Tarnished Honor

Not a good week for the sea services. The Marine Corps’ honor is tarnished with the Facebook explicit photo scandal, and many high ranking naval officers are cited/indicted in the too-drawn-out “Fat Leonard” scandal.

A reader contacted me the other day and said this USMC situation reminded him of a sub-plot in Declared Hostile that is similar.

I included that sub-plot not because I witnessed that in my career, but because my contemporay novels deal with contemporay social issues. The military is a reflection of our society. Kids that play Grand Theft Auto all day while listening to R-rated or worse (OMG worse) lyrics by artists from Alice In Chains to Beyonce bring their upbringing into the service. We know there is bad behavior all around and bad messaging, while good messaging that involves God and Country is downplayed or eliminated from schools and the entertainment media.

You will see Senators here publicly scold General Neller as they pontificate – and imply the “warrior culture” is the root cause. I have no doubt General Neller can handle it and will deal with this issue – which IS wrong – and fix it. No excuse, zero tolerance, not in my Navy or Marine Corps.

The military is one of our most respected institutions, maybe these days THE most respected. Citizens are right to be upset, and I know there is still work to do inside the military to eliminate harrassment, but the human beings that enter boot camp bring a lifetime of cultural indoctrination with them. The military performs near miracles to inculcate honor, courage, and commitment into young people in a matter of months, but no one involved in the process is perfect, despite the high moral character expected and displayed daily among those in uniform.

All of us can strive for perfect, and never give up striving.

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