07 August 2011

Military Disdain?

There's been plenty of discussion of how civilian America tunes out much of the military, even if they go out of their way to avoid leanings of post-Vietnam style disdain. However, is there a growing disdain in the military for their civilian counterparts? The Soldier-Citizen-Sapien blog asks some good questions.

There it is, spelled out pretty clearly. [Brant's note: this refers to a pull-quote in the article, not the image below] Marine Corps values are better than civilian sector values. Just like that, stated as a matter of fact and left unchallenged.
This attitude is not only applied to the everyday American, but extends to the civilian leaders of the military as well. General Stanley McChrystal was recently embarrassed in a Rolling Stone profile that documented some of the disdainful remarks by his staff directed against the Vice President, as well as other presidential appointees assigned to Afghanistan to work with McChrystal. An irreverent and openly hostile attitude at times to civilian control of the military was prevalent among McChrystal and his staff. Publication of that article eventually led to McChrystal’s resignation.
In the first chapter of his popular book Lone Survivor, Marcus Luttrell riffs negatively on everything from politicians, to the “liberal media,” to the public in general who insist on imposing “intrusive rules of engagement” and other silly things like the protection of human rights. The public should just let him do his job “killing bad guys”, he says. It goes on for pages!
I am beginning to wonder how long this attitude of broad disdain for civilians can persist within the military before the military will be considered completely out of touch.

What do you guys think? Is the military's attitude toward the civilian population becoming a problem?

By: Brant


JC said...

Hi Brant,

If there is, I don't blame them. They are the guys doing the fight and sacrificing everything, while the majority of us are sipping lattes. Shame on the civilians, this is a sorry state of affairs.


Anonymous said...

From my point of view I agree, I am frustrated by what appears (key word there) to be uncaring, lax civilian leadership and civilian responses to military activities. But with only 2% of the US population being military or former military it is not hard to see how everyone else is not on board with military values or cares for what they do and how they conduct themselves.

Anonymous said...

Respectfully beg to differ...I have always felt that our armed forces should reflect and uphold the values of it's citizens, not the other way around. Granted, there are times when viewpoints will collide but ultimately it should be "society" not the "soldiery" who dictate values. The reason why we have ROE's that mandate things like "don't kill innocent civilians" is not to restrict or punish the soldiers, but to uphold the values that we believe in. If it becomes impossible to fight a battle / war without the overwhelming or reckless destruction of civilian life, then maybe we a) shouldn't be there or b) need to change our overall strategy.

I don't think it is appropriate to assign a moral superiority to any group of individuals just because they suffer or sacrifice more than another. Although I respect and honor the men and women who serve, I don't regard them as better people with better values.

RangerX3X said...

I disagree with that bloggers premise. The civilian population is who is out of touch, and there is nothing we can collectively do to make the military believe they are out of touch. Once you get past all of the BS PR rhetoric that comes out of the Pentagon and commanding authorities, the reality “on the ground” is that many within our armed services are disgusted by the complete disregard that many in the civilian world have toward them, and in hyper-isolated instances outright hostility directed towards those putting their lives on the line for us on a daily basis.

The fat-ass civilian population cannot effectively fire the military, so that is a non-starter; however those in the military can quit when their enlistment/stop-loss is up, or if so desired simply refuse to fight.

Nancy@owensolivia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matt Purvis said...

Ranger, I've been around the block a bit and have never experienced 'complete disregard' for my service. I'm not saying it doesn't exist, but from what i've seen and heard, that type of behavior is the expection, not the rule.
What would you say the civilian population is out of touch with exactly? Yeah, they don't know what it is like to suck sand and hunker down during a rocket attack, but many Americans make sacrifices each and everyday.

Justin said...

Hi folks, Justin from The Soldier-Citizen-Sapiens Project here.

First of all, thank you Brant for giving us the look. I greatly appreciate it. I wanted to add some info to the discussion from the post.

1. The civilian population actually HIGHLY regards the military, rating them the "most trusted" American organization, with 78% of poll respondents saying so.

2. It is my conclusion that military disregard for civilian population is damaging to military professionalism. Either there is civilian control of the military, or there is not. The kind of behavior I bear witness to in the post (the examples Brant cited) are alarming, because they seem to reflect that the civilian population - the profession's "client" - is not being respected as such.

It is a little hard to resolve the competing assertions that (a) the civilian is supposed to be in charge and (b) I shouldn't have to listen to those civilians who don't know what we're going through.

I appreciate the discussion here, and I thank you again Brant for reposting.