You can’t call them “Mess Halls” any longer, but the term may be making a comeback, since the Army has taken to restructuring its dining facilities so as to make them healthier. Here we have a bunch of do-gooders inflicting their ideas about nutrition on the Armed Forces. Living nearby Fort Hood, I’ve had an opportunity to ask a few soldiers about their view of all this, and it isn’t generally pleasant. Gone are the days of basic training mess-halls in which the object was to get in, consume all you could in as short a time as possible, and get out before some Drill Sergeant decided a soldier was taking too long. No, now they have “dining facilities” and the food is label with color-coded warnings as to its nutritional value. According to CNS News, the same people who didn’t like our color-coded Terror Alert system are now inflicting it on soldiers’ meals.
Of course, you might have guessed by now that Michelle Obama has been involved, and true to form, the First Lady is happy to project her own notions about nutrition on others. In this case, dietitian Lt. Colonel Sonya Cable is pushing a different “green initiative,” as it is her job to see to it that the old mess-halls become richer in vegetables, and poorer in fried foods. This is the sort of nonsense we now have in the military, as the truth is that trainees in Army Basic Training should be consuming calories at a rate that makes vegetables a poor choice for the new recruits. They need to pack in all the calories in a meal they can get, except for the relative handful that should be viewing basic training as an opportunity to burn off excess.
Cable’s thinking is to come up with a color system to label foods that pushes healthy food, with a system of labels. Red is for the fried foods, and sweets, amber is for the middle-of-the-road dishes, and green is for the things that are viewed as the best alternatives, but even with this system, there’s some realization that this may not be entirely feasible:
“I had some folks say to me, ‘Well, why on earth did you even include the red ones to begin with?’ Two reasons – one, we’ve got soldiers who have racehorse metabolisms that they needed every calorie I could get into them. And by taking off the ‘red’ we just found that we couldn’t get enough calories in them.”
No kidding. Welcome to the real Army, Colonel. Of course, reading some of her other thoughts, it became clear to me that this is one Army officer who probably doesn’t understand much about soldiering from the perspective of the recruits going through Basic Training at Fort Jackson or elsewhere. Trainees don’t sit on their duffs for eight hours, do physical training once or twice per week, and then go home to sit on their backsides for the evening. Why this didn’t dawn on Lt. Col. Cable is another matter, but then you realize she’s in tune with Washington-speak, when she reflects on her previous visit to Ft. Jackson:
“My eyes got opened very quickly that it really is a community,” she said, about her visit to Fort Jackson, S.C. seven years ago to observe its dining facilities. “We talk about a village that raises a child. Well a community develops a brand new soldier, too. And that’s what we found there.”
Now the liberal planners are designing nutrition programs for the Army. Perfect! That explains a great deal, because they’re more interested in fads popular with DC social circles than in what actually works. Cable took the First Lady on a guided tour of a dining facility at Ft. Jackson in January, and she reports that this program that started with basic training sites has now spread to other training facilities. In short order, this will spread throughout the services, and one more part of Obama’s fundamental transformation will have been completed. The liberal mindset must tinker with everything, and that Michelle Obama is even distantly involved should encourage us to pause on the subject in reflection about the direction of our military, and its purpose.