USAFA Follows Rules. Michael Weinstein Complains. News at 11.

As predictable as the sun rising in the East, the US Air Force Academy sent out an announcement that had a topic related to religion, and Michael Weinstein complained.

In fact, he’s “livid.”

The situation:  Apparently, Air Force Academy Chaplain (Col) Robert Bruno distributed a mass email about an upcoming ‘marriage and family seminar.’  The email was approved by the Vice Superintendent, and represented the “regularly” advertised chaplaincy programs occurring daily at USAFA.  Michael Weinstein said:

It could not possibly be clearer that the academy deserves its terrible reputation for fundamentalist Christian bias.

To be clear, even the publicized article notes the USAFA email explicitly followed (and even referenced) the Air Force Chief of Staff’s recent memo on religious neutrality for which Weinstein claimed victory and credit.

Even when USAFA follows the rules Weinstein seems to want, he still complains.

As far as Weinstein is concerned, USAFA can do no right.  (Fortunately, it appears General Gould and USAFA have figured this out.) 

The Weinstein complaint (published without examination, as usual, by Pam Zubeck at the Colorado Springs Independent) also announced Weinstein’s latest salvo in his self-described war with USAFA.  In his campaign of “agitation,” the latest tactic he’s chosen is “death by a thousand paper cuts.”  He has, once again, lodged another Freedom of Information Act request.

This time his FOIA is seeking information on USAFA’s Falcon Clips, which is essentially a local version of the DoD’s Early Bird.  He apparently thinks the content of Falcon Clips is “biased” toward “evangelical Christian information.”  Interestingly,

This request is limited to the 2010-2011 academic year.

Guess when Falcon Clips was last in the news?  In the fall semester of 2010, Weinstein complained to the Secretary of Defense (and cc’d President Obama, for good measure) over the inclusion of content from in USAFA’s Falcon Clips.  That has been the only public complaint of the distribution to date, so its unclear what trend exists in the Falcon Clips over which to justify such an accusation.  In addition, the article about which Weinstein complained contained no “evangelical Christian information.”  (Even he described it as a “sarcastic rant against MRFF.”)

Weinstein also wants to know the “first and last names of all personnel involved” with Falcon Clips’ content.  It’s almost as if he’s trying to figure out who on USAFA’s staff is reading this website.  Given his penchant for threats and intimidation, giving him that information could be ominous.

For what its worth, the request for names will likely be denied, as the release of their names serves no public interest and would likely violate their privacy. Still, the multi-point request is yet another administrative distraction from USAFA’s ability to perform its primary mission. 

In fact, it is little more than a fundraising or litigation fishing expedition for Weinstein, with USAFA doing the heavy-lifting against itself on his behalf.

Weinstein is free, of course, to criticize USAFA all he wants; the majority of the public is likewise free to ignore him, as it largely does.  One disturbing point, however, is the frequency with which Weinstein publishes rants from self-identified USAFA cadets against their leadership, as he has in this instance.  In an email to the MRFF a cadet reportedly described USAFA’s conduct with regard to the email as “hypocritical bulls–t”:

Lt. Gen. Gould and his Academy want you to be a zealous Christian in the USAF more than it wants you to know about the Chief of Staff’s memo on the limits and perils of being a zealous Christian in the USAF.

Again, bulls–t. Thank you and MRFF for being the only place we can go to protest. If we could “Occupy Lt. Gen. Gould’s office” a la Wall Street we would. But we can’t.

As has been mentioned before, the Air Force Academy is a leadership education institution.  There is no expectation that new cadets fully understand the duties and obligations they will have as future officers.  The expectation is simply that they learn.

Weinstein’s cadet “client” appears to have quite a few things to learn about serving in the military.  Hopefully he soon figures out he isn’t going to learn them from Michael Weinstein.