After a couple of years of being told the US military has no business levying its morality on its troops — or dictating the conduct of their private lives — the Secretary of Defense recently told the Pentagon to figure out why American troops aren’t staying morally in line — even in their private lives. Said Secretary Leon Panetta:
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has ordered the Pentagon’s top brass to figure out how to keep their officers ethically in line…
“Beyond mere compliance with the rules, I also expect Read more…
Categories: Government and Religion bathsheba, bathsheba syndrome, core values, david petraeus, ethics, king david, leon panetta, marines, martin l. cook, Military, morality, national war college, naval war college, navy war college, Pentagon
The Marine Corps has been emphasizing ethics as part of General James Amos’ intent to reach “every single Marine” on the topic of ethical conduct. In one case, at least, the sessions seem to be versions of college philosophy classes, with a drill down on each of the standard ethical “examples” used in most ethics courses:
Bardorf and Rowan guided the Marines through the murder of Kitty Genovese. They discussed the Good Samaritan Experiment held by the Princeton Theological Seminary, and the Stanford Read more…
Some have likely read the story of Hyman Strachman, the 92-year-old World War II veteran who has shipped thousands of bootleg copies of movies to the combat AOR:
Hyman Strachman [is] a 92-year-old, 5-foot-5 World War II veteran trying to stay busy after the death of his wife. And he has sent every one of his copied DVDs, almost 4,000 boxes of them to date, free to American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Even Strachman admits the “error” of his ways: Read more…
The Stars and Stripes notes the US Navy has “sacked” 150 commanding officers over the last few years for misconduct. Of 80 instances over a five year period, half were for adultery, inappropriate relationships, harassment, or sexual assault. One of the solutions noted: Take a look at the Bible.
So how can the Navy abate this steady tide of offending COs? Perhaps by asking, “What would David do?”
That’s King David, he of Old Testament legend Read more…
Categories: Government and Religion bathsheba, bathsheba syndrome, Bible, ethics, gary roughead, james wisecup, king david, martin l. cook, Military, Navy, navy war college, Religion
A US Army platoon leader has a fascinating article in Army Magazine: former US Army Captain Kevin Bell wrote How Our Training Fails Us When it Counts, recounting a story from 2008 in which he led a platoon in Afghanistan. He uses his personal experiences to describe how the US Army woefully fails in its efforts to prepare its soldiers for ethical challenges in combat.
No infantryman who sits through the required PowerPoint classes on the Geneva Conventions and treatment of enemy prisoners of war (EPW) leaves the classroom with a new perspective on the ethics of war…As it stands, though, classroom and field training on detainee operations do almost nothing to help soldiers untangle the twisted moral landscape of anger, intelligence gathering and justice in wartime.
Without directly addressing it, he highlights the weakness of the situation-based ethics currently taught in much of the military academia: Read more…
Society has so much lost its moral compass that one General officer says the military can no longer assume its recruits will enlist with an acceptable level of core moral behavior.
General Lord Dannatt, a former head of the British Army, said this about the British society and its military. He proposes that the military
can teach society about the importance of ethics and morality.
Dannatt says “mental and moral preparation” is as important as physical Read more…
An official Department of Defense article notes the importance of empathy in war and its relevance to the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan. In virtually every war in history each side stereotypically demonizes or otherwise dehumanizes its enemy. Unfortunately, militaries must move past that division after the war is complete — especially when one military is supporting the establishment of their ‘former enemy’s’ government.
In Afghanistan, one soldier had an epiphany that led him to think more deeply about the people he fights: Read more…
According to the Air Force Times, the Air Force is reviewing “all” materials it uses to teaches “ethics, core values, and character development.” The reason?
More Christian-themed course work surfaced.
The gross misrepresentation of the Chaplain briefing at Vandenberg, promoted by Michael Weinstein and his “religious freedom” allies, has already been discussed. The latest issue is a “complaint” about ethics training in ROTC.
The ROTC briefing, called “Core Values and the Air Force Member,” contains references to the Sermon on the Mount and the Ten Commandments as examples of ethical values. Two additional slides list the New Testament teachings of Jesus known as the Beatitudes, and seven of the commandments, including “Have no other gods before me.”
The 22-slide briefing also cites the Golden Rule as an example of ethical values. One of the slides points out that the Golden Rule — “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” — is found in five of the world’s major religions.
Shocking, isn’t it? A slideshow on ethics gives Christian Read more…
Categories: Government and Religion air force, Bible, Buddhism, Chaplain, christian, Church and State, conspiracy, Constitution, core values, dome of the rock, ethics, golden rule, Government, Hindu, icbm training material, Islam, Jewish, mikey weinstein, Military, MRFF, nuclear, Religion, religious freedom, rotc, sermon on the mount, steven covey, ten commandments, values
A variety of news sources are now reporting the US Air Force ended a training class after an internet article belittled its religious content. Contrary to some assertions, this is actually not a big deal.
This much has been accurately reported: The Air Force training slides had Bible verses, and the course was led by a Chaplain. There was a public article. The Air Force pulled the course to “review it.”
Beyond that, much of the other reporting has been misrepresented or inaccurate.
The Washington Post said
The Air Force has suspended a training course for nuclear missile launch officers that used Bible passages and religious imagery to teach them about the ethics of war.
Unfortunately, that’s essentially a misrepresentation, likely because the conclusion was drawn solely from a copy of the slides used in the brief — sans notes or context. The course did not use Biblical citations to teach ethics. The ~40-slide PowerPoint presentation was an ethical discussion on the conduct of war, with emphasis on the application of nuclear weapons. (The title of the first seven slides is “Ethics;” the second section is “Nuclear Ethics and Nuclear Warfare.”)
The course’s focus was to address common Read more…
Categories: Government and Religion air force, augustine, Bible, Chaplain, chris rodda, christian, Constitution, david smith, ethics, hal moore, icbm training material, Islam, jason leopold, Jewish, just war, maccabees, Michael Izbicki, mikey weinstein, Military, MRFF, Navy, nuclear, Religion, religious freedom, vandenberg
In a recent address at the National Defense University, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen said this in response to a question about whether the “tolerance…has changed regarding ethics” in the military:
We have to have a true compass ethically. We have to have a true compass morally. We have to have a true compass inside our profession.
He’s right, of course. No one has ever debated the need for a moral standard by which military members must live and serve. The question, however, has been what defines the truth of that ”true compass.” “True” implies Read more…
With an interesting sense of timing, an Air Force article on “Comprehensive Airman Fitness,” focusing on “Spiritual Fitness,” was recently published at Charleston Air Force Base.
As military articles on such topics often do, it calmly predicts and answers the questions of the recent uproar over Spiritual Fitness in the military.
There are three concepts associated with spirituality, according to [Chaplain (LtCol) Michael] Brown.
“The first is to discover meaning in your life and a meaning that transcends anything in the physical world,” he said. “Some find that through Read more…
Gallup’s annual survey of the American perceptions of the honesty and ethical standards of professions shows “military officers” at #2, with 73% “very high/high,” behind only nurses.
For contrast, police were at 57% high/very high, lawyers at 17%, and Congress at 9%, just above car salesmen.
It would appear, despite scandals and press to the contrary, the American public continues to view military leadership as morally upright and honorable. Obviously, it should — if society every views its military otherwise, it should take action to correct that ethical failure.
Those who are the physical guardians of the nation cannot be morally destitute, else they will no longer be trustworthy guardians of anything.
According to the Navy Times, Capt Charles Maher of the attack submarine Memphis was relieved of his command over allegations of a 10-person cheating ring under his watch. There was no evidence Maher was directly involved in the cheating.
Unlike several prior instances of cheating in all of the military services (Navy, Marines, Army), this appears to be the first time the commanding officer has been relieved over ethical failures in testing by subordinates.
Not long after talking about the discharge of the cheating Marines, Stars and Stripes noted that two Navy Chiefs are being “forced to retire” after helping a Sailor cheat on a military advancement exam.
During a rare court-martial at sea, chief petty officers Reynaldo M. Bernardo and Ferdinand P. Quinto were found guilty May 24 of failing to obey a lawful order, said the aircraft carrier’s spokesman, LtCmdr Bill Urban…
It appears the cheating, which occurred on the USS George Washington, was fairly obvious:
During the exam, Bernardo and Quinto moved a sailor to a different table and then instructed the sailor to cheat off another sailor’s test, Read more…
Former US Marine 2nd Lieutenant Adam Ballard has given his excuse for his lapse in integrity, in which he cheated on a land navigation test: everybody’s doing it, and it was the school’s fault:
Ballard admits his actions were wrong but said they were facilitated by “inordinately lax procedures at [the basic officer school]…”
Over half of the three hundred Marines in our company possessed the same information that I had and that those numbers were comparable, if not more, in all the other training companies past and present…
As noted here often, neither a “culture” that seems to encourage cheating, nor a tangible disadvantage for not cheating are excuses for making the “easier” wrong choice.