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Boeing exec resigns after deciding his 1987 comments alienated the thought police in 2020

The woke mob has shown no hesitance in coming after Christopher Columbus, the Founding Fathers, Confederate generals, or even Teddy Roosevelt, who died 101 years ago.

Within that context, something that happened 33 years ago might as well as have occurred yesterday. One Boeing executive just learned that.

Niel Golightly resigned last week as the communications chief for the nation’s leading aircraft manufacturer over an article he penned in 1987.

In the piece, found on the U.S. Naval Institute’s website, Golightly, then a 29-year-old Navy pilot, argued that a variety of factors ought to be considered “(b)efore we impose combat duty on women.”

“Successful warfare depends less on manual or mental skills than on an amalgam of intangible human qualities including cohesion, morale, efficiency, esprit, and aggressiveness,” he wrote. “We should ask ourselves not only whether women can physically and mentally perform basic combat functions — shooting a rifle, operating a mis­sile system, loading bombs on a carrier deck — but, as well, whether women and men can adapt emotionally to the socially radical step of fighting side-by-side.”

Raising such an issue in 2020, a time of gender fluidity when liberals consider sex to be an open question, is a definite no-no. But it wasn’t so much in 1987. And what’s been overlooked in much of the reporting about this column is that Golightly raised issues of how male warriors would treat women — whether rebuffing them because they cannot relate to women on “emotional” terms, or treat them with “patronizing tolerance, as the unit’s mascot,” in addition to the issue of sexual attraction.

He also discussed the obvious physical differences between men and women, the “image” projected by a military populated with female combat troops and the effect on leaders of dealing with problems of “sexual harassment, rape, prostitution, pregnancy, love triangles, and adolescent emotional crises” — much of which has been borne out over the last three decades.

President Barack Obama green-lighted women in combat units in December 2015. But problems between the sexes surfaced before and after that.

For instance, a 2013 article by a team of doctors studying post-traumatic stress disorder in veterans noted, “Up to 80% of military women have experienced sexual harassment, and 25% have been sexually assaulted.” 

In April, according to Stars & Stripes, the Defense Department announced having fielded 7,825 sexual assault reports in 2019, a 3 percent increase over 2018. Meanwhile, “restricted” reports, wherein survivors confidentially disclose an assault without launching an official investigation, jumped 17 percent above the previous year. The Pentagon also handled 1,021 formal sexual harassment complaints, a 10 percent increase from 2018.

So problems were prevalent before and after women were permitted in combat units. 

In a statement released by Boeing, Golightly said, “My article was a 29-year-old Cold War navy pilot’s misguided contribution to a debate that was live at the time. My argument was embarrassingly wrong and offensive. The article is not a reflection of who I am; but nonetheless I have decided that in the interest of the company I will step down.”

The backstory of Golightly’s professional demise raises three troubling issues. 

The first is the time lapse from his writing to his resignation. 

The wokesters’ willingness to tear down people, much less statues, after such a long span indicates no youthful indiscretion will be forgiven, nor will people be credited for changing — even as in this case the critics cannot prove, so far, that he thinks similarly three decades later.

The second is the blinded lack of context. 

In a company email, Golightly noted that his argument for excluding women from combat, made during the Reagan administration, was “government policy and broadly supported in society.” He then added, “It was also wrong.” The first part of his comment was correct. Yet much like the refusal to allow for personal growth, the wokesters also refuse to acknowledge societal evolution. The inclination to apply 2020 standards to 1987, 1887, 1787, or 1687 is patently absurd — and should not be rewarded through Cancel Culture.  

Finally, as the military blog Task & Purpose noted, the complaint about Golightly’s article was made anonymously. 

This is disturbing on many levels because, as we see with the repeated leaks against President Donald Trump, the character assassins can torpedo careers and institutions without having to own their allegations publicly or exposing their motives for examination.

Sad to say: Golightly went lightly and in order to avoid the wrath of the mob, more will likely follow his lead. 

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  1. Cynthia Morgan July 7, 2020

    Put on your big boy pants and stand up and SAY how insane it is to have to step down in the face of tyranny, over a statement made so long ago. Have you never heard the tome “those of you among us who are without sin (any transgressions at ALL since BIRTH) cast the first stone??? You and Boeing are bowing to a FEW Self serving self appointed judges, who are nothing more than SPOILED BRATS!…and opening up the rest of us to their out of control tyranny! It won’t STOP until someone stands up and says, “I’ve apologized, and I’ve evolved since then.” PERIOD! Nothing more to see here, move on! Then remind them of this “Judge not least ye be judged!!

  2. Mrs Patty Sanders July 8, 2020

    I fully agree with Mr. Golightly’s stand in the article from 1987. He has nothing to apologize for. The amount of ignorance on the streets and who get the media attention to their stupidity have no place in civil society.

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