DID MARINES AMBUSH DEFENSE SECRETARY HAGEL?
by Andy Weddington
Friday, 26 July 2013
"The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict." Martin Luther King, Jr.
Today's lengthy but necessarily so comment began as a short letter. It was to be that follow-on letter to our Commandant addressing sexual assault; noted as a topic for separate conversation in 'A Public Letter to the Commandant of the Marine Corps' published little more than a month ago.
But after reading an article sent to me last Saturday morning the scope of today's content changed thus did format.
When a distinguished visitor (DV) - commonly known as a VIP (Very Important Person) of which Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel qualifies - visits a military base nothing is left to chance. Nothing.
The itinerary is planned and coordinated to the minute. The host rehearses. And rehearses. The plan is tweaked. Every moment is checked and cross-checked ad nauseam. During walk-throughs seniors scrutinize, pontificate aloud, and suggest. More tweaks. Rocks are painted (and "rocks are painted"). Then the colors are changed. Then changed back. And then, and only then, the general takes a look - brilliant ideas galore. Incredibly, no one anticipated any of them. Sigh. Repaint the rocks. More tweaks - and sometimes not just lipstick but makeovers.
And the personnel, in this case Marines and Sailors, with whom the Secretary of Defense will officially interact, are hand-picked, inspected (e.g., person, uniform, knowledge), and coached.
During rehearsals, inevitably, some Marines will be replaced - some for good reasons and some for silly reasons. Every level in the chain of command has better ideas; the flagpole the best.
A DV visit is a spit and polish parade.
By the day of the visit, the parade, Marines are numb to petty nonsense that does not matter. Yet they standby for last minute tweaks, paint brushes at the ready, and eagerly await the word "endex" - end of exercise.
Frankly, DV visits are important but disruptive they are. After weeks of planning and days of preparation and rehearsal cancellation is not unheard of. Time - that could have been used for more productive things - like training - wasted.
Anyway, the article mentioned above appeared in the Thursday, 18 July 2013 edition of the Jacksonville Daily News. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel visited Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and on his itinerary was a stop to meet with Marines, women, to hear about their military experience.
Most likely the Secretary's intent was to gather more ammunition to support the crazy 'assigning women to ground combat units to include the infantry' cause. But apparently somebody on the Secretary's staff forgot to coordinate that point with leadership at Camp Lejeune. Or did they?
Whatever happened, the Marines gave Secretary Hagel an earful.
Secretary Hagel, reportedly, did not hear opinions true to the hard line feminist's script, the Senate Armed Service Committee (SASC) and House Armed Services Committee (HASC) agendas, and the Defense Department's reckless push to eradicate all traces of the recently overturned combat exclusion rule (forbidding women in ground combat).
Might the Marine's not sworn, but truthful, statements have already been stricken from the record; they duly counseled and forced to sign non-disclosure agreements; publicly punished; and ordered to pack sea bags for immediate reassignment to posts in the middle of nowhere?
One, a combo of, or all of those outcomes would not be surprising. Par for the course, the truth-telling innocent punished and exiled while non-participating fabricators and mutes garner high praise, embossed certificates, glittery decorations, and exotic assignments in glamorous foreign ports of call.
That slightly cynical conclusion offered having watched the hasty SASC "hearings" run full throttle - contrary to data and passionate pleas of combatants - to repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' (DADT). Not to mention other shameful agendas and nonsense and downright damn lies coming from government as to "phony" scandals; to preempt truth from our citizenry.
The article covered discussions about women in ground combat. If attention was given to sexual assault such was not noted. But that matter will be addressed momentarily, anyway.
As to ground combat, a young female Marine said, "My personal opinion is that (integration) is moving too fast ... this is a great opportunity, but a standard must be set that everyone has to meet ... moving too quickly is going to cause harm."
Her comment - "A standard must be set that everyone has to meet?" - is naïve but attributable to youth and inexperience, of course. She gets a pass.
To counter, the standard is what the standard is. If speaking to ground combat arms MOSs, certainly those standards, with our Corps now in combat for a dozen years, have been established and fine-tuned by Marines, enlisted and officer, with extensive combat experience. Surely they know what they are talking about and doing. Therefore, if a Marine, female or male, cannot perform they do not belong in the specialty.
Relevant at this point are comments made by a couple of women cited in a recent article, by David Lerman, titled 'U. S. Military Vows To Put Women in Combat Roles By 2016' - covering a HASC military personnel subcommittee session - that appeared on Bloomberg.com Wednesday, 24 July 2013.
Said Loretta Sanchez, a California Democrat, describing the task of opening up ground combat to women as providing Equal Opportunity for women, "I'm real excited to get this done. Combat performance is an important issue when people are looking at moving up in all of these organizations."
That from a woman whose biography is absent a single day of uniformed military service. There is nothing quite like hearing the expertise of someone who has no clue as to what they are talking about.
By the way, Sanchez is known for her bizarre position that only folk of Mexican heritage should be living in California, and she wants the territory back for Mexico. Is she a racist? Uncertain as to what might happen in these nutty times, yesterday I ran my name through 'The Carlos Danger Name Generator' - I'm "Jorge Covert" and safe with Hispanic sounding alias. Pardon my digression to expose Sanchez and further expose, as if that's necessary, New York City's mayoral candidate, and #1 creep, Anthony 'Carlos Danger' Weiner. Geez!
Moving on, and, from Juliet Beyler, the Defense Department's director of officer and enlisted personnel management, "It's not a matter of lowering or raising standards. The key is to validate the standard to make sure it's the right standard for the occupation."
Though that is bureaucrat hogwash it also makes for a voice of sanity. Unwittingly, Ms. Beyler just made the case for not integrating women into ground combat units but standing up an all-female Marine infantry battalion (the Corps basic deploying fighting unit) and putting it through the rigors of predeployment training, testing and evaluation, and, if deemed mission capable, deployment.
For Ms. Beyler must surely appreciate once meeting a gender-normed (lower) standard during a carefully controlled PT field test is not doing the heavy, nitty-gritty work day in and day out for days, weeks, months and years. It's no small wonder she's in charge of something. Yes, indeed, do not "man" but "woman" and equip and train that Marine infantry battalion soonest, Ms. Beyler. Let's absolutely determine if the right standards have been set for the occupation. Perhaps the men have been working too hard these past centuries.
However, the young woman Marine is certainly correct moving too quickly is going to cause harm.
Another Marine, Holly Wingler, a combat engineer and veteran of Iraq, opined at length. She said women in combat is the worst decision the military could make. "Women can do it, but it doesn't mean they should ... human nature is for a man to protect a female. I see that causing a problem with mission accomplishment."
Goodness, a female Marine, with firsthand experience, speaks sensibly. But not from the script handed her by the hard line feminists, SASC and HASC, DoD, and her chain of command.
Yet, there's no proof for her comment, "Women can do it...". That is, women can perform in combat. For the definition of combat has been so bastardized to encompass any and everything related to hostile fire and danger it's meaningless.
But, to be clear, exposure to hostile fire and danger is not combat. Even being injured or killed while exposed to hostile fire and danger is not combat.
Combat is the deliberate offensive and aggressive and grueling act of purposely hunting, closing with, and killing (or capturing) the enemy through fire and maneuver and close combat (hand-to-hand fighting). And combat is carried out under the most unimaginable of conditions as to terrain and climate. All while the enemy is likewise hunting. It's physically and mentally exhausting. It's brutal. It's uncivilized.
That synopsis from testimony offered by a Marine, veteran of three wars, who was awarded all but the Medal of Honor for combat heroism. In 13 minutes and 18 seconds he offered a comprehensive and brilliant masterpiece for all times; especially today (link to General Robert H. Barrow's testimony in Post Script).
Wingler noted women in combat would be a logistical nightmare. And she said women would slow men down - hesitating to ensure a woman is okay before they'd do the same for a man. She's exactly right.
She said, "Hesitation gets people killed in combat ... some women want to prove they are good enough but they've already done more than 98-percent of the population just by serving. And for those that forgot - being a female in the military isn't about doing a man's job. It's about serving your country."
There's that sensible perspective, again. Hard line feminists, SASC and HASC members, and DoD wonks - civilian and military, take note. Secretary Hagel, did you hear her? General Dempsey and Service Chiefs, are you paying attention? General Amos, Sir?
Related to the women in ground combat discussion and offered in recent commentary, "To pause a moment for a point of emphasis. No matter how cleverly defined, presented, tested, analyzed, and defended "gender-norming" - in either direction - is mediocrity. Mediocrity is a foreign concept to Marines. In tough, fast-paced, long-lasting, unpredictable, and dangerous operations, training or combat, mediocrity will get Marines injured and killed. That is truth!"
As noted earlier, there was no mention whether or not Secretary Hagel asked about or the Marines offered comment on sexual assault. If the topic was not addressed and directly - an opportunity lost. The problem is not going to disappear. Nor will it be "hoped" away.
When responding to the Marine who sent the article to me, I replied with comments that also addressed, bluntly, sexual assault. What follows is an edit of that reply - polished for the public forum.
- Perhaps women Marines are injecting sanity. Though it'll likely not matter for their opinions are in conflict with the inane agenda. Therefore, all soon to be dismissed and buried.
Per the hasty approach carried out by the SASC to repeal DADT - a casual yawn of disinterest and shameful disregard for data, fact, and field testimony offered by young warriors in combat - the corrupt process is set for rubber-stamping women in ground combat; infantry and special forces, too. And so will go whatever other nutty ideas come along to subject our military to carnival freak show attraction standards. Or so is a logical deduction.
So why is it a surprise to anyone when youth enter the military with deeply ingrained sick ideas established since early in life and behave accordingly? Now, suddenly, there's a problem with their personal conduct?
Now they face a culture saying, "Everything you've been bombarded with in life prior to arrival in the military is wrong."?
And the youth question, "What? There's a difference between a preposition and a proposition? Wait a minute, what's a preposition?"
To further complicate the problem seniors - civilian and military - are forcing young uniformed men and women into scenarios where a mix of genders does not make any military sense as to strengthening readiness and warfighting prowess. Why?
And, those doing the ordering - most who never served and those who did will never contend with the challenges - propose it's a fine idea? Yes, they say, there must be equal opportunity. And, they have all the answers to "make it happen"? Bizarre. And stupid.
Adding still more confounding complexity, DoD celebrates open homosexuality and LGBT Month - that goes against the moral fabric of the vast majority in and out of uniform - as if these are newly discovered force combat multipliers? Please!
More still, our commandant authorizes Marine uniforms for wear at gay pride parades? Since when do Marines participate in, much less celebrate, "politics," of any ilk, while wearing a uniform? Our sacred Birthday, 10 November, is when we celebrate - being Marines; all else subordinate and moot. -
Ergo, animosity, anger, resentment, divisiveness, and more is what all this nonsense creates as the morals and values of the majority are not just being encroached upon but aggressively attacked. The antithesis of brotherhood, of cohesion, is at work.
In 'A Public Letter to the Commandant of the Marine Corps,' there was mention of the disturbing sexual assault problem in our Marine Corps, "1) Will placing men and women in closer proximity solve the problem?; 2) Might spraying jet fuel on a burning aircraft douse the fire?"
Those two questions were not attempts at cynicism, flippant sick humor, nor were they disrespectful.
Accordingly, another voice cited in the Lerman article, Representative Jackie Walorski, Indiana Republican, who likewise does not have military service to her credit but a level head, worries integrating women into small ground combat units risks an increase of sexual assaults in the ranks. Said she, "Have you anticipated what's going to happen? What's happening now doesn't work. Is there research? Is there a plan?"
Good, Ms. Walorski, "Press the attack!" - so said Colonel John W. Ripley, USMC, when encouraging his Marines. His blunt testimony, too, regarding women in combat is included in the Post Script.
Sexual assault is not the core problem.
The core problem rests at the top - civilian and military. There is a conspicuous absence of the biological, physiological, and anatomical materials and structures as well as spiritual qualities necessary that, collectively, make for good old-fashioned moral courage-based leadership.
I've spent considerable time reflecting on my days as a rifle and weapons platoon commander - ashore and afloat. Most of that cerebral digging spent on the work required to build fire teams and squads with the right personality mix (my education behavioral psychology), and then to train those units first to operate effectively alone and then as a platoon and then with other platoons - as part of a rifle company. Mutual trust, respect, equally sharing in hardship and danger, camaraderie, and more critical to cohesion.
Marines are not, like Tinker Toys and Legos, interchangeable parts made of wood and plastic. Change any Marine - a complicated, thinking being of bone and tissue and blood and will - in a small unit and the entire dynamic of the unit is changed. And that was with males.
I toyed with integrating a female, pairs of females, even a fire team of females in my platoon(s) and came to the same conclusion: Insane. No hypothetical worked. And in this case a human brain is more powerful than computer modeling.
For beyond the obvious arguments of inferior strength and endurance - carrying heavy combat loads, crew-served weapons and ammunition for miles and miles and during months and months of arduous training - matters of billeting (i.e., barracks, shipboard, field) necessitate separation of genders. Otherwise, temptation alone is a distraction from duty.
Thus, how does physically separating Marines, that must be pulled together to live and train and fight as a team, foster cohesion?
Insert a female into the mix?
It's beyond comprehension.
The conclusion - women in ground combat units, any ground combat unit, is not just impractical but mission impossible. And the ongoing effort, an idiotic and wasteful exercise in futility and resources, should be shut down immediately.
However argued, it makes no sense. And it's a dynamic young Marines, warriors, being asked to do deadly work, as said more than once - in training or combat - should never have to confront. Not if leadership is truly looking out for their welfare. Seniors, today, appear more concerned with themselves - actions handily trumping shallow words of feigned sincerity.
And, again, for what gain in readiness, effectiveness, efficiency, and combat power do women offer ground combat units (any combat unit for that matter)?
Male-bonding is a critical element of cohesion and military readiness. No woman, no matter who she is nor what she does, is capable of experiencing male-bonding. That is a fact of life - and female presence is an unacceptable starting point deficiency, magnitude immeasurable, for building cohesion that cannot be overcome. Similarly, nor can a male ever fully experience sisterhood and, regardless how effeminate, his presence disruptive. That, too, is a fact of life. But moot as to the issue.
Though young Marines, short-sighted as they are driven by surging hormones, may come up with entertaining positions for mixing genders along the lines of improving morale, welfare, and recreation. A straight face they'd not be able to keep making their pitch. Ever they scheme, young Marines. Leadership they require.
Initially there may be big fun in fighting holes. But long-term consequences of envy and jealousy and backlash are inevitable. Those, and other emotions, are powerful human sentiments that fester and seethe - they destroy relationships, morale, and unit cohesion.
Our country's perspective and presentation of women must change. And also change there must be as to the female's role in our military. Else trying to eradicate sexual assault is akin to pouring water through a colander. That not a defeatist's angle but reality.
Which brings the conversation to another recent article, with accompanying photographs, that appeared in Marine Times last week.
Women Marines wearing male style dress blues and barracks cover - a test wear.
For what purpose? Uniformity - to make Marines look the same? To garner respect? To camouflage women? To perhaps distract or wish or hope women into the role of performing on par with men?
If yes, then why not the exact same grooming standards for men and women as to hair length; makeup and nail polish; perfume; earrings; etc.?
And, by the way, how are today's different standards for the genders being accepted by the LGBT populace?
Will disgruntlement soon call for "gender-normed" grooming standards - demands for either gender to wear longer hair; makeup and nail polish; perfume; earrings; skirts; and whatever else is at issue, if they so desire?
It sounds insane but the question follows the current illogical march towards artificial androgyny.
A woman may be able superficially to, at first glance, appear as a man but she is still a woman. She will, upon closer inspection, look like a woman - in features and contour. So will she walk, talk, and emit the glow of a woman. And strength and endurance will be that of a woman.
Secretary Hagel, whether he wanted to or not, got it straight from the women. But enough he has not heard. Not near enough. Now it's time for him to sit down with young, and old, male combat arms Marines and hear them out. The truth!
Fair warning, Mr. Secretary, it's not going to be pretty.
Congratulations senior "leaders" - for what a great big damn mess you've made!
The ultimate nagging question,
"Is the United States of America going to field the most powerful military and Marine Corps possible in the name of national defense and national security?"
Which Americans deserve, by the way.
"Is the United States of America going to field the best military and Marine Corps possible realized through political correctness; zero leadership; "gender-norming" of performance and personal appearance standards; and mixed gender combat units?"
To which you can bet our sworn and determined enemies are salivating. 'Equality through gender-norming' now their favorite melody.
Leadership. Where is it?
Genuine leadership is not neutral - it is the moral courage to do what is right. All others belong in that hottest place in Hell, as Dr. King pointed out in the opening quote.
Where are those leaders?
As for our Corps future? Who knows.
Twenty years ago a courageous Marine officer wrote a controversial but brilliant article (link in Post Script) addressing open homosexuality in the military and advised our Corps be disbanded if such became reality. Marines (et al.) live that day. In my letter to our commandant, I echoed that recommendation.
There was a day when America's Marines were: 1) G
ood men who were hard to find; 2) Hard men who were good to find; and 3) Good women who did not want to be good nor hard men, but needed and wanted them. They, too, were hard to find. Honorably all served!
Only if America rights herself will the Marines right themselves.
And both of those end states are only achievable if the citizenry demands sanity, a civilized society - demands that our daughters and granddaughters will not serve in combat.
Otherwise, demise more becoming.
Finally, with return to the title question...
Did Marines ambush Defense Secretary Hagel?
Just maybe an ambush was set and triggered - our women, the claymores, who, too, live by our motto - Semper Fi!
A Public Letter To The Commandant of the Marine Corps
General Robert H. Barrow, USMC, 27th Commandant, SASC testimony: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fy--whDNNKk
Colonel John W. Ripley, USMC
Testimony of Col. John W. Ripley to the Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces
Colonel John W. Ripley, USMC
'An American Knight - The Life of Colonel John W. Ripley, USMC'