Brett Crozier is not reinstated

Excerpt

“Everyone up and down the chain of command had a role to play in the inadequate response – including then-Acting Secretary of the Navy [Thomas] Modly,” Smith said of the former Navy official who fired Crozier before stepping down himself. “The department’s civilian leadership portrayed Capt. Crozier’s decision-making aboard the Roosevelt as the critical weakness in the Navy’s response, but the truth is that civilian leadership was also to blame.”

Under the bus

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One sailor on the Roosevelt died but many more would have if Crozier had not put his career on the line by speaking up. The same cannot be said of those military and civilian leaders above him who did not step up and continue to throw Crozier under the bus rather than taking responsibility for their own actions.

Military props

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President Trump has demonstrated, time and again, that he has no qualms about using the military to advance his personal political ends. He routinely stages uniformed personnel as props for partisan speeches. He treats deployments like political theater, as when he dispatched elements of the 82nd Airborne to the southern border to stoke fears of an immigrant invasion. And he undermines discipline and unit cohesion, pardoning war criminals convicted by military juries.

Fired

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Thomas Modly had been on the job for just over four months after his predecessor, Richard Spencer, was forced out amid a disagreement with President Trump over the handling of the Eddie Gallagher case. This week, Modly came under intense pressure to resign due to his handling of the situation on the USS Theodore Roosevelt, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier that quickly went from having three COVID-19 cases to hundreds among a crew of nearly 5,000 sailors after a port visit to Vietnam in early March.

Resigned

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In making a decision so quickly without completing an investigation into the leak, Modly revealed there were other concerns on his mind, particularly the views of President Trump. In November, Trump clashed with Navy leaders over his support of disgraced Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher, a dispute that ultimately led to former Navy Secretary Richard Spencer’s departure and Modly’s elevation. When asked about Crozier’s letter over the weekend, Trump said, “I thought it was terrible what he did, to write a letter. This isn’t a class on literature. This is a captain of a massive ship that’s nuclear-powered.”