Conflicting cultures


Dear editor,

The (LtGov/Sen Candidate/National Guard Adjutant General) John Walsh investigation by the U.S. Army concluding he used his position for private gain and the subsequent categorization by Brian Schweitzer (BS) calling it “…much ado about nothing…” reported on the front page of the 12/31/2013 Star illustrates a conflict in culture.  

In the military culture, we expect our officers to be above reproach to the extent that even the appearance of impropriety must be avoided. We expect that we turn our children over to a group of professionals who would not even let a subordinate rake their lawn as this could be interpreted as ‘personal servitude,’ and with it the substance of misusing one’s position. 

The Army has been at war in earnest since September 11, 2001. They don’t have time to conduct investigations that are ‘about nothing.’ This was about HONOR. Schweitzer can toss it in the trash, because to him this is probably an ‘aw-dang’ that has already been cancelled by a political ‘atta-boy’ along the line. 

Defenders of Walsh overlook that our military professionals hold themselves to a higher standard than politicians (perhaps the conflict of cultures and the influence of each is most obvious when one tries to be both a military professional and a politician). Mr. Walsh may be bright and caring, but HONOR is not a word the military attaches when one’s position is ‘misused.’

So what one considers “BS” depends on what culture you come from. In Schweitzer’s world, a misuse of position for a particular gain seems OK. If you’re not enthusiastic with those representing you in Washington, you already know that Mr. Walsh failed the honor/misuse test in one culture. In the words of BS: “Who knew?”… Now we all do.

Greg Harbac


formerly of Miles City