There is an injustice happening in the Military right now, and it’s the Junior Officers and Enlisted Soldiers who are paying the price. They are being led by Senior Officers and Senior Enlisted personnel who are more worried about their careers than they are about those they are supposed to be leading. These leaders are unjustly punishing their subordinates over acts that they believe will jeopardize their careers. Take the case of Marine First Lieutenant Joshua Waddell.
LT Waddell was a company executive officer serving in Afghanistan when his unit had been hit by an IED. After LT Waddell’s unit Snipers mortally wounded the IED maker, he ordered them to take out a tractor he believed was used to transport the wounded bomb maker. Even though no civilians were wounded in the incident his Battalion Commander decided that the shots fired at the tractor violated the strict rules of engagement due to the presence of teenagers around the tractor. Again no civilians were wounded and LT Waddell used his units snipers to immobilize the tractor. Snipers are an elite group of individuals who are trained to shoot at targets as small as a human head at up to 1000 meters and more. The shot at the tractor was an easy shot for these guys. The report doesn’t say how close the teenagers were to the tractor, even had one of them been in the driver’s seat of the tractor, with a Sniper shooting out the engine there was no chance anyone being hit. Snipers are like the surgeons of an Infantry unit, they can take out a target with precise shots and never endanger bystanders. Snipers have a motto, “One shot, one kill.” This is in reference to the fact it only takes one shot from a Sniper to take out a target. So this was the right choice by Lt Waddell, the minimum amount of force to take out a target. But his leadership decided he was wrong. Lt Waddell protected his Marines, and never put a civilian in danger. Now he has a career ending Letter of Reprimand, he now has almost no chance of getting promoted.
This trend is destroying the Military. Gone are the days of Generals Sherman, Patton, and MacArthur, now they would be shunned by their peers for actually letting the Military do its job. Gone are the days of Soldiers like Audie Murphy, whose actions today would be a court-martial offense. Gone are the days of Military leaders standing up to the President and not having to worry about getting fired, look at the case of General Stanley McChrystal. And it is only going to get worse. Our Military is going to continue to spiral down out of control, until the senior leaders start leading and stop being afraid.