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Author: TriSec    Date: 02/27/2024 00:12:04

Good Morning.

Diving right in - let's take a look not at our veterans, but active-duty personnel today.

Specifically, the United States Marine Corps. "The Few and The Proud", this branch of service has always seen themselves as the elite of the US Military.

But what does that mean when personnel must live in deplorable conditions? A former Marine has written about the conditions at a well-known base, Camp Pendleton.

Civilian dorm advisers are being added to Marine Corps barracks. What's next? Fizzies in the base swimming pool? A dead horse in the commandant's office? Is the Marine Corps becoming an "Animal House"?

The recent Military.com exposé on the deplorable conditions in barracks at Camp Pendleton's School of Infantry West is alarming, but the response of senior Marine Corps leaders is disgraceful. Instead of relieving the entire chain of command of the Marine Corps training establishment, the service’s leadership has undertaken a managerial response.

The senior leadership at Camp Pendleton apparently had no idea of the conditions at the School of Infantry barracks until getting ready for an announced visit by the general officer in charge of the Marine Corps training establishment. The local leadership was shocked -- shocked -- to find out that the barracks were riddled with filth, vermin and graffiti, though this had apparently been the case for several years. Instead of holding the chain of command responsible for failures of the most basic leadership functions, the Corps ordered that civilians be brought in to fix problems that should never have occurred in the first place.

Back in the days when the Marine Corps was still the Marine Corps, quality of life was considered a basic leadership responsibility. Every Thursday evening was a field day cleanup and maintenance effort supervised by the noncommissioned officers and staff NCOs, which platoon commanders then inspected. On Friday morning, the company commander would inspect the living spaces. It was not unusual for battalion and regimental commanders or the general officer commanding the installation to make surprise "heath and comfort" inspections of various units. If unreported maintenance or cleanliness problems were found, the proverbial excrement flowed downhill immediately. If a squad's area was found to be unsatisfactory, it was not unusual for a regimental commander to have the entire chain of command standing tall in front of him. The squad leader, platoon commander, company commander and battalion commander would then all take part in a very unpleasant discussion of how "we" had failed.

The modern response to this latest failure has been telling. The senior leadership has promised to throw more money at the problem and bring in civilian housing specialists to fix a situation that was probably years in the making. But this is not the first time the Marine Corps, and the military as a whole, has faced a rough patch tied to discipline.

While it may be an old soldier whining about the "new" military, the concerns he raises in this piece may be indicative of a deeper problem within our current military.

But moving on, we also have an active-duty casualty of Israel's war in Gaza. Oh, not a combat death, right here in Washington DC. The local branch of the blog almost certainly heard about the airman that set himself on fire at the Israeli Embassy there. I swear I had nothing to do with this - but of course he has a connection to Massachusetts.

An active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force who died after setting himself ablaze outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., while declaring that he “will no longer be complicit in genocide," grew up in Massachusetts.

The 25-year-old airman, Aaron Bushnell, of San Antonio, Texas, died from his injuries, the Metropolitan Police Department said Monday.

Bushnell attended Nauset Public Schools from 2003-2007 and 2013-2014, the district said in a statement to WCVB.

"The Nauset Public Schools is heartbroken to learn of the untimely death of one of our former students, Aaron Bushnell," the statement said. "Our school community is saddened by Mr. Bushnell’s death and we offer our condolences to his family and friends."

He also enrolled online at Southern New Hampshire University in 2023 to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and was pre-registered for the upcoming term that begins next week, the school said.

"We are deeply saddened by the news of Aaron's passing and the SNHU community sends its deepest condolences to Aaron's family and friends," the school said in a statement to WCVB.

Bushnell walked up to the embassy shortly before 1 p.m. on Sunday and began livestreaming on the video streaming platform Twitch, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press.

Minutes before the incident, Bushnell recorded himself saying: "I am an active duty member of the United States Air Force and I will no longer be complicit in genocide. I'm about to engage in an extreme active protest but compared to what people have been experiencing in Palestine at the hands of their colonizers is not extreme at all. This is what our ruling class has decided will be normal."

He doused his body with some kind of accelerant and repeatedly said "Free Palestine" before lighting himself on fire.

But what has precipitated such an event? The Military has long been the refuge of the scoundrel, despite many noble citizens choosing to volunteer. As we all know, the military is dominated by white males, many of them leaning towards "supremacy". It's a problem the military has long known about, but struggles to contain.

For years, military officials had been dismissing calls for greater action against efforts by groups to radicalize either those in uniform or who had recently jettisoned their camis despite examples like the Klu Klux Klan operating, sometimes openly, on military bases. A constant drumbeat of arrests of individuals harboring extremist ideals has lingered for years, with many experts pointing to Army veteran Timothy McVeigh who killed 168 people in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing as the forefather of a troubling community.

Experts worry that the current environment of political violence is increasing the risk. In 2020, members of a group that included two Marines and styled itself as a "modern day SS" were arrested on allegations that they were plotting to destroy the power grid in the northwest U.S. In February, in a completely unrelated case, a former Guardsman and self-identified Nazi was also arrested for plotting to destroy an electrical substation -- this time in Maryland.

The attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 created a new sense of urgency, a willingness to talk about the problem, and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin's stand-down order marked a move by military leadership to get its arms around the extremism problem.

But the military and its transition programs have largely failed to provide what experts say is necessary to steer troops and veterans away from extremist causes and groups, which have been growing in power and persuasion in the U.S., a multi-year investigation by Military.com found. Instead, the briefings on extremism took on a familiar and largely inconsequential pattern, as recounted in interviews with 14 active-duty troops serving in the Army who attended separate stand-downs worldwide.

Experts argue there are ways to help make service members and veterans less susceptible to radicalization, and those who have deradicalized describe moments that helped counter the lure of extremist groups.

"It seems that a lot of people get involved in radicalization because they don't feel listened to," Arno Michaelis, a former Nazi who has worked to help many leave the extremist world behind, said in an interview.

Michaelis pointed in particular to opportunities in which those who hold a grievance are forced to confront the humanity of the group they've demonized.

"When they are listened to -- and especially when they're listened to by someone that they claim as an enemy because of their skin color, their religion or their sexuality or whatever -- it becomes all the more powerful, because then it completely defies the narrative of 'us versus them.'"

But the stand-down, haphazardly organized with commands largely left to themselves, typically didn't transmit that information, or really anything else that would help prevent radicalization, to troops.

"Well what does extremism even mean? To some people, patriotism is extremism," one Army officer recalled a lieutenant asking at a briefing.

But what does that mean in terms of today's society? We all know where this country is headed. Unfortunately, it's not a good place. Considering the fragile state of our democracy, all it would take is a certain person regaining high office. Any pretense would immediately evaporate. We'll be a full-blown dictatorship, with our own military providing the Brownshirts, before we can even organize a resistance.

We already know that many parts of the country are not smart enough to realize this.

3 comments (Latest Comment: 02/27/2024 16:53:54 by Will_in_Ca)
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