Michael Weinstein: US Marines are Threat to National Security

As predicted, it didn’t take long for Chris Rodda to read last week’s write-up on the VMFA-122 Crusaders and manufacture some outrage.  She called the renaming of the unit from the recent “Werewolves” back to the “Crusaders” “sheer stupidity” and a “constitutional issue.”  Of course, everyone is aware of the clause in the Constitution that prohibits military units from having a cross on their patches.  It must be in there somewhere…she said so.

Michael Weinstein was in regular form.  Eliminating the unnecessary adjectives and adverbs, which constituted about a third of his statement:

“This…action…is…unconstitutional[] and…stupid[]. It [is]…propaganda…for our…Islamic foes and…a…national security threat…It will…hasten the maiming and deaths of our armed forces members…We’ll be seeing you in Federal Court, chump.”

“See you in court” from Michael Weinstein is about as threatening as “see you on the field” from the 2011 Indianapolis Colts.  Being a perpetual loser kind of undermines your credibility.

Michael Weinstein, again, says that America’s extremist adversaries — not the US Constitution nor “Nature” nor “Nature’s God” — are the barometer by which human liberty is to be measured.  The nickname of a US fighter squadron is a “national security threat” and will kill our troops?  Weinstein even said the US Marines were “fuel[ing] the cause of jihad.”  If something an American citizen does infuriates the Taliban, Weinstein apparently thinks it must end.  So, about that whole DADT thing (including raising the homosexual flag in Afghanistan), or letting girls attend school, or even American support for the continued existence of Israel…

Does Weinstein think America needs al Qaida’s permission for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?

Of course not.  The “it makes our enemies mad” tripe lends well to the emotional, if irrational, belief the action will be the proximate cause of American soldiers getting killed.  That’s demagoguery at its finest — and it has been disproven here before.  When Weinstein can’t win an argument, he changes (some might say misrepresents) the argument.  His position is so weak, in fact, he has to rely on threats of violence by others to even get the necessary attention to achieve his ends.

It’s also worth noting his organization’s pattern of protesting the wrong information.  In December, Weinstein’s lawyers complained about the display of the “wise men of Nazareth” in a Nativity on Travis AFB, when no such figurines were there (or even exist, for that matter).  This time, they again recount incorrect information.  As described by Chris Rodda:

Sources at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort have also confirmed that the “Crusader” insignia is being repainted on the planes flown by Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 122. These U.S. Marine Corps planes will once again have a great big red crusader cross on them

Weinstein was more specific:

Base commanders* have confirmed that the new artwork is identical to that shown in images from 2004…which depict designs on the tails of the Hornets displaying a white teardrop-shaped medieval “kite shield” bearing the red Knights Templar cross against an Old Glory Blue backdrop.

Pictures to which they refer resemble these, taken from an airshow:

The problem with Weinstein and Rodda’s detailed pontifications is, as usual, they’re not entirely correct.  The blue painted tail which draws such offense is a unique paint scheme — as in unique to that aircraft.  Traditionally, Marine and Navy aircraft flown by commanders may have unique tail art.  For example, this is a photo of multiple aircraft from a single unit:

In the picture above, “00” (or “200”) is a commander’s jet, likely a CAG, MAG, or the squadron commander.  Tails 202 and 204 are parked right next to that jet, yet they have a far less dramatic paint scheme.  If you look closely at the nose of the “crusader” F/A-18 from the airshow, you’ll see it bears the number “01.”  This appears to be a commander’s aircraft.  Tail 00, flown by a higher ranking commander, has had another paint scheme altogether.  Most of the rest of the unit bears some variation of the subdued unit insignia:

Does it matter that the cross and shield (and sword on the centerline tank) are subdued instead of bold and colored?  That depends.  It was important enough for Weinstein to specifically call out as offensive, yet not important enough for him to actually verify before he complained.

Rodda also opined about the true heritage of the squadron being the Werewolves, which is, according to her,

the name originally given to the unit by its WWII Marines 70 years ago.

Again, not entirely accurate.  The unit was first known as the Candystripers, not Werewolves.

Weinstein is offended by Crusaders, but for some reason seems to have no problem with Werewolves (evil, shapeshifting creatures), Blue Angels (clearly divine beings), Vikings (not exactly good moral examples in history), Pirates (with whom the US is engaged in combat), Black Knights (medieval racists), Lancers (Nazis!):

or units flying with the callsign “Camelot” (sound familiar?).  While he takes issue with these Marine “knights,” he takes no issue with the “crusading” US Army Golden Knights, even after he witnessed them firsthand at Fort Bragg just a few weeks ago.  Using Weinstein’s “offense of the enemy” as a standard, any of these could be just as bad as having a unit called “Crusaders,” yet Weinstein has said nothing.  Weinstein’s infatuation with the term “crusader” has been debunked before.  A commenter conveyed a common response that summarized the selective, hypersensitive outrage over unit names:

We should ground the Crusaders and replace them with Hells Angels. See how they like them apples.

Notably, Weinstein’s lawyer’s threatened “all legal action that we deem advisable to protect [their] client’s interests” if the Marines did not capitulate.  In the recent past, that “advisable” action has apparently been…absolutely nothing, as Weinstein’s threats frequently go unheeded and his lawyers are never heard from again.  But it sounds ominous, right?

As expected, Weinstein made no mention of the “unconstitutional” Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist, and other symbology used by other military units.  Just those that could be interpreted as Christian.  And he uses the words “religious freedom” and “Constitution” in describing his organization…

*Weinstein said “base commanders have confirmed…,” while Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort Public Affairs said the base had not been contacted by the MRFF.  Interesting.