by Andy Weddington
Monday, 25 July 2016
Subtlety may deceive you; integrity never will. Oliver Cromwell
This morning a couple of Marine items in the news caught my attention.
First, sons of Governor Mike Pence (Mr. Trump's running mate) and Senator Tim Kaine (Mrs. Clinton's running mate) are U. S. Marine lieutenants. Young Pence is in flight school and young Kaine is a new infantry officer.
Not quite two hours after reading about the lieutenants the TV news broke into Hillary Clinton speaking live before a VFW crowd in North Carolina.
In her opening remarks, Mrs. Clinton said she was proud to have recently received the endorsement of General John Allen, USMC (Retired).
And for most of the day those thoughts kept me occupied.
During research this afternoon I came across a U. S. Marine Corps Martial Arts Center of Excellence The Basic School student outline covering techniques for the side choke.
General Allen graduated from The Basic School a few years before me. Both lieutenants are fairly recent graduates of The Basic School.
A few pages into the student outline is the following...
"The basic Marine Corps definition of integrity, "Marines do not lie, cheat or steal, nor tolerate those who do," must be the foundation of every Marine's personal ethics. When officers and NCOs deviate from the standards of conduct, it makes correcting other Marines nearly impossible..."
That short paragraph appears, in one form or another, throughout U. S. Marine Corps leadership publications. It is taught to recruits. It is taught to officer candidates. It is reinforced to all Marines throughout their tenure in uniform; however short or long. And the more senior a Marine the higher the expectations. Simple as that. (Note: Though the specific student outline was not around in the general's and my day, the definition of integrity was and has been for not decades but centuries.)
Recently, Mr. James Comey, Director, FBI, gave a nearly 15 minute public summation of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's home-based private non-secure email server and her reckless compromise of classified material (some so highly classified as to damage national security).
Mr. Comey painted Mrs. Clinton's portrait, for all intents and purposes, certifying her a liar, cheat, and thief.
How does a Marine general, leading a professional life of integrity (outlined above) for some 37 years, square the decision to support a certified liar, cheat, and thief?
How does a Marine lieutenant, embarking on a professional life of integrity (outlined above), square with his father joining the ticket of a candidate for president, possibly his commander-in-chief, who is a certified liar, cheat, and thief?
Thinking back over my time in uniform, not a single teaching hypothetical nor actual case comes to mind where that standard of integrity was complemented, and deemed acceptable, by an exemption; of any sort.
Today's news was troubling. It still is. Why? Because I am a Marine and do not lie, cheat or steal. Nor do I tolerate, for any reason, those who do.
The complexity so simple. No exceptions.
Think about it.