June 19, 2021

Ignoring Even One Shattered Norm Endangers the Civilian-Military Relationship

It took New York City 10 long years for them to welcome home Vietnam War veterans officially, gratitude they were denied in 1975 primarily because of the deep fracture in trust between civilians and the U.S. military during and after that war.

The ticker tape parade held in 1985 had over 1 million people turn out for the emotional event. At the time, it had the most significant number of marchers on record for a parade in the city’s history during a two-day celebration to thank the service members a decade after the last U.S. soldiers left Saigon in 1975.

As a young mother in 1991, I took my children to a massive parade in downtown Pittsburgh honoring the returning Gulf War veterans. For the first time, I saw an outpouring of support for the Vietnam War veterans who also marched in the parade.

For those of us of a certain age, the mere recognition of their service rarely existed, nor did a thank you, let alone a parade to honor them for fighting in that war.

The civilian-military relationship had never been so perilous in our history.

The Vietnam War era marked the moment when the public began to distrust its government, military and larger institutions; we found out presidents lie, corporations don’t have our best interest at heart, the bias of the media and the idea that our military is not invincible.

Since then, our faith in all of those powerful entities has never recovered from those pre-Vietnam War comfort levels except for the one: the military. Last year, according to the Gallup survey, the U.S. military earned 72% of the public’s trust.

In comparison, television news organizations only receive 18% of our trust and confidence, Congress 13% and big corporations an abysmal 19%.

Confidence in small businesses, which is at 75%, is the only entity other than our military in our daily lives that the public trusts.

One of those reasons we do have this faith, or had this faith — a recent Reagan Foundation national defense survey done in February showed a steep decline since January — is that we have always respected that the soldier is apolitical and the institution, while political, is nonpartisan.

In short, while we understood that politics always affected the military, we respected and expected that our military leaders never got in the mud with their partisan points of view.

Last week, that all changed — not for the country’s good and indeed not for the good of the civilian-military relationship. It is a relationship that should be cherished and guarded against senior military officers getting into childish Twitter spats with civilians, no matter how tempting it may be.

And yet, that is just what Master Gunnery Sgt. Scott Stalker, the commander of the U.S. Space Force, did when he went after a conservative civilian talk show host on Twitter with a video attacking his commentary.

It matters little who was involved. It was wrong. Military Twitter accounts, whether the account is an official one held by a uniformed leader or a soldier, reflect on the military in the public mind, mainly because it is often the only contact civilians have with a military member.

When only one-half of 1% of people serve in the military, a whole lot of the public doesn’t have daily interaction with anyone serving. So, if Twitter is your only interaction and you are on there and watch the leader of the U.S. Space Force go after a civilian, you might be inclined to wonder what the hell is going on in our military ranks.

And this part is vital: Stalker quips, “Let’s remember that those opinions were made by an individual who has never served a day in his life,” and that is the most chilling part because that sentiment can be aimed at most of the country. Why? Because most of the county hasn’t served in the military a day in their life.

Is that how the elite military leadership really views its civilians? Do they now believe they can use their positions to become the arbiters of free speech for civilians? Is there a culture of political wokeness now held by these men and women in uniform that will now be used against people who don’t share their politics?

If so, that is concerning because there is an entire other half of the country that now fears your power rather than respects it. We have trusted you to kept partisanship out of how you view your citizens and your citizens’ liberties.

For the past couple of years, the public has been concerned that its free speech, which the cultural curators have already marginalized in Big Tech, big business, and big institutions, is now under the scrutiny of our military.

That concern may be a leap, however, when any singular civilian-military standard is shattered while that one incident is not a crisis if it is ignored or dismissed by the press as a one-off — we all know how swiftly one-offs accumulate and start to become accepted as the new norm.

Salena Zito is a staff reporter and columnist for the Washington Examiner. She reaches the Everyman and Everywoman through shoe-leather journalism, traveling from Main Street to the beltway and all places in between. To find out more about Salena and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2021 CREATORS.COM

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24 Responses

  1. First: A “Master Gunnery Sergeant” is NOT an officer and cannot “command” a branch of the Military!!! A Master Gunnery Sergeant is an ENLISTED serviceperson and holds that rank due to his/her KNOWN qualities and term of service in the Army or Marine Corps. These qualified individuals hold senior ENLISTED positions of authority but ALWAYS serve under the DIRECT supervision and control of SWORN officers of their appropriate Military Branch. To claim that an “enlisted man” would EVER be placed in ANY command capacity demonstrates the TOTAL IGNORANCE this writer has regarding military service, and is a DISGRACE to her profession!!!

    1. You don’t get it. The general public does not understand rank and file as a consequence it would make no difference to them. The Gunnery should have never responded. This would not of happened in my service. It shows you how devastating Social Media can be. It is a article obviously written by a friendly reporter.

  2. That is a great article. But if we let our present, so called President get his way. They will do every American that served in any way with the military, a miss service for their sacrifice to keep this country safe and free from the perils of safety, and freedom that we all fought for. It will all be meaningless.

  3. I am a Vietnam Veteran from 67-68 and i still dont believe the people of this country cares about us.

    1. You are wrong on that , chief ! We have been having are butts handed to US 🇺🇸 from the end of WWll … COMMUNISM has & IS , still being used successfully to devide an DESTROY US 🇺🇸 ! MANY factors have been in play in it all … MANY SERVED voluntarily , while Many were Drafted… , I myself , RESPECTED COMBAT SERVICE ! Even with all the hippie, social change . It has been my Honor to have served & meet many WWl – WWll – Korean & Vietnam Veterans ( it was not always Easy) . We have been used , then discarded throughout history… RONALD REAGAN was one , that Truely Honored military service to OUR CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC AND FREEDOM !!!!!!! YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN… !!!!!!!
      GOD HAVE MERCY ON US 🇺🇸 🙏. OUR ENEMIES , WILL NOT !

  4. It”s a shame the way the younger generation and some politicians have turned their back on are Military and what sacrifice they made for this country. Biden has been in office and yet you don’t hear a word from him concerning the V.A. or the Veterans of this country When Trump was in office he did a lot for Veterans and did not put illegals ahead of Vet’s. ” Semper-Fi “

  5. TIME TO IMPEACH BIDEN AND HARRIS!

    WE THE PEOPLE (aka SILENT MAJORITY) had countless opportunities to have stopped this nightmare, but we chose to give the DEMOCRATS what they expected of us, to REMAIN SILENT! Thus, making us equally complicit in the fraud perpetrated against United States Americans!

    Isn’t it time you actually did something, took action? How much more damage needs to be done?

    I urge everyone who reads this to PICK UP THE PHONE and call your REP AND SENATORS in DC and DEMAND IMMEDIATE IMPEACHMENT OF BIDEN AND HARRIS.

    BIDEN is completely UNFIT FOR OFFICE! Biden is guilty of 18 U.S. Code CHAPTER 115—TREASON, SEDITION, AND SUBVERSIVE ACTIVITIES.

    Can you continue to tolerate gasoline prices, product prices all going up, the WH being run by Harris, Pelosi and Schumer? Literally destroying our country, allowing thousands upon thousands of illegals into our country bringing in God knows what diseases?

    Then copy and paste this information into an E-Mail and send to friends and family asking them to make the calls, then forward on to their friends asking them to make the calls and forward on! WE NEED TO MAKE THIS GO VIRAL!

    Members of the House
    202-224-3841

    Members of the Senate
    202-224-3121

    TOLL FREE:
    866-272-6622

    Keep in mind: SILENCE = ACCEPTANCE

  6. It’s their sworn job to protect America from enemies foreign and domestic. One incident shouldn’t have the power to change that.

  7. Air Force One takes a wrong turn. They were over Beijing when the engines quit, Biden ask the pilot what was wrong the pilot said we are out of gas. So Joe being the man of action that he is, he bailed out, he could be heard saying WHOOOA! I forgot my chuuuuuuute………….splat. Harris who happened to be on the same flight jumped too, but she got her chute on, when she tried to open it she kept pulling the wrong chord. She was pulling the chord for her kotex, needless to say that turned out to be a bloody mess. The pilot remembered to switch to the reserve tanks, and flew off into the sunset. This pilot will be remembered as a national hero.

  8. Pelosi said the border is under control. Well! from what I see she is right, the border is under control of the Cartels, who are making all kinds of money off of drugs, and humane trafficking’s, while the democrats are making money off of the American taxpayer who are paying for everything. Doesn’t it feel so good to be so generous, and so wanted, right when you are broke, and the DNC wont let you go to work. Just remember all you Democrat taxpayers this is your money too.

  9. It is all about keeping you in jail! So, to speak They can’t put everyone in jail so they are doing the next best thing, they are putting you under house arrest ( they call this a lock down because they can’t legally put you under house arrest ). This way they don’t have to say martial law, which would be illegal. They want to keep you from working or making money, because they want you totally dependent on the state, so that you will vote to become a [email protected] [email protected] I keep trying to tell people this, but they don’t seem to get it, so I don’t know why I waste my time. Keep following the science, not Dr. Fauci, it will get you there. The science says that you are 80% more likely to get covid 19 in your home, than anywhere else. So, if you want to get it stay home. Get it.

  10. Just a thought about covid: Another thing that I have noticed, which seems kind of weird, but just popped into my head one day. It seems kind of funny when I think about it, but did you ever count the number of hearses on the road. If as many people were dying as they claim, where are all the bodies, where are all of hearses????

  11. Rep. Ilhan Omar calls out Biden, Dems over stimulus: We’re ‘sending money to fewer people’ than Trump. Ilhan is right, Trump gave people far more money than all the Democrats combined. And he did so in a unique way. He did something that the Democrats would consider immoral. HE GAVE PEOPLE SOMETHING UNIMAGIBLE . He gave them REAL JOBS .

  12. When Biden is gone she will magically trans-race to white, and claim she was born in NYC, and that her real fathers name is Cuomo. Yes, she was the sole savior. She learned how to be a sole savior from Biden. You can always tell when she is lying, she starts laughing.

    No! I don’t believe that Obama would bump off his own Kenyan grandmother, he just is not like that. He does not have that in him, I think?

  13. The Democrats want to push gun control, did anyone ever notice that every time the Democrats start to push for control, that the incidents of gun valence increases, I wonder what that is about. It must be another one of those strange phenomena things that happen when ever a Democrat opens its mouth.

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