We have a lot of Michaels commenting here, and one of them, plain old Michael, I have had the honor and pleasure of knowing personally. In this fascinating Comment of the Day, he provides some fascinating details regarding Billy Mitchell’s trial, and some other perspective as well. The post immediately expanded by reading list.
Here is Michael’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Captain Crozier And The Ghost Of Billy Mitchell“:
As a cadet at the USAF Academy (class of 1969) I had Billy Mitchell among my pantheon of heroes. Nonetheless, my philosophy professor, Col Malcolm Wakin, had us debate the ethics of the Billy Mitchell trial. He was not trying to get us to “an answer” (although it seemed pretty clear that the members of the Court were biased, and our debate centered more on Mitchell’s actions); rather, to engage in debate. It was one of the reasons he was my favorite Academy professors. Always probing. Always promoting open debate. This is a rather long intro, but I wanted the background of my own “ethics awakening” known.
Wakin was a major when he started promoting the idea that military academies should include philosophy departments. Other officers denigrated the idea, but the USAF decided to establish an Academy philosophy department and selected Major Wakin as its first department head. At the time, that meant a “temporary” promotion directly to full colonel! Therefore, not long after being called “silly” by many other officers, he outranked them. He was department head for many years, eventually retiring as a Brig General and being sought by many companies and the US Olympic Committee to provide ethics advice. Continue reading