A couple of recent TV shows featured Army generals being interviewed. Both of them wore formal uniforms, known as dress blues, while being interviewed. I thought it was some kind of public relations effort, a ploy to make the generals look more heroic and formidable than the standard dress green uniforms that have been worn for decades.
That may still be the case, but as it turns out, dress blues, or what looks like black, are the current replacement for the green uniforms as the Army service uniform. I assumed, based on my own Army experience that the fancier uniforms would still be for formal occasions. A simple detail, but assuming it turned out to be in error.
This was an easy mistake to make, but a mistake nonetheless. The question it raises is why it was decided that the Army would opt for the more ostentatious version of its dress uniform. Ominous as well. There is historical precedent for military uniforms high on symbolism and flourish. I searched around for Nazi pictures, but most of them seemed clichéd and caricatured, almost satirical representations of evil Nazis. The one above depicts a more ordinary view of Nazis, two officers in a casual pose. We know the truth. These are SS officers. The SS is the abbreviation for the Schutzstaffel, the force in Hitler's military responsible for most of the Third Reich's war crimes.
Some might think it outrageous that I would compare our modern military with Nazis. I'm comparing the uniforms. If you look at General Alexander's uniform at right you might think he is a hero on a par with Audie Murphy. He has never served in combat. His entire career has been in intelligence. He has lied to Congress. He heads the NSA, which has vastly expanded spying on "American" citizens, allies and world leaders from friendly nations.
Maybe someone in high places, like Congress, might want to ask why our military has made such ostentatious uniforms the everyday work uniform for its officers and enlisted personnel. It looks comical, but the intent isn't comical. It's hard to say what the intent is, but overdone uniforms tend to be warnings of things to come.
We have other warnings: histrionic demagogues in both houses of Congress, histrionic demagogues in our national media, a failing economy (in spite of all the rosy triumphalism, our economy is faltering), anger and unrest among the populace, scapegoating of Muslims, immigrants and people receiving government transfer payments like Social Security. As global climate change gets more severe, and our infinite-growth economic system can grow no more, we can expect internal strife to get worse. Far worse. We won't be able to say we weren't warned.
Martin Dempsey. Click on it.
Here's another warning.
Here's a song.