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Modly Must Resign by Daniel Larison

Apr 06, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Capt. Brett Crozier addresses the crew of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) during a change of command ceremony in November 2019. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Sean Lynch/Released)

The acting Secretary of the Navy just made things much worse for himself and the Navy by delivering an attack on Capt. Crozier in a speech to the crew of the USS Theodore Roosevelt. It will come as no surprise that the contents of the speech have become public :

"It was a betrayal. And I can tell you one other thing: because he did that he put it in the public's forum and it is now a big controversy in Washington, DC," Modly said, according to a transcript of remarks Modly made to the crew, copies of which have been provided to CNN by multiple Navy officials.

There is a rough transcript of the speech here , and both Task & Purpose and The San Francisco Chronicle obtained an audio recording of the speech.

Modly's speech was an attempt to justify his unpopular and outrageous decision to remove Crozier from command, and by giving such an inflammatory speech so soon after that decision he showed remarkably poor judgment. The "big controversy" that he complains about just became even bigger. Lecturing the crew about Crozier's supposed "betrayal" is not going to persuade anyone, and it is bound to stir up even more discontent than there was before. It is deeply insulting to Crozier and his crew to cast the captain's actions in such derogatory terms. Even if Modly genuinely believes Crozier to have been in the wrong, it is destructive and demoralizing to attack a well-respected officer this way. He was lashing out at the crew as much as Crozier because the crew gave the captain such a rousing sendoff. That's unacceptable, and it proves that there needs to be someone else in charge of the Department of the Navy.

Modly's original decision to relieve Crozier of command was a serious mistake, and this tone-deaf exercise in self-justification compounds the first error. Incredibly, Modly criticized Crozier for being either "too naive" or "stupid" for circulating his letter to maybe 20 people, and then he delivers a speech to a crew of thousands and somehow doesn't think it was going to leak the minute after he finished. Whatever he hoped to achieve by berating the crew for their devotion to their captain, he has pretty much destroyed whatever credibility he might have still had with them.

The calls for Modly's resignation began as soon as the speech became available:

Acting Navy secretary blasts ousted aircraft carrier captain as 'stupid' in address to ship's crew – CNNPolitics. (ACTING SEC NAVY MUST RESIGN. This is the worst judgment by a defense official possible. Terrible signal to sailors.) https://t.co/2hrEtcZxAW

-- Barry R McCaffrey (@mccaffreyr3) April 6, 2020

Dear @SECNAV Modly: You called Capt Crozier "too naive or too stupid" for not knowing his private letter would be leaked. Now we learn your private speech was leaked.

You should apply the same standard and resign. Or you should reinstate Capt Crozier. Stop being a hypocrite. https://t.co/C0zKv3ab8M

-- Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) April 6, 2020

I was not in the camp with those calling for acting SecNav Modly to resign for relieving #CaptCrozier . I am now.

These remarks to sailors are unbefitting a senior leader and will only increase divisiveness in the ranks.

He has failed as a leader & should resign. https://t.co/qewpesA9Lg

-- David Lapan (@DaveLapanDC) April 6, 2020

Clearly. The tone of the audio is that Modly is not only disparaging Crozier, but haranguing and shaming the sailors for applauding him. A disgraceful display. He's lost all claim to leadership and should go. https://t.co/ufYllDmgwO

-- Adam Mount (@ajmount) April 6, 2020

This is real?? The inappropriateness here is breathtaking. Trump's @SECNAV went aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt and basically told the sailors their beloved former captain is a traitor. https://t.co/373Oe0yvte

-- Brandon Friedman (@BFriedmanDC) April 6, 2020

I have heard the recording of the Acting SecNav speech to the crew of the TR. When he calls Crozier "too naive or too stupid to command a ship" you can hear sailors yelling "What the fuck?!?". I am disgusted by Modly and his dishonorable behavior. He must resign.

-- Fred Wellman (@FPWellman) April 6, 2020

Whatever you think of Crozier's firing, these statements by @secnav Modly are a disgrace. If he's lucky, he'll be fired quickly, rather than left to twist for months. Regardless, history will remember him for this, and only this. https://t.co/CNODc3e7nm

-- Christopher Orr (@OrrChris) April 6, 2020

Modly told the crew of the USS Theodore Roosevelt that the press is out "to divide us and use [Crozier] to embarrass the Navy."

We covered it bc COVID on an aircraft carrier is a national-security story with urgent human consequences. Modly doesn't need us to embarrass the Navy.

-- Spencer Ackerman (@attackerman) April 6, 2020

It is worth remembering that Modly chose to remove Crozier over the objections of Crozier's superior officers, including the chief of naval operations. He insisted on doing this despite their preference that they handle it themselves, and he owns the fallout from it. Modly has handled all of this about as badly as he could have. It is time for him to do the right thing and resign.

Update: There is enormous anger at Modly among lots of veterans because of this speech:

Let me tell you how big this speech on the TR is in the military/veterans community. The Daily Caller first broke the transcript and no I'm seeing veterans of both political parties outraged like nothing I've seen well ever. Modly's behavior on the TR spits on their service.

-- Fred Wellman (@FPWellman) April 6, 2020

 


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[Apr 26, 2020] A sad situation at the Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center

Notable quotes:
"... As of Thursday, 23 employees at the 4,000-employee VA hospital, had tested positive, according to an update the hospital director emailed to employees. Another 45 employees are home awaiting test results. The hospital declined to say how many of the employees who are positive or are awaiting results are nurses, or name which parts of the hospital they work in. ..."
"... Three VA nurses said they were given N95 respirators for several days early in the crisis in March, but after that they were given surgical masks, which provide less protection from the coronavirus. Another nurse reported wearing only a surgical mask the entire time caring for coronavirus patients. The nurses, who work in a unit that treats COVID-19 positive patients or patients awaiting test results who are suspected to be positive, spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to news media and their job security could be at risk if they spoke publicly. ..."
"... The hospital had 73 confirmed coronavirus cases among patients as of Friday, and four inpatient deaths. "Currently every health care system is taking steps to conserve PPE. VA is no different," Hodge wrote in a series of responses by email to questions. Hodge also said that the hospital is issuing surgical masks to all staff who work in non-COVID-19 units. ..."
"... "Those staff are provided one surgical mask weekly to assist in protecting high-risk patients who are asymptomatic," he wrote. ..."
"... Since the number of COVID-19 tests are limited nationwide, there is no COVID-19 testing capability at our CBOC locations. Please call your provider to determine whether you would be a candidate for testing. If so, then you may proceed to the Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center in Richmond, Virginia where Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., a Drive-Thru Clinic is available for screening and testing (if you need it); you will be triaged according to your symptoms. Also, Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., you may be directed to be seen in the medical center's High Consequence Infections (HCI) Clinic. Last, depending on your symptoms, you may go to the hospital's Emergency Department or to an Urgent Care Center or Emergency Department in your area. ..."
"... Much of the federal stockpile of PPE sent to the states had passed their expire dates, 2010 for some, and was either useless or had to be repaired. I blame the failure on the person, or persons, charged with monitoring the wharehoused stockpiles. The president only knows what he's told. He can't micromanage the nation. He needs Jack Webb directing him to stick with the facts. ..."
"... I read somewhere the V.A. ordered the masks but F.E.M.A expropriated them on the directions of Jared Kushner, who will later decide who receives the masks...something about the National Emergency Stockpile...what a mess. ..."
Apr 26, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com


Colonel Lang sent me an eye opening link last night concerning the Hunter Holmes McGuire VA hospital in Richmond. Here are some excerpts from the Richmond Times-Dispatch article.

-- -- -- --

As of Thursday, 23 employees at the 4,000-employee VA hospital, had tested positive, according to an update the hospital director emailed to employees. Another 45 employees are home awaiting test results. The hospital declined to say how many of the employees who are positive or are awaiting results are nurses, or name which parts of the hospital they work in.

Three VA nurses said they were given N95 respirators for several days early in the crisis in March, but after that they were given surgical masks, which provide less protection from the coronavirus. Another nurse reported wearing only a surgical mask the entire time caring for coronavirus patients. The nurses, who work in a unit that treats COVID-19 positive patients or patients awaiting test results who are suspected to be positive, spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to news media and their job security could be at risk if they spoke publicly.

The hospital had 73 confirmed coronavirus cases among patients as of Friday, and four inpatient deaths. "Currently every health care system is taking steps to conserve PPE. VA is no different," Hodge wrote in a series of responses by email to questions. Hodge also said that the hospital is issuing surgical masks to all staff who work in non-COVID-19 units. "Those staff are provided one surgical mask weekly to assist in protecting high-risk patients who are asymptomatic," he wrote. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

-- -- --

I'm not surprised by the numbers. Richmond, itself, is a virus hot spot although that is mostly due to several deadly assisted living/nursing home outbreaks. What shocks me is the PPE situation. The fact that nurses have to treat known Covid-19 patients with hospital masks rather than the N95 respirators is only moderately better than third world conditions in my view. Hospital masks offer the wearer no protection against the aerosolized virus. If the patients were wearing those masks, it would be more helpful than the nurses wearing them.

Here's a tip. If you can still smell odors like onions or bacon while wearing the mask, the aerosolized virus can get into your lungs. Hospital masks and other improvised masks protect those around the wearer, not the mask wearer. The concept behind the universal wearing of such masks is mutual protection. For any of you who spent time in the infantry, it's the same concept behind the DePuy fighting positions where you are not defending yourself. You are forming interlocking fields of fire to protect your comrades to the left and right of you. Protecting those around you actually provides the best protection for all of you. We wear masks in grocery stores and other such places to protect the entire community, not just our own sorry asses.

But back to the situation at McGuire. In the early days of the pandemic in America, the hospital instituted a screening program at the hospital entrances consisting of temperature and health interview. We were told to expect delays and to be given a mask for wear in the hospital. Not long after that, we were called to reschedule our appointments to May or beyond. By mid-April, this was the COVID-19 testing situation.

Since the number of COVID-19 tests are limited nationwide, there is no COVID-19 testing capability at our CBOC locations. Please call your provider to determine whether you would be a candidate for testing. If so, then you may proceed to the Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center in Richmond, Virginia where Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., a Drive-Thru Clinic is available for screening and testing (if you need it); you will be triaged according to your symptoms. Also, Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., you may be directed to be seen in the medical center's High Consequence Infections (HCI) Clinic. Last, depending on your symptoms, you may go to the hospital's Emergency Department or to an Urgent Care Center or Emergency Department in your area.

McGuire seems to have had all its ducks in a row. It's what I expect. This VA medical center is well run. The professionalism, pride and morale among the staff is astoundingly high. It shows among us broke down old vets who show up for care. We are proud of McGuire. That this fine facility is now forced to ration out PPE to its staff is a travesty. The VA dropped the ball. The federal government dropped the ball for several administrations. PPE should have been stockpiled at all levels and those stockpiles should have been replenished by a push logistics system.

That's the long term screw up. In the more immediate term, the federal government should have been acquiring that PPE and forcing industry to massively produce supplies back in January. Trump should have invoked and used the Defense Production Act robustly in January rather than waiting until March and April to weakly wield that executive authority. Every hospital and every first responder should have had all the PPE needed. Every household could have been sent a dozen disposable masks with a note from President Trump telling us to keep these in case we need them. What a galvanizing message that would have sent across the nation. Even if Covid-19 proved to be a non-problem, it would have been a message of Churchillian defiance in the face of a potential threat. A missed opportunity for both the American people and Trump.

TTG

https://www.richmond.com/special-report/coronavirus/at-mcguire-va-hospital-in-richmond-nurses-fear-the-masks-they-wear-dont-protect-them/article_6da49ed3-84c7-52a6-b052-32ca3cd305b9.html?utm_source=RTD&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=Breaking%20News


Terence Gore , 25 April 2020 at 01:16 PM

Sorry to read your post and hope everyone fares well. Many nursing homes may be in the same situation.

https://www.uchicagomedicine.org/forefront/coronavirus-disease-covid-19/uchicago-medicine-doctors-see-truly-remarkable-success-using-ventilator-alternatives-to-treat-covid19

"The proning and the high-flow nasal cannulas combined have brought patient oxygen levels from around 40% to 80% and 90%, so it's been fascinating and wonderful to see," Spiegel said."


Possibly positive news.

Pj20 , 25 April 2020 at 02:19 PM
It isn't just the VA, hospitals all over the country are short of PPE. And that is one of the problems with opening up the country too soon. Unprotected staff in suddenly flooded hospitals become ill themselves risking the viability of local health systems.
JoeC100 , 25 April 2020 at 04:57 PM
TTG -

I read a while back that the key supply chain issue with N-95 masks is that their essential core material is a synthetic spun fiber that we are completely reliant on China for sourcing. In addition. the machines that make this fiber are complex, quite expensive and there is no capability to quickly and significantly ramp up their production. Further they are challenging to set up and operate.

And for perspective, of the 200 million masks China currently makes a day, only 600,000 are N95 standard masks, used by medical personnel,

So yet another "essential supply chain" item for a critical health system need that simply can't be ramped up out of this air.

Hopefully some one in the Federal system is looking for all similar needs and working on a plan to facilitate onshore manufacturing.

Full (scary/sobering) details are at: https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/03/16/814929294/covid-19-has-caused-a-shortage-of-face-masks-but-theyre-surprisingly-hard-to-mak

I see this as a long term "lack of US preparedness" problem vs. something that could have been easily addressed if the administration had moved a couple on months earlier..

JohninMK , 25 April 2020 at 05:02 PM
We have the same problems here in the UK. With people, mainly it seems like in the MSM, blaming the Government's leadership for the supply issues.

Ignoring totally the management of our respective national health organizations who knew, at the latest in mid January, that there was probably a nasty contagious problem coming down the tracks, that would, based on already clear Chinese actions, need more PPE than was on their shelves.

Bear in mind that, in the UK at least, hundreds of these NHS bureaucrats earn twice what a Government minister earns and a few twice the PM's salary. In both nations they have failed their people dismally, seemingly like rabbits trapped in the headlights. None will be punished of course for failure, they are just pleased that the Government steps up and takes the blame.

Then we have the academics and think tank personnel. All accepted as impartial and offering honest opinions based on state of the art models. Again the Governments take what they are offered as gospel and acts on it. Only to discover that the models are more of the garbage in garbage out variety, not fit for purpose. Then we find how much funding the impartial academics are receiving from potentially very interested parties, as there are $Bs at stake. In the UK there was a Pandemic 2016 exercise to check things out. Result everything in NHS under control. In the real world under four years later, a shambles. Did you have a similar last autumn?

The real heroes and heroines in this saga are the doctors, nurses and their support and ancillary staff who are actually at the sharp end. Many working in appallingly unsafe conditions. Hats off to them.

Bobo , 25 April 2020 at 07:01 PM
For 200 plus years our hospitals utilized laundries to cleanse their medical protection gear (PPE) until the advent of synthetic PPE. The present generation is taught to utilize the N95 mask and other gear once and then trash it. This was derived as a manner in reducing Sepsis and MRSA in hospitals and an effective one though those diseases are still present.
Our hearts went out to these young medical personnel without the plastic masks and gear as they were working outside of what they were taught and they were much more susceptible to the Covid-19.
Now we all saw every Chinaman walking around Wuhan with a N-95 mask in January and unfortunately those were our masks that were re-routed to the Chinese people. Hopefully we have now learned a very hard lesson that Just in Time Inventory does not work for medical diseases or viruses and that the USA needs to manufacture all PPE and medicine in the USA amongst other things.
Regarding the political implications I can only say that the guy in the hot seat made things happen when the chips were down something his predecessors nor his competitor had/have the ability to do in a timely manner. Coercion worked.
optimax , 25 April 2020 at 11:00 PM
Much of the federal stockpile of PPE sent to the states had passed their expire dates, 2010 for some, and was either useless or had to be repaired. I blame the failure on the person, or persons, charged with monitoring the wharehoused stockpiles. The president only knows what he's told. He can't micromanage the nation. He needs Jack Webb directing him to stick with the facts.

We have two groups of psychopaths vying for political power.

https://time.com/5815652/national-stockpile-medical-supplies-unusable/

elaine, 26 April 2020 at 12:58 AM

I read somewhere the V.A. ordered the masks but F.E.M.A expropriated them on the directions of Jared Kushner, who will later decide who receives the masks...something about the National Emergency Stockpile...what a mess.

[Apr 06, 2020] Notwithstanding the current occupant of the White House, Crozier was correct

Captain Crozier was in an untenable catch-22 situation. Would the USS Roosevelt have suffered a similar casualty if it's skipper stayed within his chain of command in attempting to address the burgeoning virus aboard that very well may have impacted it's crews ability to operate safely? Capt Crozier's naval career was damned if he did and damned if he didn't (ie catch-22). Capt Crozier made the right decision in putting the health/lives of sailors aboard the Roosevelt ahead of 7th Fleets need to check boxes.
Notable quotes:
"... I am circling around to the view that Crozier's actions were correct, honorable, and laudable, and that they also created a situation that made it impossible for the Navy, notwithstanding the current occupant of the White House, to keep him in his position. ..."
"... The difference between a competent administration and the one we have is that Crozier would not have felt compelled to go outside the chain of command, the SecNav would not be "acting," and the Acting SecNav would not have been so terrified of his own President that he would have acted precipitously against the captain. ..."
"... There is a disheartening present trend on who is promoted (and what comprises their value set) within organizations in America at present. ..."
Apr 06, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Portland Sooner4 hours ago

Robert Farley at LGM has an interesting post on Crozier,
I am circling around to the view that Crozier's actions were correct, honorable, and laudable, and that they also created a situation that made it impossible for the Navy, notwithstanding the current occupant of the White House, to keep him in his position.

The difference between a competent administration and the one we have is that Crozier would not have felt compelled to go outside the chain of command, the SecNav would not be "acting," and the Acting SecNav would not have been so terrified of his own President that he would have acted precipitously against the captain.

But decisions with strategic consequences should lie firmly with the very senior leadership of the armed forces, and the civilians that the leadership serves.

https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2020/04/crozier-considerations

Tom Sadlowski Portland Sooneran hour ago
Thank you for that link. I agree with that assessment, and I would extend that circumstance to other departments within our government, and into other sectors like business, education, and non-profits. There is a disheartening present trend on who is promoted (and what comprises their value set) within organizations in America at present.

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