06 October 2015


by Andy Weddington
Tuesday, 06 October 2015

"In politics stupidity is not a handicap." Napoleon Bonaparte

This morning a Marine sent along an article titled 'We Continually Underestimate Russian President Putin' by Daniel Goure, Ph.D.

The article's theme not surprising. Attention-getting was Mr. Goure's last sentence of the first paragraph, "Finally, one former senior Pentagon official interrupted to say "you can't take stupid off the table."" 

That quote was in reference to the decision-making and actions of Mr. Putin.

But that is not the context in which the bluntly honest comment struck me. 

The gray and chilly and rainy Saturday afternoon past was spent in the National Museum of the Marine Corps - first visit and still I digest - in Quantico, Virginia. It is a finer presentation of the Marine Corps than imagined. The fighting prowess of Marines, throughout history, causes pause and reflection and admiration and respect. And gratitude to claim the title - actually rather humbling to be counted amongst the ranks. 

The above image is what I saw when facing about upon departure - to take one last look and a photograph. Quantico is known as the "Crossroads of the Corps' - so how fitting to see the design that inspired the design. Marine, or not, do not miss visiting the National Museum of the Marine Corps - a riveting story of selfless service and sacrifice and blood told in spit and polish. You'll want more than half a day. 

The combat - its physical and psychological demands and horrors - and personal stories told by Marines chilling and sobering. The panels of emblems denoting each Marine and corpsman death on Iwo Jima mind-numbing. While reading and listening and thinking, the ongoing contentious plan to permit women in ground combat (e.g., infantry; artillery; tanks; engineers; recon; etc.) nagged and nagged. 

I wondered how much time Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and particularly Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus (determined to not restrict women whatsoever) have spent in the museum immersed in the combat history.

Recently, General Robert Neller, 37th Commandant of the Marine Corps commented on the pending decision (lifting all restrictions on women) by Secretary Carter, "We'll get told what to do and we'll execute the plan....It's as simple as that." 

Napoleon believed stupidity to not be a political handicap. History validates. We live proof. 

But military stupidity is a handicap - deadly handicap - training or battle field. History validates. Do we soon (again) prove? 

Playing off that noted above former senior Pentagon official, is there anything worse than stupidity (a human not ethnic affliction)?

Yes. Obedience to stupidity. 

The National Museum of the Marine Corps is soon to begin more construction. There was means for visitor comment/input but nothing struck at the time. This morning a recommendation came to mind: Reserve a table for the stupid years. 

Post Script

Dr. Goure's article dated 02 October 2015: http://lexingtoninstitute.org/we-continually-underestimate-russian-president-putin/


Steve Morgan said...

Carter, Clinton, and Obama years = my lifetimes "stupid years".

Tom H. said...

"Obedience to stupidity" - and what seems to be the absence of moral courage by the Corps' senior leadership - is a deadly combination when forecasting a future USMC as we knew it.
To have the Commandant proffer "...It's as simple as that." is not only stupid, it's cowardly. If, in fact, that is Gen. Neller's position and he does nothing to oppose the gender integration folly, he should step down and let a GO with the strength of character and moral courage take on the SecNav and SecDef.
Will also be interesting to see what, if anything, Gen. Dunford does from his newly-assumed position as CJCS.

A Colonel of Truth said...

We agree, completely, Tom H. The moral courage variable in the equation I've factored in in previous commentary. Needed GOs of the cut you describe will not enjoy appointment by the current administration. Compounding the problem for the next administration is the men of such makeup have either been forced to retire or retired in disgust. We watch.