|An Open Letter to Admiral Adama|
|Thursday, 08 March 2007|
After seeing Season 3 episode "Dirty Hands" of Battlestar Galactica 2003, Chuck Norris thought that Admiral Adama finally had crossed the line and he decided to write him a letter.
I first want to open this treatise by commending you for shouldering such a huge responsibility in commanding the Colonial Fleet after such a great loss as that of the Twelve Colonies. Very few people would be as capable or as willing to take on such a heavy mission. I also want to express my personal condolences to you on the loss of Captain Thrace. She served us all well, and we know how personally close you and she were. She looked up to you like one would a father; but then, you know that.
I also want to commend you on your ability to maintain a relatively neutral, no-nonsense attitude when dealing with issues that might tempt other leaders to become emotionally involved in the situation, and thus cloud their own judgment. At the same time, however, you also know how to balance that no-nonsense attitude with the appropriate amount of compassion and reasonability. I think of your numerous dealings with Apollo and with Starbuck for separate but similar reasons. While anyone would understand your dismissal of either of them from the ranks for their acts and attitudes, you fully recognize that they are top-notch pilots, necessary to the very survival of the fleet, and necessary to produce other pilots with similar skill levels. Your caution and compromise when you learned of Kara’s wrongful handling of Zak, and Apollo’s previous “mutiny” in support of President Roslin gave us two views of your restraint on the side of practicality. I salute you for your pragmatism.
I also want to commend you on your willingness to admit when you are wrong, at the right time. As a strong military leader, you stick to your guns in the middle of a fight, but you are careful to make amends later, when the situation truly warrants that you do so. Your willingness to apologize to Captain Helo for his persistent concerns regarding Dr. Robert’s neglect of those Sagittaron refugees on the Galactica took guts. Your admission to your own son, about your mistakes in promoting Garner to command the Pegasus, was also commendable.
However, in that same discussion, then-Major Apollo responds with the very answer that you deemed correct: “[Garner] worked with tools. Command is about people.” Those words resonated strongly with me on a very personal as well as a professional level. May I ask then, why did this phenomenal piece of advice not apply to Chief Tyrol during the Hitei Kan incident? Garner’s actions were just as mutinous if not more so that Chief Tyrol’s. They were a smug, direct violation of your orders, in spite of then-Major Apollo’s advice to him that the Cylons had laid traps with fake distress calls in the past. Perhaps it was just Cmdr. Garner’s luck that a) he did not survive the incident and b) he died saving the Pegasus.
I concede that the absolute stoppage of work during wartime has a more profound effect than it would during peacetime. Therefore I recognize the need for quick and decisive action to resolve the situation. I further concede that the President’s due notation of Fenner’s citation of Baltar’s material added to Fenner’s rebellious attitude. That alone needed to be addressed, since at that point, you needed to separate true needs from political wants.
However, I believe Admiral Cain was interested in similarly swift justice, and that her desires to see two criminals executed carried similar weight. I respectfully submit that this act would have equally unjustified and equally harsh.
To see you stoop to the same level of suppression and tyranny as Admiral Cain did to the crew of the Scylla – to kill off anyone that disagreed with or disobeyed her - even when the acts on her part were openly criticized by President Roslin and yourself, would have been sheer hypocrisy. In fact, Cain’s threat to use such force incited you and the President to conspire to assassinate her.
Tell us, how did your treatment of Cally differ? These actions alone might lend undue support to Baltar’s allegations, and might make the more innocent middlemen turn to works like Baltar’s book for peace and direction. In fact, it might unintentionally validate the “class conflict” that Baltar was theorizing about. By allowing Baltar to reach this model first, he is free to propagandize it as he sees fit. However, if the right mind could reassure the fleet that all these so-called “classes” are indeed equal and necessary, that a farmer or a deckhand is just as important as a fighter pilot. The Tyrols knew this, and they would be wise counsel for you in dealing with the “masses” that you command. President Roslin understands this very well. I would respectfully ask you to consider the respect that she gives them, and to show the same.
Chief Tyrol had made several observations that clearly validated at least some of the concerns voiced by the crew of the Hitei Kan. These concerns were at least as equal to, if not greater than, the quality of those evidence found by Apollo on the Prometheus during the Black Market scandal. The effects of the Black Market on food and medicine availability were no different from the effects of the strike on the Hitei Kan. However, you did not immediately threaten to send a strike force of marines over to mow the insurgents down. I respectfully ask, is fuel more precious than food or medicine?
I am fully aware that your attitudes are not all that hard-lined. What you did for your own son by passing your father’s treasured law books on to him, and making the President’s offer to him to participate in Baltar’s trial was selfless and admirable. You may not be aware of it just yet, but a conversation between Cmdr. Apollo and the President took place about his interest in law being occluded by his obligations to you and to the military. Your willingness to acquiesce to what you might perceive as your son’s earlier career desires was full of compassion and worthy of praise. Why are the rest of your citizens not allowed this same right to choose their destiny? And does your grief for Starbuck alone now allow you to, without any other reasonable cause, renege on your support of Major Apollo in either his assigned tasks regarding Baltar's trial, or the effect of that task on his own destiny? Your implied "diagnosis" of Lee (regarding his mourning the loss of Kara) was absolutely correct. However, sir, it also applies to you. I respectfully ask you to reconsider your words to the Major before you betray them again.
I concede that the fleet has essential duties, most of which are not pleasant. And I further concede that there is a point at which total freedom of choice during a time of war such as this one must give way to the greater need of society. But there are contradictions here that do not allow that rationale to be used in the recent decision making processes seen in the fleet. How many times has Captain Starbuck herself complained for a lack of Viper pilots? Granted, this was more vocalized before the advent of the Pegasus, but we took losses in dealing with Scar, and at the Battle of New Caprica. Furthermore, Cmdr. Apollo is again correct, that we can not afford to have our guards down at any time, even though the Cylons have not attacked in recent weeks. Therefore, why would the military turn away an applicant to flight training? This boggles my mind, as you can never have too many trained fighter pilots in this kind of situation. The decision to reverse Seelix’s rejection and allow her into flight training was a wise gesture, and it shows that perhaps our leadership has considered Chief Tyrol’s words.
I ask you to consider these thoughts, with utmost respect and with even more gratitude as you continue to guide this fleet.
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