Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Response to "I'm Tired" criticism

[In response to: I'm Tired of Blubbering, Selfish Idiots like Robert A. Hall and TIM KING : Confessions of a Marine Corps Mutineer]

Oh, Fie!  Our Strephon is a Rogue! “Lord Chancellor:  That fable may p’rhaps serve his turn as well as any other….  And she’s but seventeen—I don’t believe it was his mother.”  Gilbert & Sullivan, Iolanthe

Bob, I wouldn’t get too upset about criticism from someone who is proud to proclaim himself a jailbird.  You’ve been called much worse by people you actually respected.

I read the two linked articles by Tim King.  He makes his social and political positions clear, and like most of your critics, constructs a fictional straw man to then knock down in his tirade. 

I won’t bother to defend you, you rich capitalist devil, but I do think turn about is fair play.  Let me try my hand at it.

I’ve heard it a thousand times: Marine Corps recruit training builds men.  Unfortunately, that isn’t quite true.  A better analogy would be that Marine Corps recruit training smelts men from the raw materials already present within the recruits.  If the quality is there in any size, shape, or form, boot camp finds it, magnifies it and builds upon it.  If a quality isn’t within the recruit—such as integrity, for example—the recruit will hear about it and be drilled in it, but the training won’t take because he had none of that quality to begin with.

Marine boot camp typically washes out 20%—or more—before graduation.  Most are dropped because of obvious physical or mental inabilities (which would likely get the recruit and his fellows killed when the going gets rough).  The more subtle character problems often escape from boot camp and then have to be dealt with, not by Drill Instructors, but by ordinary NCOs and officers who may not be as fully trained in the niceties of human resources as they are in the trades of repairing radios, aircraft, trucks, or whatever.

King’s Drill Instructors failed him by allowing him to graduate.  He clearly had no idea he would ACTUALLY be expected to obey all those orders even if he was on Leave or Liberty.  He never knew what it meant to be a Marine, he only knew how to wear the uniform.  As he points out, he was a local boy, a California boy, and therefore was special.  Unfortunately, there are no “special” Marines.

Mr. King makes clear he ignored orders (not to mention state and federal laws—both of which he was subject to as a Marine in California) forbidding the use of marijuana. 

Perhaps he thought he was only a Marine part-time, only subject to discipline during his assigned duty hours.  The reality is Marines are subject to discipline 24 hours of every day, whether on duty or not (yes, they did pay us for all those hours, every month).  Had he been in a line outfit in Vietnam, he might very well have been shot—by the fellow Marines he endangered—and the world would have been spared another whiny liberal reporter.  If caught, he would certainly have been given a Court and likely sentenced to 6-6-and-a-kick (six months loss of pay, six months at hard labor in a  place of confinement, and a Bad Conduct Discharge). 

Instead, under Commanding Officer’s Punishment (Article 15)—which is ALWAYS voluntary; he could have insisted on a Court Martial—he was given re-training, which he says he obeyed. 

Perhaps he is unaware that every Article 15 punishment is automatically reviewed by his commander’s superior.  If his later punishment of 30 days in the brig was considered excessive or unjust by the battalion or regimental commander, not only would it have been “made just,” his commander would himself be subject to discipline for it.

In my 54 months on active duty, I cannot recall even one instance when anyone was sentenced to 30 days in the brig under Article 15.  Perhaps a dozen spent a few days to a week in the brig for various minor offenses—every one of which was a repeat offense, which brought on the imposition of brig time—and one guy who spent 15 days there for repeatedly getting drunk and fighting.  On the basis of that experience, I seriously doubt we have the full tale of why King spent 30 days in the brig.  Also notice the elaborate justifying story that “forced him” to incite mutiny.  It would be difficult to give an opinion of its accuracy, but I strongly suspect it is incomplete or inaccurate.

As to King’s social and political positions, just like the rest of us, he is entitled to make his own decisions.  And, if he looks around himself, he’ll see the result of decades of the work of those social and political positions put into place by folks just like him.  I hope he enjoys what he sees since he will have to live with it.

As for me, I still believe justice for one person cannot be achieved by injustice to another.  I believe no person has a claim on the earnings of another, even if the other earns a lot (jealousy is a deadly sin, just like greed).  I believe in the rights of individuals balanced by the responsibility of those same individuals for themselves.  I accept responsibility for my own sins, but reject responsibility for the sins of others.  I believe every person has a right to be left alone by government at every level, and I believe we will lose this right by forfeit unless we defend it; busybodies and know-it-alls are everywhere, but especially in governments.

Ronald G. Pittenger (once a Corporal of Marines), 6 Sep 2011

Regardless of whatever high-sounding reason they cite, those who will not fight at need to defend their own or their families' lives become willing participants in their murders. ---Unattributed

The society that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools. ---Thucydides

What a discomforting paradox the U.S. finds itself in. In the first half of the past century we sent our troops abroad praying that they had the wherewithal, courage and stamina to conquer our enemies. Now our troops leave our shores praying that those left at home can find the courage and stamina to support their almost certain battlefield successes. ---Phillip Jennings


  1. Haven't got time to read the anti-Bob A. Hall article, "I'm Tired of Blubbering, Selfish Idiots Like Robert A. Hall." I must take time to say I knew Bob Hall in high school. He was a stand-up guy then and he is a stand-up guy now. Nice picture of you on the ranter's webpage, Bob. You look like some movie star of old, but can't think which one it is. Kate in LA.

  2. Bob, be encouraged by this: "Woe unto you when all men shall speak well of you, for so did their fathers to the false prophets."
    I also take it as a latent indicator you are not the typical, AIPAC-owned, Browne-sound-alike, mind-numbed neocon robot, and THAT is a great thing!

  3. I thought Comrade King's column was hilarious. I was particularly struck by his substitute for logic - name calling.

    Which leads to a question. Do US Marines really indulge in such effete posturing as calling people "wankers"?