by Andy Weddington
Sunday, 03 August 2014
USMC leadership principle (of 11):
Set the example.
USMC leadership trait (of 14):
Integrity - uprightness of character and soundness of moral principles; includes the qualities of truthfulness and honesty.
During the past couple of years Marines I know, coast to coast and in exotic and not-so-exotic lands abroad, have confided they do not trust the commandant.
It's unthinkable really.
But it's reality.
A sad reality to ponder much less be obligated to address.
Yesterday afternoon arrived an email that included the following commentary attributed to a once U. S. Marine Corps judge advocate who is now an accomplished attorney.
"Just to sum this up...
According to the IG, the Commandant did nothing wrong. Everything that happened was just...fine, entirely consistent with fundamental fairness and due process. Amos broke no law or regulation. There was no unlawful command influence. Amos did not lie to NPR. No Marines were crushed. It was perfectly acceptable to dismiss all charges against Captain Clement, send him to a BOI (with a legal advisor who was mentioned by name as previously committing unlawful command influence) and discharge Clement against his will in the face of testimony from General Kelly who opined a) he did nothing wrong; and b) he was owed an apology from the Marine Corps. The failure to turn over the Commandant's memorandum that relieved LtGen Waldhauser was not improper. When two Marines pled guilty to criminal charges without first having the benefit of that memorandum to aid in their defense and possibly result in a dismissal of all charges against them, that was fine. Because apparently, according to the IG, none of these things actually occurred. It was all just...imagined. I suppose.
Let's not overlook the astounding implication that a 3 star general lied in a sworn affidavit about the Commandant. That apparently did not happen, either.
And lastly, nobody is permitted to read the investigation which makes all of these things--these impossible things---possible. Ask yourselves whether a military trial judge, or a military appeals court, would ever render an opinion on the presence or absence of unlawful command influence without telling the parties to the case how they arrived at such a conclusion. That would never happen. And it never should happen, unless you want a government and a judicial system that acts arbitrarily, and in secret.
In any case, you know who IS permitted to release the investigation? The Commandant. He can waive whatever absurd and conjured privacy interest exists in this report (which is, after all, about him), so that the public can read it and decide for themselves whether the IG's conclusion was born from the facts, or from something else. Something which, candidly, ought to scare the hell out of everyone in this Association.
Release the IG report, General Amos."
That commentary was offered in response to news (link below) the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General James F. Amos, was cleared of wrongdoing in what is commonly referred to as the 'scout sniper urination case.'
Having been an investigating officer a time or two and once a command inspector, I've seen nonsense (including senior officers).
And I've seen nonsense with seniors and the Inspector General (IG - USMC, USN, and DoD). That nonsense including but not necessarily limited to malicious intrusion on due process and lack of enthusiasm investigating formal complaints thereof.
To be direct...
'Cleared' is not 'not guilty.'
Marines cannot be fooled. And even the appearance of impropriety in a commandant is bad news.
Does anyone believe a general; lieutenant general; major (judge advocate who levied allegations the commandant acted improperly); captain (accused); et al., all seeking justice, conspired in a grand lie to take down the Commandant of the Marine Corps?
But it's not so absurd when considering like nonsense has been going on throughout the top levels of our government (there's no trust there, either - citizenry polls so reflect).
That judge advocate, whomever he or she, is exactly right in their closing remark, this "...ought to scare the hell out of everyone...".
General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., confirmed by the United States Senate last week as 36th Commandant of the Marine Corps, has work to do when he assumes office.
First order of business?
Restore trust in the commandant.
For trust goes to morale and esprit and sundry intangible ideas that are 'Marine' - that tie into followership (and leadership) and cohesion.
Marines know it as 'Semper Fidelis' - not just a clever recruiting sound bite nor bumper sticker tag line but a way of life.
In closing, Marine Corps Times article...
And ask yourself, "Are there extenuating and mitigating circumstances for not being trustworthy?"
Not in my mind.
Second the once judge advocate's call, "Release the IG report, General Amos."