Eye-Opening Perspectives for Heroic Hearts

Eye-Opening Perspectives for Heroic Hearts

Friday, August 21, 2015


Measuring Productivity or Camouflaging Conflated Objectives?
by Felix DeCatt for CPW News Services
     The United States Army had implemented Six Sigma metrics in 2005.  West Point initiated the program in 2007 according to the Academy's staff writer Kathy Eastwood ("Mastering Lean Six Sigma: SE professor earns master black belt status", April 10, 2013).   West Point's Brig. Gen. Tim Trainor was a close friend of Col. Ted Westhusing and a fellow West Point professor who would have been more aware than most of the ease with which an imported system of excellence can be used to hide the realities that exist in a battlefield and martial arts environment where camouflage is an important defense mechanism and the most ubiquitous technique in all of nature for self-preservation. 
     The November 2005 article "A Journey that Ended In Anguish," stated: When Westhusing entered West Point in 1979, the tradition-bound institution was just emerging from a cheating scandal that had shamed the Army. Restoring honor to the nation’s preeminent incubator for Army leadership was the focus of the day. Cadets are taught to value duty, honor and country, and are drilled in West Point’s strict moral code: A cadet will not lie, cheat or steal — or tolerate those who do. Westhusing embraced it. He was selected as honor captain for the entire academy his senior year. Col. Tim Trainor, a classmate and currently a West Point professor, said Westhusing was strict but sympathetic to cadets’ problems. He remembered him as “introspective.”

     Col. Theodore "Ted" Westhusing's case can be seen as a parallel to a GE middle-manager who during GE's military procurement bamboozles under Welch's administration walks into his office and tells him that the mission of the company is under a cloud of mixed and conflicted objectives, but for Westhusing the stakes were infinitely high since he was in the middle of the very battlefield supplied by GE.   There was Westhusing alongside civilian military contractors who had even more mercenary ambitions fueled by the lesser contractors' desire to replicate the GE "success" story and to remove any and all obstacles including Westhusing if necessary.  Trying to get to the truth in such a climate of conflated objectives proved to be an eye-opening experience for the families of Westhusing, Tillman, Lynch and others, but it is a repeated routine known throughout history with cases like Uriah, Belasarius, Henry Van Ness Boynton, Smedley Darlington Butler and others.
     We see a phalanx of the conflated objectives covered not just in the impressions created by the application of a Six Sigma program within a corporation or at West Point or the U.S. Army in general, but within the media and academic environments that should be covering the potential for abuse of these seemingly innocuous metrics.  Take, for example, the fact that the new Henry Luce Professor of Journalism at Columbia, Steve Coll, where General Raymond T. Odierno's successor as the Chief of Staff, General Mark A. Milley, received his Master of Arts in International Relations, was from the Washington Post.   Odierno was selected by General David Petraeus to head CENTCOM which was his stepping stone as Chief of Staff, while Petraeus went on from the 2005 encounter with Westhusing to have his story written by Paula Broadwell, a West Point grad whose affair with Petraeus cost him his job as the Director of Central Intelligence.   Broadwell's co-author of All In: The Education of General David Petraeus was the Vernon Loeb from the Washington Post whose boss was Steve Coll before Coll moved to Columbia while Loeb approved at the WP the fraudulent stories of the death of Lt. Pat Tillman and the rescue of Jessica Lynch aimed at building "consent for war" and who went on to become the managing editor of the Houston Chronicle.    Columbia University's relationship to the application of mind bending "applied psychology" and "applied sociology" that has been used as a bamboozling tool for media moguls, Madison Avenue shysters and Wall Street con-artists should be of major concern for all Americans, but is it?  Odierno's aide in the Iraq war effort was British activist, Emma Sky, whose book The Unraveling: High Hopes and Missed Opportunities in Iraq, has been widely criticized for missing the obvious....that the Iraq war was an unraveled bamboozle from the get-go.
    One critic of Emma Sky's book states in a rebuttal to his critics a response that went beyond Columbia University to include Yale's power elites where Sky is now at the Jackson Institute:
     It is not credible to ask why Ms. Sky did not include in a book on the unraveling of the Iraq War which even Brzezinski said "was a bamboozle based on absolutely false evidence," two significant personalities related to both the U.S. military's top leadership AND the 911 city upon which the invasion was based? Why Sky does not even mention Westhusing or Kerik? This author did not create Yale's Pavlovian peccadilloes. It created its own reality and myth quite apart from the real and imagined conspiracy theorists, but no more than Robert Merton at Harvard with Black Scholes and his credit default formulas. Why say "talented and well-connected officers in the US State Department generally avoided serving in Iraq," unless they knew damn well it was a bamboozle? That being so, then the very premise of an "unraveling" just came unraveled!
     Also, Emma worked closely with head of MI-6, John Sawer, who for the Downing Street Memo issued some mild resistance that Ray McGovern called little more than a "hiccup". Have you read the CIA's Ray McGovern's 2012 article "Downing Street Memo": Redux? In it he is asking if a similar cooking of the intelligence that we saw with Iraq by the Brits is being brewed up for Iran by Sawer. Does Emma envision a similar post-Iran invasion unraveling and if so, why not tell us NOW? If this is "conspiracy" theory stuff......who was conspiring when you line up the British and U.S. players in the development of the Downing Street Memo? Was Iran-Contra a "conspiracy"? British and U.S. opium policy in China that led to the Boxer Rebellion? The Gulf of Tonkin affair? Tuskegee Experiment? Hiding the fact that Big Tobacco hid the health effects of smoking for decades? That the U.S. Civil Defense lauded the use of lead-based paint (see film "The House In The Middle"....available on-line) at the same time we were developing the "MAD Theory" of mutually assured destruction and the same lead producers who made our bullets wanted to see it in gasoline or paint 50 years after its use was banned in Europe? What qualifies as a "conspiracy" and what does not? Have I nailed it, Mr. Hobbs?

     During GE's implementation of Six Sigma as a management tool for building efficiency the company went through an astounding array of legal problems related to military procurement rip-offs.  Productivity shot up markedly and Jack Welch retired with a record retirement package of $750 million dollars.  He left within the company a hierarchy of efficiency experts with certification in Six Sigma's martial arts-based colored belt award system.  This is a poignant example of what General Smedley Darlington Butler called the "racket of war" and its enculturation within a U.S. corporation, but the total social costs of the system is not adequately explored.  At odds is a system that implements military imagery when the overall mission of the corporation that implements it may be the health and well-being of the society it was created to serve.

For an excellent discussion of Six Sigma accredited black belt trainers see http://gotboondoggle.blogspot.com/2012/04/suffering-from-sick-sigma.html.

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