, Commentary's Max Boot observes. Honors' "real mistake was to miss decades' worth of signals that the worst sin any officer can commit is to do anything even tangentially wrong related to sex. Ever since the Tailhook scandal in 1991, it has been obvious that sex-related offenses would be judged far more harshly than other screw-ups." Muses Boot, "obviously, it's important to police the military workplace against sexual harassment, but I can’t help think that we've elevated this issue above somewhat more important considerations--such as winning wars."
- Hey, We Needed Those Jokes, sailors are writing on the Enterprise's Facebook page. "We can not ruin a good man's career for the sake of petty political correctness," Shaun Valentine writes. "CAPT Honors made that deployment go a little bit easier with the humor that he brought to the XO movie night. I don't feel he should be relieved of his command for doing his job. He did tell those that were offended easily to go for a walk to the hangar bay or just not watch...." Tamela King says. "I was on the Enterprise when the Harbor pilot ran her aground in the San Francisco Bay back in the early 80's now that was embarrassing. I don't think anyone lost their job," Alec Geist adds.
- Some Women In the Navy Don't Think It's So Funny, Time's Mark Thompson writes. Thompson points to a comment from a female former Navy officer, who said "Most of us won't say anything when we ARE offended for fear of becoming `the chick who ruined everything'... Most of us are likely to walk away, complain to each other or trusted friends about what jerk the XO is and carry on, and likely counting the days until turnover. Silence is a form of assent, and one I've outgrown, but junior women are unlikely to be the voice of dissent."
- Will DADT Repeal Bring More Incidents Like This? Daniel Foster wonders at The National Review. "No, this isn't a direct result of DADT repeal--though we might speculate on why the videos were released and reported on four years after they were produced--but it is exactly the sort of thing those of us on the fence about repeal worry about: the PC-ification of the military and a world in which command effectiveness is judged on whether you hurt somebody’s feelings."
- Navy Had No Interest in Defending Honors, Hot Air's Ed Morrissey says. Otherwise, "they could have easily claimed that a relief of command would have unnecessarily delayed a wartime deployment. Instead, they appear to have practically broken a leg finding a replacement for Honors."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.