- Posted May 28, 2014 by
Culture of Violence
Originally published (editorial section) in Marine Corps Times: 28 October 2013.
Sexual assault/harassment, whistle-blowers, etc., we are not protecting the innocent. We are not protecting the meek. We are not protecting those who stand up in the face of a powerful adversary to protect the innocent and the meek. Our culture of violence does not have room for the meek and the innocent. Our culture of violence needs a powerful moderator. But why? Why would a military force that is designed to protect the innocent, not protect the innocent?
“Every Marine is a rifleman.” “The mission of the Marine Corps rifle squad is to locate, close with and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver and/ or repel enemy assault by fire and close combat.” With that being said, where in the Marine Corps, past, present, or future are we trading in our rifles for cheerleader pom-poms? The U.S. military is a culture of violence. We have an inane desire to deny this overt attribute. Likewise, it appears that non-military (civilians) have an obscured understanding of what a military is and why the military exists.
Our U.S. military is a highly trained “fighting” force. We are trained to fight, kill, maim, incapacitate, etc. Military personnel are not recruited for their skills prior to entering the military, they are recruited base upon a general overview conducted via the ASVAB. Even officers are not approached regarding their prior skills (discounting lawyers and doctors). Individuals who enter the military have a finite understanding of customer relations, interpersonal relations, employee relations (dispute management); let alone an understanding of human behavior. How do we expect any military service to provide appropriate sexual assault/harassment oversight? How do we expect appropriate handling of “whistle-blower” situations? There is nothing within the military that can even remotely be construed as judicially gender equitable or positive labor relations.
We are not a financial institution employing administrative assistants; we are not a restaurant hiring cashiers or bartenders. Yes, the U.S. military does perform many jobs that have civilian equivalents but our civilian equivalents are not trained to fight off an aerial assault or an adversarial infiltration preceding a larger attack. To focus on the Marine Corps regarding who is recruited or commissioned – Every Marine is a rifleman.
There are many different types of individuals who migrate to the military and there are very diverse reasons that motivate those individuals to join. But there is no misunderstanding they are joining a fighting force.
But the fact remains, none of us are expertly trained in judicial oversight or human resource issues. There must be a separation of powers concerning judicial oversight of sexual assault/harassment incidents and there most certainly needs to be a cognizant understanding that we are a culture of violence.
Individuals trained in violent behavior do not act soft and cuddly. We are warriors, we are fighters, we grab our adversary by the throat and do not let go. As General George S. Patton so eloquently once said, “no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. You won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.”
You do not ask warriors to soften. You do not ask fighters to empathize. Marines, soldiers, etc., need to feel invincible. They need to be reminded of our undeniable ability to attack and crush our enemies.
With that being said, the U.S. military “needs” to create an external oversight entity that has unilateral judicial authority in sexual assault/harassment and “whistle-blower” incidents. This entity should align itself with or be created under the purview of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and governed by the National Labors Relations Act (NLRA).
The military should actively create its own external labor oversight entity for numerous reasons. Sexual assault/harassment is the primary reason. Sexual assault/harassment is by far the most debilitating act which undermines our military’s honor. Congruently, U.S. military service members require protection, as well, from commanders using psychological assessments to manipulate individuals under their charge. Case in point, Major James Weirick (Marine Corps attorney) who is the “whistle-blower” concerning the scout-snipers urinating on the deceased Taliban guerilla fighters in Afghanistan. Major Weirick has been relieved of his position; asked to turn in his personal weapons and submit to a voluntary psychiatric evaluation.
Internal oversight of sexual assault/harassment situations does not ever lead to positive outcomes (documentary, The Invisible War). Internal oversight of “whistle-blower” actions does not lead to positive outcomes. Military service members who stand up for what is right appear to be, on an extremely high average, put down like a rabid dog.
In summation, our military is the strongest and most dynamic military in existence. We need to maintain this power position. To do this we need to maintain our training standards but create an oversight entity – our own NLRB or a military extension of the currently existing NLRB.