Sometimes, I say something on social media that I have no idea is controversial, only to find that some people have a lot of emotional investment in a particular subject. Some folks think I do this intentionally, but I swear to you all on a stack of my beloved Boston albums that nine times out of 10, I am surprised by such reactions. Besides, I’m usually pretty up front about when I’m being intentionally provocative. (My reference to my Boston albums might be an example.)
Anyway, I tweeted two things that got people into a lather. First, I said that there is a growing civil-military problem in the United States. I taught for a quarter century at the Naval War College, the premier senior military educational institution in the United States—and in my view, the world—and I have worked closely with many American military officers over those 25 years. I am worried about what looks to me like an increasing political and cultural distance between the military and American society (which is hardly a new observation) and about the danger of extremism in the ranks (which is a hot-button issue).
I’m going to leave them aside for today, but I’ll have a lot more to say about both of these problems later this year in The Atlantic.
The second thing I tweeted is that it’s a problem that Fox News is, based on what I saw in the years I worked for the Defense Department, the default channel in so many military installations. This observation prompted a huffy retort from my longtime online sparring partner, Jay Caruso over at the Washington Examiner, who asked me why I would blame Fox for problems in the military and whether I think all military televisions should be set to MSNBC instead. (This was an unfair reading of my comment, but hey, Jay is also the guy who helped rat out my disdain for Led Zeppelin on national television.)