I had been contemplating a post about the recent coverage of sexual assault and misconduct in the Army and Air Force, and asking, “What in bloody hell is so stubbornly wrong with this culture?” But I didn’t have an answer.
I was even more disturbed when I read a Facebook post about servicewomen who report sexual assaults finding themselves in the position of being “forced to salute their assaulters.” There is nothing I can think of that brings home the absolute wrongness of retaining servicemembers in their positions, or transferring them, or dismissing convictions against them, than being required to salute one’s assaulter.
Gen. Colin Powell is missing that point when he said servicemembers convicted of rape should not be dismissed from the service.
Apparently, if you’re an officer, you don’t even spend time in the brig. You get transferred to your victim’s home town.
But all of that didn’t emanate from the Marine Corps. I’ve heard, in my casual daily contact with (young) Marines, positive comments about women in the Corps, and even of them serving in combat roles. I’ve seen their behavior–basically gender-neutral. So I had hoped that, as a service problem, (most) sexual assaults, degradation, and physical threats had avoided the Marine Corps, with its emphasis on a core value of “Honor.”
Marine generals must be heaving sighs of relief that this story, worse in my opinion than the one that received limited coverage about USMC Sgt. Gary Stein and his online threats against the President, has so far faded into the woodwork. I bring it up here because I believe that if there is a worst in ourselves, we should know it, face it, condemn it, and eradicate it–not hope it wafts away like smokeless powder.
On May 8, 2013, Congresswoman Jackie Spier of California wrote a letter to SecDef Hagel, Commandant Amos, and Lynne M. Holbrooks, Principal Deputy Inspector General, bringing to their attention a Facebook page, “F’n Wook,” “which includes numerous comments denigrating women in the Marine Corps.” According to a May 8 article in “Stripes,” the page had more than 10,000 “likes,” and many photos had several hundred comments.
Congresswoman Spier is kind in her description. The page describes and includes pictues of domestic battery, sexual assault/bondage, and captions of sexual acts that I simply don’t wish to describe. Screenshots of the page include favorable and, in my opinion, extreme comments which purport to be from former and present Marines, many under their real names. Other, similar pages exist as well.
Ok, that’s bad enough; but not bad enough for the posters. After Spiers sent her letter, and the Marine Corps apparently began investigating, physical threats were made against Spiers, on “F’n Wook” and, when that page was in short order taken down, a replacement page.
God help us, if the posters are active duty Marines who have taken an oath to “protect” us.
Other commenters have railed against the investigation, which is being conducted by the Secret Service and concentrating on the threats made.
Really? Really guys? If there are active duty Marines in this (and I am not excusing retired Marines but I am more concerned about the ones still “serving”), how, in some twisted way, have you come up through boot camp, served in the Corps, been taught its core values, and come away with a thoroughly vicious view, not only of women, but of the women you live with, and the women you serve with?
How have you come to decide that theatening a Member of Congress is a just retribution for bringing a public Facebook page into the light? How have you come to decide that retribution against anyone, much less elected representatives or your Commander-in-Chief, is…just? Is honorable? Is, of all things–courageous?
If you are not pretenders posting as “Marines,” you are not worthy to call yourself a Marine. In fact, I don’t care how much shit you went through in boot camp, Iraq or Afghanistan. The vast majority of your brothers (and sisters) are honorable people. You, who are involved in or enjoy this crap–you are purely pretenders.