13 January 2007

Living the "Dream"

This past week (hopefully soon to be ex-) Air Force Sergeant Manhart was relieved of duty for posing nude in Playboy. I watched an interview she gave on FoxNews, and I think her words are interesting. Here are a few quotes from that interview conducted by John Gibson:

“I understand that maybe they (the Air Force) feel I haven’t met their standards, but to my knowledge there’s no rule that I broke.”

When asked if she regretted posing, she replied, “Oh, definitely not. There’s nothing about it I regret.”

“I am living out my dream and I think it’s important for everyone to do that.”
Note in the first quote that she refers to the Air Force standards as “their” standards. Sergeant Manhart was a drill instructor, charged with changing civilian recruits into airmen who serve their country. If she doesn’t know and embody the core values of the Air Force, perhaps she’s in the wrong line of work.

Additionally, it’s extremely naive for her to think that posing in Playboy would not adversely affect her ability to perform the duties required of her as a drill instructor. Her credibility would disappear with the first recruit saying, “I’ve seen you naked.”

That she doesn’t regret decision directly reflects the third quote that she was following her dream. It’s more than a little troubling that this woman, with 12 years in the Air Force, so easily disposes of Air Force core values and standards of conduct to live out her “dream”. It is another case of personal desire trumping duty.

If Sergeant Manhart is allowed to return to duty, it will be a sad day for the Air Force. It would send the signal to the entire military that as long someone is pursuing a dream they can act as they choose without fear of punishment. It would be a sad triumph of self-esteem over sacrifice and duty.

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