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What the hell was Green doing still in if he was known to be unstable and had needed a waiver to get in in the first place? Frankly he seems like the sort of dreg a military less desperate for people would pass up.

 

Frankly that reads like the Nam bits of Prodigal Soldiers, with horrible institutional rot catalyzed by people who shouldn't have wound up in uniform. I don't think it's an accident that Lieutenant Calley was a recruit from Project 100,000 and somebody so obviously ill-fit for military service from before joining up as Green catalyzed this crime.

 

Also, an interesting comment in light of another subject of discussion:

 

 

Watt remembered Barker’s comment as a “joke”. I don’t think that’s what it was. One thing I’ve learned is that when they’re considering doing something insane, some people will make comments or “jokes” around others to gauge their reactions. Sometimes the “jokes” are actually probes, to see who thinks the idea is nuts and who might be interested. I don’t think Barker’s joke was a joke at all.

 

On the other hand, in a more positive light, I'm damned proud that Watt wore the uniform representing my country. He's a hero no matter what he says, heroism is knowing that your job is the right thing and doing it no matter the risk.

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What the hell was Green doing still in if he was known to be unstable and had needed a waiver to get in in the first place? Frankly he seems like the sort of dreg a military less desperate for people would pass up.

Pardon, but isn't that a bit of a tautology?

Vetting people is hard. If it were easy to get discharged for psychosis, a lot more people would be professing to love Hitler to get out.

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It seemed like he was showing a pretty consistent pattern of behavior and had already gotten not good marks from psych. And yeah that is a bit tautological rereading it. He seemed like his behavior was the sort any decent military should want to get rid of. It reads like him getting in and being held on to were only out of desperation but there's a point where desperate or not some people are likely to contribute to serious problems and aren't worth holding on to.

 

Finished the whole thing and I hope there's a success in instilling the values we claimed all militaries should hold at Nuremberg. They're good values.

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Throwing away humour for a minute (ever the last defence against despair), I have seen and worked in bureaucratic cultures which positively reward dysfunction. Which is why the analysis of this terrible incident is so interesting (and depressing).

 

I mean, the system worked (sort of, eventually) in finding and punishing the people who actually did the crime. But it also punished the people trying to uncover it, and rewarded the people who most directly enabled it.

 

So, what can you take away from this? That the best you can hope for is that things kind or work? Or that bureaucracies always protect the people at the top, making justice into a mockery where the people at the bottom suffer no matter what path they choose? Or that large enough organisations will, by simple statistics, produce a niche where their worst tendencies can be expressed?

 

There's a lot to process here.

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I feel you may be attributing to desperation what is actually the result of the basic fallibility of large organizations.

 

I think that overall the unit was showing signs of institutional dry rot that wouldn't necessarily manifest without stress and quite probably wouldn't cause a collapse like that without severe stress.

 

Part of my takeaway is that there needs to be an acknowledgement that problems bleed into each other, and if things straining the organization can be dealt with quickly an efficiently it may prevent greater problems in the future. As well, creating a culture where lower ranking members are empowered to blow the whistle and feel that it is their responsibility bar none seems to be the only way I can see to get a military to consistently live up to the values we expect even under extreme stress.

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The US military employs one officer for every six enlisted men. The military literally has so many officers that each should be only commanding half-squads each.

 

Hence you can't simply shift the blame to nebulous concepts of "leadership". A very large proportion - indeed most sane analysts of officer-soldier ratio would say an overly large proportion - of the US military are in fact in "leadership" positions. If you say leadership is the problem then 1/7th of the entire military is guilty of the problem; and it's supposedly the portion that's most well-off and educated.

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It seems more that it's unprepared for an officer in a relatively high billet to do a resoundingly poor job than a particular lack of people. Kunk failing seemed to be a major source of the wrong people being in a position to suggest what they did. I wonder if a way for the people under him to relay what he was doing up above him would have solved that, and how it could be implemented without totally eroding the chain of command. A recurring theme of that story is people getting orders from up top that aren't based on an accurate appreciation of events and keep compounding mistakes and making problems worse while the lower ranks can't do anything.

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The US military employs one officer for every six enlisted men. The military literally has so many officers that each should be only commanding half-squads each.

 

Hence you can't simply shift the blame to nebulous concepts of "leadership". A very large proportion - indeed most sane analysts of officer-soldier ratio would say an overly large proportion - of the US military are in fact in "leadership" positions. If you say leadership is the problem then 1/7th of the entire military is guilty of the problem; and it's supposedly the portion that's most well-off and educated.

 

Answer me honestly - did you actually read the articles?

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Answer me honestly - did you actually read the articles?

 

Yes, and I've read many, many other articles pointing to the actual systemtic problems of the US military that no one wants to address that runs much deeper than simplistic claims that leadership wasn't worth a damn.

 

 

 

It seems more that it's unprepared for an officer in a relatively high billet to do a resoundingly poor job than a particular lack of people. Kunk failing seemed to be a major source of the wrong people being in a position to suggest what they did. I wonder if a way for the people under him to relay what he was doing up above him would have solved that, and how it could be implemented without totally eroding the chain of command. A recurring theme of that story is people getting orders from up top that aren't based on an accurate appreciation of events and keep compounding mistakes and making problems worse while the lower ranks can't do anything.

 

The reason why I brought up the officer statistic is because it's one of the fundamental problems of the US military; that leads to the exact sort of problems described in the article.

 

One officer for six enlisted men is not a healthy ratio. It is the equivalent of a company having more middle managers than actual workers.

 

What this means in practice is that it is now extremely hard to get promoted in the US military. You have too many Lieutenants wanting to be Captains, too many Captains wanting to be Majors. As a result, there is a general culture within the US military's officer corps to not report problems. They don't want to be the officer who reports a war crime, or be in any way associated with a war crime, because that might get seen as a black mark against them and therefore ruin any chance of promotion.

 

Don't believe me? Look at General McMasters. This is a guy who led US Army forces at 73 Easting, and he was one of the leading minds behind the counter-insurgency manual for Iraq. Yet he got passed over for promotion multiple times - primarily because he wrote an article questioning the Army's netro-centric doctrine which was proving to be flawed. It took the personal intervention of Petraeus before he finally got his next star.

 

In short, the top has no appreciation of events on the ground because the officers in between don't want to tell them anything that contradicts their worldview and endager their next promotion. You try and break ranks to tell the truth instead, and you will generally find your career to be finished. Why do you think Kunk was dressing down the platoon anyway? Because of the reported war crimes Kunk's career was in fact virtually finished. He was venting at them for possibly ending his career.

 

I was absolutely not surprised by the way Kunk behaved or the way Lauzier was cashiered - for the rest of the officer corps that's just two less people to compete against and the culture of impunity moves onward. This is not some isolated incident in one battalion.

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That was an interesting read. Took me two days to get through it though, a lot of it rings true with what Thomas Rick said in his book The Generals.  It takes something as bad as war crimes to get an officer relieved, when they should have been looking at sacking Kunk for running his battalion like shit and losing so many men.

 

Since the Green guy was a sociopath, shouldn’t that have gotten him kicked alone?

 

 

More interesting to me though is, why should the army screen for 'extreme political views', don't you have a right to be a dumb fuck Nazi if you want to? And if you don't let it affect your job, why can't they serve too. In a system that was working right, if they got out of line they could then be discharged, or is that too much of an idealistic view?

 

There also seem to be a lot of parallels with Vietnam, in how a long un popular war eats the system up and the poor new blood brought in can’t bring it back to the way it should be until we not fighting some shitty attrition war, in a shitty, shit hole no one should care about?

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Hate to be the one saying it but Vietnam was never unpopular while it was fought. Not with the majority of the American public. The only thing unpopular about it was the perception that more wasn't being done to win it. Win being a subjective term of course.

There is a certain amount of the same sentiment today regarding our current conflicts.

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More interesting to me though is, why should the army screen for 'extreme political views', don't you have a right to be a dumb fuck Nazi if you want to? And if you don't let it affect your job, why can't they serve too. In a system that was working right, if they got out of line they could then be discharged, or is that too much of an idealistic view?

 

I'd contend that people with strong racist views, especially ones like Nazism that place a serious emphasis on killing the groups you're racist towards, are more likely to commit war crimes and other things that are really not good when you're trying to build a harmonious state.

 

 

Hate to be the one saying it but Vietnam was never unpopular while it was fought. Not with the majority of the American public. The only thing unpopular about it was the perception that more wasn't being done to win it. Win being a subjective term of course.

There is a certain amount of the same sentiment today regarding our current conflicts.

 

There's a whole lot of not thinking about it that's being done, and there are pains being taken to minimize the effect on the American public. It's kind of a realization of the Vietnam desire to be able to fight the war without the public actually caring in a meaningful way.

 

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I'd contend that people with strong racist views, especially ones like Nazism that place a serious emphasis on killing the groups you're racist towards, are more likely to commit war crimes and other things that are really not good when you're trying to build a harmonious state.

 

 

 

There's a whole lot of not thinking about it that's being done, and there are pains being taken to minimize the effect on the American public. It's kind of a realization of the Vietnam desire to be able to fight the war without the public actually caring in a meaningful way.

 

 

Yeah I was thinking more the friendly light hearted Nazis like Garbad and Han Zulu. 

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The problem would be trying to quantify where the tipping point is outside of the obvious when it comes to obnoxious behavior in the military.

When we'd entertain some of guys from my brother's unit at our farm with some light-hearted barbecues/stump pile burning, I noticed one of the guys had a Confederate battle flag in the back window of his lifted pickup.

This isn't an abnormal occurrence in country. The fact that it was owned by a six-foot-five black dude was however. And on that day I was introduced to my first genuine black southern redneck with unique views on race and inhabitants of the inner city.

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I don't think Garbad is a nazi, just an douche with an overinflated ego.

 

We should put him and a certain other person in a room together sometime. It would be fun to watch.

 

Who?

 

And yeah, he isn't so much a Nazi, just an ignorant, hate filled, sack of shit. 

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That was an interesting read. Took me two days to get through it though, a lot of it rings true with what Thomas Rick said in his book The Generals.  It takes something as bad as war crimes to get an officer relieved, when they should have been looking at sacking Kunk for running his battalion like shit and losing so many men.

 

 

Since the Green guy was a sociopath, shouldn’t that have gotten him kicked alone?

 

 

It's actually worse. I was looking through the comments section for more possible sources on my current investigations of Chris Kyle. One of the commentors said that Kunk in fact got away with scapegoating his battalion and is now a full Colonel.

 

So yeah, not only did Kunk create an environment where war crimes were more likely to happen, he was rewarded for it by dressing down the folks reporting it. Again, this is no surprise to me knowing the culture of impunity around the military and the jilted nature of the US officer corps. Staying in line and maintaining the fantasy of a "clean" army is more important than actually fixing real problems.

 

 

More interesting to me though is, why should the army screen for 'extreme political views', don't you have a right to be a dumb fuck Nazi if you want to? And if you don't let it affect your job, why can't they serve too. In a system that was working right, if they got out of line they could then be discharged, or is that too much of an idealistic view?

 

 

There also seem to be a lot of parallels with Vietnam, in how a long un popular war eats the system up and the poor new blood brought in can’t bring it back to the way it should be until we not fighting some shitty attrition war, in a shitty, shit hole no one should care about?

 

 

Let me share with you a story from another sniper veteran from Iraq; part of my compilation on Ramadi.

 

This sniper took issue with Chris Kyle's story about shooting a woman with a grenade. He took issue not because "he shot a woman" or any other typical liberal bleeding heart argument. He took issue because Kyle claimed that he might go to prison if he got the call wrong. The sniper, with blunt candidness, instead said that Kyle and no other US soldier would ever have gone to prison because they mistakenly shot civilians. Indeed, the sniper recounted an incident where an intelligence officer ordered them to shoot up an armed column of Iraqis; who could clearly see the American soldiers and yet took no hostile action. The result was a bloody firefight with lots of Iraqi dead, only to turn out all the Iraqis they killed were part of the governor's bodyguard. Was the intelligence officer sent to prison or even reprimanded? Nope, in fact as far as they knew he went up the ladder.

 

And really, knowing that the military practices this kind of culture of impunity, is it really smart to be letting extremists in? What if they start shooting helpless civilians left and right and then misreport it as "enemy combatants" or the CO turns a blind eye because he's so short-handed that he needs even these nutcases. Or, as the above cases show, the rest of the unit is afraid they might get fragged by the psychos in their midst, knowing there likely won't be an investigation? Pat Tillman for instance was killed by friendly fire and it took months for the Army to even admit this. And as far as I can tell, the folks who helped covered it up in fact got promoted while the perpetrators by and large have never been named or punished. 

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It's actually worse. I was looking through the comments section for more possible sources on my current investigations of Chris Kyle. One of the commentors said that Kunk in fact got away with scapegoating his battalion and is now a full Colonel.

 

So yeah, not only did Kunk create an environment where war crimes were more likely to happen, he was rewarded for it by dressing down the folks reporting it. Again, this is no surprise to me knowing the culture of impunity around the military and the jilted nature of the US officer corps. Staying in line and maintaining the fantasy of a "clean" army is more important than actually fixing real problems.

 

 

Let me share with you a story from another sniper veteran from Iraq; part of my compilation on Ramadi.

 

This sniper took issue with Chris Kyle's story about shooting a woman with a grenade. He took issue not because "he shot a woman" or any other typical liberal bleeding heart argument. He took issue because Kyle claimed that he might go to prison if he got the call wrong. The sniper, with blunt candidness, instead said that Kyle and no other US soldier would ever have gone to prison because they mistakenly shot civilians. Indeed, the sniper recounted an incident where an intelligence officer ordered them to shoot up an armed column of Iraqis; who could clearly see the American soldiers and yet took no hostile action. The result was a bloody firefight with lots of Iraqi dead, only to turn out all the Iraqis they killed were part of the governor's bodyguard. Was the intelligence officer sent to prison or even reprimanded? Nope, in fact as far as they knew he went up the ladder.

 

And really, knowing that the military practices this kind of culture of impunity, is it really smart to be letting extremists in? What if they start shooting helpless civilians left and right and then misreport it as "enemy combatants" or the CO turns a blind eye because he's so short-handed that he needs even these nutcases. Or, as the above cases show, the rest of the unit is afraid they might get fragged by the psychos in their midst, knowing there likely won't be an investigation? Pat Tillman for instance was killed by friendly fire and it took months for the Army to even admit this. And as far as I can tell, the folks who helped covered it up in fact got promoted while the perpetrators by and large have never been named or punished. 

 

 

It really sounds like this isn't fixable with wars going on.

 

The part about the guys giving the war crimes lecture at west point and no one raising their hands is really disturbing. 

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