This story is rich. First, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki decided late last year that the whole Army should get new black berets as part of a morale-building effort designed to conicide with the Army’s birthday this June 14.
Predictably, the Rangers were a bit annoyed by this; heretofore, only their elite group was able to wear black berets. They understandably insisted that Army-wide deployment thereof would cheapen the emblem of their unit. Somehow, a compromise was reached allowing the Rangers to get some other color hat, which frankly still strikes me as wrong, but at least they still get to be unique.
Then is comes to light that the only way to get enough — 2.6 million — berets by the deadline would be to use foreign suppliers. Including China, who would be supplying 600,000 black hats. Once again, a PR issue ensued — “shouldn’t the Army buy American goods?” people asked. Lawmakers got nervous.
Not nearly as nervous, though, as they are now, since China has been elevated to Bad Guy in the wake of the mid-air collision last month. Tuesday night, the Pentagon announced that no Army personnel would wear Chinese-made berets, and directed the Army to dispose of all said berets with “Chinese content.”
That’ll show those pesky Chinese. “We’re gonna buy 600,000 black berets from you — and then throw ’em out!. Nyah Nyah Nyah!”