Entirely “real world” post for this one. If you’re here for the stunts, stage combat & action movie stuff, just scroll on past.
…those of you that remained, carry on.
The last couple of months have been an online shitstorm for the U.S. military on multiple fronts.
(not in chronological order)
One mensa candidate (a Staff NCO, no less) decided to wax poetic about Trayvon Martin while on the rifle range. Unspecified punishment.
Then some Army dipshit loses a comrade to an IED blast and takes it upon herself to tell said comrade’s wife that she’s now a widow… on Facebook. Unspecified punishment.
And the blogosphere loses its shit over a Scout-sniper team photo featuring an SS flag. Mercifully, cooler heads prevailed as the team’s higher-ups gave a “put that shit away and never bring it out again.”
One would think that with the educational power and scope of the internet, one could figure out that Scout Snipers, posing in front of a flag that said, “SS,” would realize they stood for the phrase “Scout Snipers,” as opposed to the Schutzstaffel. Then again, that may well fucking be vastly overestimating the average cognizance level of your typical internet user.
((Yes, yes I can use six-syllable words and “fuck” in the same sentence, thank you very much.))
Then a soldier in Afghanistan sends photos of his supposed war buddies posing with corpses and pieces of suicide bombers to the L.A. Times. The Times and the brass do the usual monkey dance of “please don’t publish” “we’re gonna publish just because you asked us not to!” And the internet is presented with posed-for-Facebook pictures of soldiers with pieces of their enemies.
And, lest we forget, video of Marines pissing on dead Taliban show up online.
And I’m not even going into the Qur’an burning bullshit, or the Secret Service prostitutes nonsense, or the Marine getting ad-sepped for talking shit about Obama on Facebook while active duty stupidity.
So, now that I’ve aired some dirty laundry of my comrades, where am I getting at?
One word: crackdown.
I guarantee you that U.S. military units around the world have, over the last few months, gotten word of “don’t let this stupid shit come from YOUR people.” Lectures have been given, PowerPoint rangers have wielded their laptops and spouted their bullet points, and yet another check-in-the-box class, probably with some fucking bullshit title like “social media sensitivity awareness” has already garnered a small commendation for it’s pogalicious author. The latest layer of ass-cover was knitted with precision, every stitch and fucking knot covered and aligned.
In a practical sense, this means that the default setting of saying anything of an active duty military nature online will be boiled down to silence. Yeah, yeah, yeah, OPSEC IS IMPORTANT. The potential embarrassment of your higher-ups shouldn’t be, but it winds up being so (to them, at least).
((Aside: yeah, I have friends that are higher-ups. And they know as much as I do that upper ranks make people political creatures. That’s the only way they last long enough to stay higher-ups. Doesn’t make them any more base or noble, just an aspect of their being. Fuck, “aspect of being?” Fucking liberal arts degree is showing again. I’ll cover that up with some rum later.))
So we hear less stories from the battlefield. We already are. It used to be that online stupidity happened already in the field, and was punished according to higher-ups’ discretion. (read “Just Another Soldier” by Jason Christopher Hartley for a good example of being fucked over for embarrassing your c.o.). Nowadays, incidents like the urination and the SS team photo are coming online well after the warriors in question are out of the battlefield (and in some cases, out of the military entirely) and the shitstorm still ensues.
I’m not going to debate the merits of any of these individual cases((one exception: I believe in treating the bodies of enemy dead with dignity and respect. That said, signing up to be a suicide bomber is probably the most blatant statement of “I-don’t-give-two-fucks-what-happens-to-my-body” that’s humanly possible. You may as well bequeath your un-vaporized bits to the FB photo collage of whoever has to clean up what’s left of your sorry ass. End aside.)), but I will say that this road leads to fewer war stories coming out.
And we don’t have many to begin with. I’ve already written in the past about how student veterans are being actively discouraged from discussing their wartime experiences. That’s only going to get worse as shit like this keeps cropping up.
So, what can you, humble citizen, do to alleviate this? Or at least help it not get worse?
#1: Fucking think. Before you comment, post, resend or what have you, think about what’s going on. And more importantly, think about WHY it’s happening.
#2: Do your fucking research. The Scout-sniper example above could’ve been averted if a few people could’ve stopped to realize something instead of screaming “NAZIS!”
#3: Recognize the actions of an individual as such.