Marine Corps Leaders Underfire for Controversial Document Addressing Suicide in Ranks

Navy Chaplain's EmblemUS Marine Corps leaders concerned about increasing suicides in their ranks have come under fire from atheists after publishing a training document citing loss of spiritual faith as one of the reasons for the disturbing trend. Billy Hallowell of The Blaze writes an interesting article about the matter this week that bears note. See the entire Blaze article here.

Hallowell, in his lead, captures the problem perfectly when he writes: Atheists and church-state separatists aren’t happy about a Marine Corps training document that insinuates potential risk factors for suicide among soldiers include a “lack or loss of spiritual faith.”

Critics are calling the language a discriminatory inclusion that targets non-believers, however others see it as a legitimate item worth considering, especially in light of the U.S. military’s monumental suicide problem.

Those “others” Billy is talking about is none other than Mickey Weinstein, a former Air Force officer and founder of Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF). Weinstein has been in the forefront on a campaign to wipe out all religion from the military, including chaplains and religious services, citing the often-misguided non-constitutional phrase “separation of church and state”.

The bottom line is this; the Marines and indeed all the services have a monumental problem with suicide and conscientious leaders are doing what they can to prevent more. Atheists meanwhile, supersensitive about anything involving religion or the mention of God in government documents continue their crusade to stifle all mention of a deity.

It is absolutely true, and horrific, that more servicemembers have died in recent months in all of the services than have been killed in combat. In their efforts to fight this trend and save their Soldiers, Airmen, and Marines, military commanders commissioned a report to try to ascertain why this is happening so they can prevent it. Well-meaning authors of the report, being candid in their assessment, have nailed one of the chief reasons for suicide on the head, and the atheists, don’t like it.

They’ve tried for years to erase all mention of religion from the public sphere, even rewriting American history to do so. They say, “the founders wanted separation of religion from government” which of course isn’t the case and can clearly be seen when one reads the founding documents or The Federalist Papers.

The fundamental problem is that if a lack or loss of faith leads to suicide amongst our servicemembers, shouldn’t our military leaders know that reason and address it honestly to try to reduce and eliminate those loses? Should an outside entity be able to file suit, simply for being insulted by the contents of an internal government memo?

If it were me, I would tell Mickey and people like him to take a long walk off a short peer. Leaders on the battlefield need to know the truth, whether it concerns the enemy situation or a silent enemy that is destroying troop morale from the inside. Leaders should have the freedom to address problems without the interference of the PC crowd.

Suicide is not the only disturbing and unacceptable trends plaguing the military these days. Sexual assault of female soldiers is skyrocketing in all branches of the service and has been a silent enigma in the US military ever since women have been allowed in uniform.

I recently attended my annual training for the Army Reserves this last July and August and my battalion went through a painful (though insightful) training session where are leaders talked about this disturbing trend. Our commander made us watch portions of a movie made on the subject of sexual assault in which service women and experts talked about the topic. Many of the interviewees in the movie were themselves victims of sexual assault and harassment. We watched the video then we discussed the vignettes.

I wonder what would happen if someone like Mickey (who has a name like that as an adult anyway? Really?) was allowed to be a fly on the wall in the midst of our discussion? Would he be offended by our conversation, or by our inclusion of a chaplain? Would he cry foul? Would feminists object if a military memo listed as a reason for increased sexual assault as “a lack or loss of faith on the part of male perpatrators”?

Women in the military have done a phenomenal job, working side by side with the men. I’ve had the pleasure of working worth many of them, both officers and enlisted. One of my bosses was a female full-bird colonel. My senior non-commissioned officer working for me right now is a Master Sergeant! I would be lost without her in dealing with issues involving the men and women under my command. I was pleased to write her a walks-on-water evaluation this past year. Our sisters in arms have the right to pursue their career goals in the military, taking their careers as far as they can go, without the negative and abusive attacks on their persons by predatory men. (Such men who perform such attacks on their peers belong in a jail cell, not in a military unit!)

The truth is that our women in uniform find themselves under attack often times by Neanderthal men who for what ever reason have not been properly inculcated in our Army or Military values and are predators in our midst who destroy the lives and careers of our sisters in arms. It is a failure of leadership that we have not addressed this problem earlier. The leadership is concerned about this trend, and suicide, and our servicemembers are subjected to quarterly training to inculcate our members in the Military values and stop the trends that divide us.

Chaplains and chaplain assistants have been a great asset in providing a moral compass for our servicemembers from the very first day our country and our military was founded. I can’t imagine serving in a military without them. Today our chaplains, especially Christian chaplains, are under assault by those who want to destroy religion.

I think the battle over religion is an essential in our society and in our military. What do you believe, that man is an animal, no better or worse than any other, or is man imbued with a spirit, of more worth than any animal, and ultimately morally culpable for is actions to the Higher Power who created him?

The outlook on how wars are conducted reflects our religious and moral beliefs. A Christian is reluctant to go to war, but will go and fight if the cause is justified. A Muslim is constantly at war against what they view as the “Infidel” or unbeliever. The Amish never go to war, period. The atheists and agnostics state, without the benefit of historical truth, that without religion there would be no war, conveniently glossing over the fact that millions of people have been slaughtered by faithless communist and socialist regimes in the 20th Century.

I’m deeply offended by people like Mickey (get a real name and put on your big boy pants you jerk) who are so offended by religion that they want to force their own lack of morality and spirituality on the rest of us who do claim to be spiritual. The fact is that this nation was founded as a Christian Nation, despite what Mickey would have you believe. Our laws prevent the interference of the government on our religious practices, or lack thereof, they don’t prevent the talk of religious or spiritual matters in public.

Mickey and people of his ilk are misguided and often disrespectful of the beliefs of the majority. I don’t fault Mickey for his beliefs. We have freedom of religion after all and he can do as he likes. But his actions towards the rest of us who have some sort of faith are so offensive that I have no problem calling him out. You brother Mickey, are a big jerk! You can use your freedom of speech to criticize the government, but you have the sensitivity of a nat.

Our military is great, perhaps the greatest on earth, but there are some serious problems underlying, undermining, that need to be addressed. Our military leaders need the freedom to address those issues with candor and truthfulness to come to the source of the problem and irradiate the infection. They don’t need you to muck things up. These issues are too important for that. The lives and well-being of our uniformed servicemembers is at stake.

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A Response To Tomas Young: You Don’t Speak for All of Us!

by Jeremy Griffith
American Millennium Online

CPT Jeremy Griffith at Ft. Snelling, MN, 4 Aug 2013.

CPT Jeremy Griffith at Ft. Snelling, MN, 4 Aug 2013.

Recently a letter was written and published on the website purporting to be a letter from a dying veteran Tomas Young. I don’t know if the letter is legitimate, or an attempt to deliberately smear president George Bush and Mr. Dick Cheney. If it is legitimate, it is tragic, if not, shame on the writer who came up with this fiction.

Let’s assume for a moment that the letter is legitimate. Tomas Young makes the claim that he is an Iraqi veteran who has been left paralyzed by the war and lay dying, neglected by the government. He blames Bush and Cheney for the ills that have befallen him and with his last breath writes of his extreme animus for the two former government officials.  He writes that he did not sign up for the Army just after 9/11 to fight an unnecessary war in Iraq. He signed up to fight Al-Qaeda terrorists in Afghanistan in order to punish those who killed so many on that infamous day.

Mr. Young, I grieve for you. If there were anything I could do for a wounded vet, I would do it. I donate to the Wounded Warrior Foundation and many other veterans’ organizations that help veterans. I know wounded veterans who have made recoveries after their wounds and are doing great. Some are struggling and need our help. We should give it. The VA sucks. Got it. But where our government fails, that is when neighbors should step up to the plate, and have, often. Many have died, and that is a tragic. Many have given the last full measure of devotion to their country. We honor their sacrifice, every one, and we lift up the families of the fallen.

Mr. Young, I am sorry for your predicament. Know this, if there was any way I could lift you out of the horrible situation you are in, I would. But don’t blame your current problems on your government, or its past leaders. You signed the dotted line. You should have known what that entailed. Rest in peace, if you can.

But I do not think Young is a legitimate character. I rather believe he is a fictional character made up by the left to smear a president and his Vice President. It has been tried before and I have no doubt it will be tried again. Some Libertarians glom onto this kind of heart-wrenching letter. They too, blame the Bushes and Cheneys of this world for what they consider an immoral and unnecessary war. Park the black helicopters and conspiracy theories in your mind and face reality. We elected Mr. Bush, twice. Don’t blame him for the outcomes of two wars, blame the electorate who voted for him, the majority.

I doubt this letter because nowhere in it does the writer mention what rank he was, where he served or what unit he was in, nor does it mention where he was or what he was doing when he took his wound. That is significant. Ask any Soldier, sailor, airman or Marine and they will tell you without hesitation where they were, what they were doing and what unit they served in. This letter does none of that, which is why I believe it to be fiction and a smear. I for example can tell you where I served. I was a logistician in the S4 section of First Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, (1BCT/34ID) from 5 September 2006-August 20, 2007. We mobilized out of Camp Shelby Mississippi where the excuse for everything that was broken, shot, non-functioning or just plain couldn’t be provided was, “Ya’ll know there was a hurricane?!” We were extended for the surge of 2006. We did 16 consecutive months in country. Thank you Mr. and Ms. Taxpayer. We lost about a dozen great Americans to IEDs, which were manufactured mainly in Iran. Hundreds more were injured. One young NCO of our unit who lost both legs and walks on artificial legs is a motivational speaker today and is an inspiration to many.

This is the kind of detail a Soldier can recount if the letter is real. But it likely is not real and is a forgery to shift blame for the war in Iraq on the president. No such letter has ever been written to blame current president Obama for all the women and children killed in Afghanistan and Iraq by predator drones. The left loves to ignore those, even though the statistics clearly show that many more were killed that way under Obama than were ever killed under Bush. This is another reason I believe this letter is fiction. It does not have the strength of truth.

Many served in Iraq and Afghanistan with honor and have come home, without too many mental or physical wounds too difficult to over come. Some have died, and that is sad. Some have come home with grievous wounds, mental and physical. Instead of writing hateful letters of blame, why not spend your energy to figure out how to help those people? I think we should. We must.

I remember getting off a plane in Bangor Maine, following my last overseas deployment. A crusty old man in a white shirt, blue slacks and a veteran’s cap greeted me with a handshake. With tears in his eyes he said, “Welcome home young Captain. Glad you made it home o.k. Here is a cell phone. Call your people and let them know you are safe and sound!” The man’s hat clearly marked him as a veteran of the Vietnam War, the not so cold portion of the cold war. Those guys have a reason to gripe, after what they saw and how they were treated after the war. But they don’t gripe, they act, and they show their strength of character by doing something that was not done for them. They welcomed us home as brothers. I love those men and I will not forget them.

I think that the letter written by Mr. Young, if he exists or not, if his plight is real or not, is a ploy of the left to destroy a president’ reputation. It does not take into account the extraordinary work of the veterans who fought in that war, who can take enormous pride in what they have done. We got rid of a brutal dictator who like Adolf Hitler caused so much suffering, for his neighbors and his own people. We destroyed his maniacal sons who raped women and tossed their dead bodies in the lake behind their opulent palaces. We freed a nation and we cleared out a rats nest of terrorists. The war on terror goes on, we are not done yet. Perhaps we won’t be done for decades. Ignoring the treat of extremist Islam is not helpful. Blaming past administrations for perceived wrongs is not helpful. A clear eye towards the threats we face is what is required. And a helping hand extended to those broken by war and to their families is our duty.

Mr. Young, you do not speak for all of us!


Read the entire Young letter here.

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