Does Honors Dishonor?

CNN reports Capt. Owen Honors has been relieved of his command. I’m always torn by these stories. I think the military culture is so distinct from that of the business world. CNN reports that the videos for which he was relieved included “anti-gay slurs, simulated sex acts, and what appear to be two female sailors in a shower together.” I guess these videos aired to the entire ship between 2006-2007 while Enterprise was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

2006 is pretty recent, and such insensitivity is probably disqualifying for a commander of so many people. I guess the pause that I have is that I do not think you should have to behave with the same level of sensitivity in all circumstances. When you broadcast something to 5000 people, though, you really need to make sure it is suitable for all audiences. If the tapes had been secretly recorded or viewed only by his friends, this would be a very different case for me.

37 replies on “Does Honors Dishonor?”

I think it's not unreasonable to say that Owen Honors commanded the most important military asset on planet Earth. What he did was kind of creepy, but if we think he learned from it being exposed, and if we think his sensitivity to those under his command might increase now, then I think it might be hasty to decide that we don't need his services anymore.


I really can't find my opinion on this. That really just almost never happens.

My problem with your logic, Matt, is that I think it rests on the assumption that having command of a uniquely powerful asset necessarily means the commander is uniquely qualified. I think there are many more qualified officers than jobs like this.

Now, the problem with my thinking is that this guy was not just qualified to start the job, he had served a tour as XO so had been groomed for it for two years or whatever. So, it remains perplexing.

My opinion doesn't rest on thinking he's unique, it rests on the idea that an organization is ill-served if a single infraction requires removal from a difficult job.

We don't have an infinite source of talent for these jobs, and we can tolerate a mistake that is almost certainly never going to be repeated.


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