Friday, May 30, 2008

IVAW Winter Soldier on the Hill-Jason Lemieux

Alright. This was going to be one long post profiling everyone who testified, but it kept being put off more and more, and I realized over a mouthful of alcoholic ice cream (yes, Bailey's mit eis is zehrgut) that it wasn't going to get done at all, if I didn't get cracking on it in a little bit different way than I've done before.

So, here's starting off with Jason Lemieux. Everybody's favorite marine, he's the kind of guy I would kill to have in my squad if he would only sign back up with the Army. He's smart, disciplined, and honorable. Unfortunately, a little too honorable for the unit he was deployed with. Three deployments, folks. And for those of you bloggers keeping track, he states his unit very clearly at the very beginning of his speech.



One thing that's hard about what Jason talks about is that a lot of it is stuff that isn't really either black or white.

Like, for example. The chain of command promising to "take care of" Marines caught in wrongdoing. There are two things both tied together there-one good, one bad. I don't know about Marines, but I know that Army NCOs, at least, want to take care of their soldiers. And sometimes minor rules get broken. They always do. Everyone in the Army has broken or ignored at least one minor rule at some point in their career. Often it's to take care of a troop.

Now extend it. Where does the line get drawn? At what point do you find the perfect balance between rules that must not be broken and soldiers or marines that must be cared for?

These are hard decisions they are being forced to make-but I think it is important to say these are decision they are forced into. Everyone in Iraq right now is forked, involved in a chess game where they must lose one of two crucial items. It is very hard to leave intact.


I will also agree with Jason that I find it hard to believe that his XO wouldn't completely understand that Marines are often quite happy to use a nuke instead of a flyswatter, if given the option. Army is much the same, in many ways. Few really consider the cost of the rounds. It's often a pleasure simply to shoot.

For all of you watching, I want you to consider Jason Lemieux's story of the XO, and put other words in it. How many times have you heard an XO or a CO say, "This can't go up to battalion like this." Or even, on smaller levels, a platoon sergeant say, "I can't send this to the first sergeant" when evidence materialized that someone in their unit had done something flagrantly wrong. Higher leadership covers up stuff all the time. Whether it's a first sergeant shifting the numbers of his PT failures so it doesn't show on the battalion powerpoint slides or an XO altering a report to show that more incoming rounds were fired than actually were, it's been going on for years, and I can't believe others aren't aware of this as well.

I'm also very glad that Lemieux pointed out that the focus on counterinsurgency is destroying the ability to perform conventional warfare. We do need to be aware of it, but we don't need to completely ignore everything else we've done for the last twenty years.

6 comments:

ILO said...

It's been a while, but I think the old saying is "a good NCO doesn't always keep good paperwork, but always submits good paperwork." Couple that with officers being focused more on their next promotion than anything else and by the time the initial rose tinted report passes through a level or two of the chain it doesn't even come close to reflecting what happened.

streetsweeper said...

ilo;

You need to get a clue real fast. Al Quidea or street gangs here in the USA don't give a rats tail for *conventional rules*.

Wake the hell up! Al Quidea loves your spouting off you fool. Pull them rose coloured glasses off your nose.

You laid claim to having been a MP? Your thought process is severely reversed, dude.

You sir are still hunting for clues at the clues at the scene of the crime & have no idea where to start.

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