Posts Tagged ‘leadership’

Marine mess

There is, many think (and I agree with them), no greater fighting force these days than the US Marine Corps. Their bravery and ferocity are legendary. They have had a reputation of that for years, and while there have been a few groups who have been in the same category (in particular I think of the French Foreign Legion), none have remained atop the pyramid for as long as the Marines.

But I have to wonder about them.  About their mindset, their leadership, their ability to take care of their own. ESPECIALLY about the latter. Too much has come out in the past few years that shows they have lost their inner values and core beliefs. They’ve lost the corps, the unique mental aspect that differentiates them from other forces.

Camp Lejeune.  Storied home of Marine Corps basic training. For over thirty years the drinking water of the base was contaminated with a variety of toxic, cancerous chemicals.  Not only were the Marines in training exposed to it, so were the families living on base. Young families with children. For thirty-five years.  Even after it was known, it took years and years for it to be acknowledged; approval for funding for medical benefits didn’t occur until ….2017.

US Naval Academy.  Storied home of the best and brightest officers in training for the Navy and the Marine Corps. Duty, Honor, Country.  A Marine instructor pleads guilty to both obstruction of justice by lying to investigators, and encouraging another officer to lie.  His lie involved a sexual misconduct case with two female midshipmen that occurred while he was an instructor and ranking officer to them. So much for duty or honor.

Marines United. Sharing pictures (clothed and naked) and personal information on fellow female Marines, on Marine wives, on Marine girlfriends on Facebook, and since the story broke on dark web sites.  Violating the corps again, by violating fellow Marines.

And these aren’t the only cases, just the most recent.  Look back at the blood-pinning scandal of the late 1990’s. Look at the issues of rape within the Corps and where they are stationed (particularly Japan and Okinawa). Is there a thread here?  Yes. It is the callous disregard for the lives, the welfare, the well-being of others in the Corps itself as well as outside of it.  It is a failure of character and leadership that originates in the very heart of the training centers for Marine personnel and officers.

I value the Marines combat ability, their skills on the battle field, their superiority over our enemies.  But that can’t come at the cost of losing the character and humanity for which we are fighting.  Once again, and too often, Marine generals and leadership say this doesn’t reflect the Corps, that things will be changed.

The lack of change that occurs reflects, sadly, yet another failure of Marine leadership.

American Crisis……redux

Congress has no credibility, among any group in the country or the electorate.  Deep, deep divisions exist between parties over almost everything, from revenue and taxation to foreign affairs and, of course, ending the war.  There is even in some the belief that there should be no “united” states.  the future looks bleak, forlorn, nearly hopeless.

The scenario is, surprisingly, that of the country in 1781-83, at the end of the Revolutionary War.  I recently finished reading “American Crisis: George Washington and the Dangerous Two years after Yorktown, 1781-1783”.  I was struck by how similar to the current temper of the country could be easily matched by that of the country 230 years ago.  Actually, that whole time period has, in at least tone and tenor, a surprising number of similarities with the current political climate.  The difference is that at time we at least had Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, and several other brilliant, selfless leaders to help navigate the course.  Today, sadly, it seems we have two ends of the spectrum with not much more than vitriol to offer.  Yet, perhaps, there is a comfort in knowing that this level of angst, this scale of disfunction, this amount of danger, is not new and that we have the ability to endure and move past.  Maybe, knowing that we survived that period of turbulence,  there is some solace in knowing that “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

I hope so.