Opinion

Social Engineering Will Kill the Marines

Scott Olson/Getty Images.

Ed Brodow Author, In Lies We Trust

My alma mater, the US Marine Corps, was embroiled this week in a noisy scandal. A group of Marines has been accused of posting nude photos of female service memberson the InternetThe scandal has resulted in a hue-and-cry from all directions. It must be a hot item because even media-freak Gloria Allred has become involved. Gen.Robert Neller, Commandant of the Marine Corps, reacted by saying that the allegations “undermine everything that we stand for as a Marine Corps, and as Marines: discipline, honor, professionalism, and respect and trust amongst each other.” In a strict sense, Gen. Neller is correct. We should not excuse the actions of the Marines who are responsible for this fiasco. But in a broader context, Marines do not deserve blame for what is really one of the unfortunateconsequences of applying political correctness to our military.

President Obama included among his many dubious “social engineering” objectives the enforcement by the federal government of the arbitrary imperatives of political correctness. One of his progressive notions was that womenin the military must enjoy complete equality with men. Instead of strengthening a weakened militaryhis primary duty as commander-in-chief—Obama evidently believedthat it was more important to open all combat jobs to women. Assigning women to front line units raises two issues: (1) Can women hold up their end in combat? (2) What effect will this have on morale?

In response to the first question, Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stood up in opposition to Obama’s policyDunford has voiced concerns about potential impacts on combat readinessThe only service to seek an exemption to gender integration, the Marines have found that men outperform women in a variety of ground-combat tasks, and that all-male units perform better than mixed-gender unitsAlthough a small percentage of women can measure up to Marine Corpscombat standards, most cannot. So far, no Women Marines have passed the difficult Infantry Officer Course, even though dozens have tried. Let’s hope this does not lead to lowering the current standards.

The bigger picture, as raised by the second question,concerns the realities of military recruitment. No one in his—or her—right mind is going to voluntarily place himself in harm’s way by signing up for combat duty. Asking citizens to put their lives in jeopardy is, and has always been, a major problem for governmentsThe solution for armies over the millennia has been using the appeal of“male macho” to outweigh common sense and the desire for self-preservation. Throughout history, armed forceshave attracted male volunteers based on a macho war ethic. Nowhere is this more evident today than in our country’s elite fighting force, the Marine CorpsYoung men want to be Marines because they respond to the slogan, “The few. The proud. The Marines.” I know. I did.

Now for the first time in our history, the government is saying that you don’t have to be a tough macho man to occupy a foxhole. Women can do it. No big deal. If women can join the few and the proud, many men are thinking, being a Marine is no longer a proclamation of my manhood. Why should I risk my life to prove that I am a tough guy?” Removing the payoff for being macho is upsetting the psychological underpinning of the entire defense apparatus. The effect on the male subconscious of putting women in front line units cannot be underestimatedWe can expect to see three serious consequences: (1) a drastic reduction in male voluntary enlistments, (2) the premature retirement or outright firing of senior officerswho refuse to play ball with the PC crowd, and (3) the acting out of anti-social behaviors by elite troops. Political correctness, if allowed to spread, will eventually erode our military effectiveness. Evidently Obama never considered this possibility when he insisted on a PC-compliantDefense Department. Or did he?

The current Marine Corps scandal is but one example of unforeseen collateral damage that will result from the new gender policy. In order to protect their male egos, Marines and other elite troops are going to exhibit a variety of behaviors that will not be regarded as socially acceptable. In the current scandal, Marines are subconsciouslyprotecting their macho-ness by posting the nude photos. As in post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the fault does not lie with the individual Marine. The fault belongs to Obama’s efforts to eviscerate the military. Happily, the new administration may reverse Obama’s policy. Military Timesreports that President Trump has been a vocal skeptic of political correctness in the Defense Department.

One final irony. According to CBS NewsPentagon officials say the scandal can do real harm to the military by discouraging young women from joining the armed forces and convincing those already in uniform to get out. As usual, the media has it all wrong. The “real harm to the military” is the way in which political correctness may discourage young men from signing up to fight for their country.

Ed Brodow is a negotiation expert, political commentator, and author of In Lies We Trust: How Politicians and the Media Are Deceiving the American Public.