Michael Weinstein Unloads on Former Air Force Ally

In December of last year a group called on Congress to investigate the relationship of the US Air Force with Michael Weinstein, the President of his self-founded Military Religious Freedom Foundation.  Weinstein has shown an ability to access private military records, apparently through his “high ranking” contacts, and his public statements seemed to indicate he was given unusually unfettered access to senior leadership.

A portion of Weinstein’s relationship with the USAF was revealed as recently as the blurb on Weinstein’s newest book, when the newly retired Air Force Judge Advocate General, three-star LtGen Jack Rives, “came out” as a strong cheerleader for Weinstein’s cause.  Gen Rives had been charged with advising the Air Force in its dealings with Weinstein’s continuous complaints — while he simultaneously supported Weinstein’s “tireless civil rights fight against fundamentalist religious predators in our nation’s armed forces.”

Weinstein has now published a 2,000-word diatribe admitting to his unusually unfettered access to Air Force leadership, though it appears he made the confession only to stroke his own ego.  Describing his constant contact with Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz over the past few years, Weinstein said:

As months passed and turned into years, Norty and I spoke frequently. Sometimes we spoke numerous times each month, and occasionally we spoke numerous times per week. Indeed, I still have a plethora of voice mails left by him from when I was unable to answer his calls…

[Schwartz] supposedly took attentive notes, promising to expeditiously tackle the dire matters of religious bigotry that were the subjects of our continual years of discussions.

It’s clear Weinstein wants the world to know how important he was, that the Chief of Staff of the US Air Force called him, took his advice, and “promised” action.  Frequently.  All the time. In an attempt to bolster his feelings of self-importance, Weinstein once described letting phone calls from four-star generals go to voicemail — because he was too busy watching TV.  Weinstein’s self-esteem is apparently largely reliant on people thinking important people have called him.

Not unlike the “bat-signal” he arranged with USAFA, it seems Weinstein also worked out a buddy system with Schwartz:

At my urging, Schwartz and I had organized a protocol that was supposed to address…[the] calls for help that MRFF received…

It seems the concerns of CARL were correct — Michael Weinstein, according to his own statements, has had a level of access to senior Air Force leaders not normally granted to other political activists, “charities,” or advocacy groups that have “declared war” on military institutions and religious beliefs.

If you’ll recall, Weinstein — who is Jewish — proudly proclaims he is waging a “war” with a “sect” of Christianity in the US military.  Can you imagine what the public reaction would have been had the Chief of Staff of the Air Force been consorting with someone who proclaimed they were “at war” with a sect of Judaism?

Apparently General Schwartz “promised” Weinstein, among other things, the opportunity to “address his most senior…commanders,” though he never followed through.

Weinstein’s angst over such broken promises characterizes the theme of his missive, which he titled “Good Riddance to the Air Force’s Religious Intolerance Enabler in Chief.”  In an odd twist, his criticisms of the Chief actually align him with his adversaries, like US Rep Randy Forbes, who said Schwartz was “as bad as I’ve seen…in defending religious liberty.”  Weinstein’s diatribe lays into the former Chief of Staff with his characteristic vitriol and overuse of adjectives, but it hit new lows even for him.

While Weinstein has previously appropriated rape, race, and holocaust imagery to sensationalize his claims, he has also made a habit of latching onto whatever is currently in the press in an attempt to coattail some publicity.  This time, he compares the tenure of General Schwartz to that of Joe Paterno, head coach of Penn State during Jerry Sandusky’s sexual abuse — a “literary device” that made even some of Weinstein’s supporters wince.

Weinstein’s missive hits all the notes — Weinstein at once seems a jilted lover, an abandoned child, and a betrayed wife.  Apparently, hell hath no fury like Weinstein scorned.

But why wait until now to say anything, when Schwartz was Chief of Staff for four years?

That may be a lesson Weinstein learned with USAFA’s Gen Gould.  Weinstein continued to criticize and berate General Gould despite Gould’s good faith efforts to work with Weinstein — including granting direct access to Gould’s office.  Weinstein lost his red-phone “bat signal” to the General because his constant criticism proved that no matter what Gen Gould did, Weinstein was going to complain — it was the complaint, not its resolution, that Weinstein wanted.  In his zeal for press, Weinstein lost his special access.

Now that Schwartz has retired, Weinstein can rail against him without fear of losing his “most favored status” among the Air Force leadership.  (It seems a habit of Weinstein’s to burn his bridges if he thinks he can gain from the pyre.)

Because with Schwartz’s departure Weinstein has already lost his special access.  General Mark Welsh, the new Chief of Staff, is known as “no nonsense” leader and likely won’t give Weinstein the time of day.

And that’s why Weinstein is scared.