A Moment of High-Ranking Lunacy

10 Sep

Written very quickly. YMMV.

I was not best pleased, picking up a copy of The Scotsman on Saturday, to read another piece of proof that political correctness has infiltrated our military. There’s a war on in the Middle East, a tidal wave of refugees coming our way and tremendous rumblings in the Ukraine, but apparently the biggest threat facing our military is sex pests and bullies. Yes, folks; the serious shortage of front-line combat troops, poor care for Britain’s wounded and appallingly bad supply and procurement services are apparently less important than pandering to political correctness.

I admit that I have never served, so you may take what I say with a grain of salt, but certain points seem obvious to me. (That said, I ran it past someone who had and he agreed with me.)

First, the military exists to deliver controlled directed violence onto the enemies of Britain. That is its core function. Everything else, from nation-building to humanitarian relief work, comes second. The type of men who make up our fighting force are not the type of men who can easily switch to being sensitive types – and if they did, they would give up a great deal of their edge. Asking them to be politically correct is absurd.

Furthermore, when you put a group of young men together, they have a habit of jostling one another as a way of testing the group. (Male conversation is studded with insults; a healthy male group is one where everyone is insulted and insults.) Men who stand up for themselves earn respect; men who run whining to superior authority earn nothing but contempt. What use is the latter going to be in a combat zone? This goes double for women in a male-dominated environment. If a woman gets called a whore by a man and responds by punching the man in the face, she will earn respect; if she goes and complains to a superior officer, she will earn contempt. If the men start telling rape jokes and she responds with jokes about castration, she will earn respect; if she starts moaning about a hostile working environment, she will be hated by the rest of her unit.

Second, the type of young officers we need to lead men into battle are generally tough, smart and realistic. They are not the sort of people to be impressed with political correctness. Nor will they think much of treating one group of recruits as different from the others, knowing that all that matters in wartime is unit cohesion. Indeed, they are the sort of people who are most likely to call bullshit on the whole business. They know that introducing diversity into the armed forces is asking for long-term disaster.

If you judge our combat leaders by any standard other than how they perform on the battlefield, you will significantly weaken the military. The officers we need will leave in disgust, or be left in the lower ranks because they refuse to pander to the politically correct, while the ones who do get promoted will be utterly unable to handle themselves when the bullets start flying.

Third, soldiers have to cope under incredibly stressful situations. A standard battlefield is bad enough, but policing an enemy town (when it is hard to tell the difference between an innocent civilian and an enemy combatant) is a great deal worse. Our soldiers will be exposed to all manner of abuse from the locals (who either hate us or have no choice but to pretend they hate us) and that abuse will include racial and sexual taunts that will be far worse than anything you will hear on the streets of Britain. (Not to mention that there has been at least one case of an Arab man, in Basra, slapping a British servicewoman.)

A soldier who is unable to cope under such circumstances is a dangerous liability. You cannot wrap our fighting men (and women) in cotton wool, then expect them to be effective when confronted with a riot that could turn nasty at any second. It’s quite bad enough when academics bow to the demands of idiotic teenagers who are children in all but age. The military doing the same is a dangerous threat to Britain’s security.

The army cannot afford to be tolerant of weakness. It cannot risk introducing tribalism into the ranks. Military training exists to shape young people into soldiers and, hopefully, remove those who are unable to hack it before they’re pushed into combat. It cares nothing for race, religion or gender, only for performance under fire.

And if we lose sight of that, we lose sight of what an army is for.

19 Responses to “A Moment of High-Ranking Lunacy”

  1. DavidMatthewson September 10, 2015 at 4:23 pm #

    100%.. so true.

  2. Chad September 10, 2015 at 4:25 pm #

    i feel your pain in this matter, the same is happening in the Canadian forces as well. our new CDS has made oneof his top priorities to deal with this”problem”, a sad state of affairs that makes me sick frankly. as you say a army, or military in general is made for committing acts of war which, as you say is not the best place for the sensitive and politically correct.

  3. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard September 10, 2015 at 4:36 pm #


  4. Dustin September 10, 2015 at 8:34 pm #

    I’m going to agree with pretty much everything you said. I was in the US Army for 7 and a half years. I’m also going to say that much of the blame falls on the current basic training system. Basic training used to be about tearing people down mentally and physically and building them back up as a cohesive force that could depend on one another. If you couldn’t hack it you got kicked out. It isn’t for everyone. Now they try their best to make sure everyone gets through regardless of any issues they have. It’s not about the individual meeting the army’s requirements anymore, but about the army meeting the individual’s requirements. I’m not sure if it’s the same with the British Army, but I suspect it is, on some level at least.

  5. R godfrey September 10, 2015 at 8:46 pm #

    People without the self control not to sexually assault colleauges do not have the self discipline to not lose the plot in combat, and are nothing but thugs.

    • sjallen343 September 10, 2015 at 10:26 pm #

      Sexual assault is a crime, telling a rape joke is not. There is a vast world of difference between the two and this post deals with the latter.

      Stay on topic, stay on topic… (said to the tune of those pilots from the original Star Wars in the Death Star run.)

      • R Godfrey September 11, 2015 at 4:50 am #

        Except thtat the sex pests refered to, and a related campaign are about sexual assaults and rapes. Oh and Chris’ just punch him/her idea? Again breech of discipline.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard September 11, 2015 at 1:21 pm #

        In the minds of too many “a bad joke” is “sexual assault”. [Frown]

      • sjallen343 September 11, 2015 at 11:20 am #

        You’d be surprised just how often the “just punch them” idea actually works. I’ve only ever seen one person punished for this and that infraction involved a trip to the hospital.

        But that idiot never forgot to do his job properly ever again.

        I’ll admit, I was a bit of a smartass in original reply and didn’t read the linked post. Now that I have read it, the moral of the story doesn’t change. If people are too soft to handle an insult then they’re useless. Not as soldiers, as people. Full stop.

        Consider this: This is the easiest, most decadent, far and away the most comfortable time to ever have lived. No other time in history comes close. Life has never been easier. One can reasonably expect to survive until old age and people actually complain about “only” living until 80 or 90 odd.

        Can you imagine a soldier on any side of either world war complaining about sexual harassment? How about the Spartans? Or the Norse? How about the Samurai? Maybe the Apache? The Rough Riders? Roman legionnaires? Bugger it, has anyone who has ever done anything worthwhile ever stood up and said “C’mon guys, enough with the dirty jokes.”

        This is why we haven’t won a war since WW2. (I’m ignoring the Falklands for hyperbole purposes.)

        Apologies to Chris for writing angry things on his post. I’ll sit down again now.

  6. Dennis the Menace September 10, 2015 at 9:30 pm #

    You really think that all this is bad? Just wait until they get unionized like the Dutch military is.

  7. Dustin September 10, 2015 at 9:37 pm #

    Really? They seriously have a union?

    • Brad September 11, 2015 at 2:52 am #


  8. Cliff September 10, 2015 at 11:16 pm #

    I guess I don’t see what you are saying. Not having read the new code, having the armed forces be more representative would be a good thing.

    And it seems a little off color stuff is fine/bonding, but at what point does it go too far? Or are got saying it can’t/wouldn’t? Ideally, sure it wouldn’t, but the world isn’t ideal.


    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard September 10, 2015 at 11:29 pm #

      If a woman or man can’t handle “bad jokes”, could they handle combat?

      IMO the problem with “more representative” is that it can conflict with “getting people who can handle the job”.

      IE if the focus is getting people in the armed forces “more representative” of the population, recruiters/trainers may start thinking “we don’t have enough green-skinned centaurs in the army so it doesn’t matter if that green-skinned centaur isn’t making the mark for doing the job.

      • Brad September 11, 2015 at 3:06 am #

        I agree with this. I did a four year stint in the US Marines (admittedly about a hundred years ago). My Senior Drill Instructor did some “weeding out” by innocently asking whom among our eighty strong platoon was legitimately offended by his swearing. Three men raised their hands. He praised them for speaking up, then cursed at them until the paint peeled from the walls – thus sending the dual messages 1) the thin-skinned don’t belong here, and 2) don’t volunteer anything, just do what you’re told (preferably at lightning speed and at the top of our lungs).

        Some time later, after the three offenders had been exercised half to death in front of us, he DI explained his harsh handling of the situation. He told us that good manners, consideration for the feelings of others, and even religious beliefs had no place in combat or fighting units. If you can’t take a little bad language, how will you handle the enemy trying to actually kill you?

        The same is true of all kinds of PC in the military.

    • chrishanger September 11, 2015 at 11:22 pm #

      Figuring out what’s ‘too far’ is not something that can be done at a distance.


      My Site: http://www.chrishanger.net/
      My Blog: https://chrishanger.wordpress.com/
      My Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/ChristopherGNuttall

      • Tim September 14, 2015 at 9:58 pm #

        I agree. I also suspect that those here who have used such terms as “thugs” and “more representative” in their replies have no clue what military service actually entails, never having served. And have never seen combat.

        It is truly easy to pontificate such nonsense from warm, fuzzy, safe places in the world. While you yourself have never served, at least you have enough smarts to understand how reality works, and I, at least, appreciate that. Moreover, as a Marine combat veteran (from “a hundred years ago” — I loved that turn of phrase above), I cannot really fault anything you said in your original piece, Chris.

        Now, get back to work, and get TEC12, DH2, and AL 3 done. Chop, chop! *GRIN*

  9. thundercloud47 September 10, 2015 at 11:43 pm #

    The same insanity is going on in the USA. We have been committing a slow suicide for many years now.

  10. Cathbad September 12, 2015 at 1:53 am #

    I’ve sat through two years of SHARP training on the US side of the pond, which is five years too many with regards to sexual harassment. That said, I’ll speak as a civilian who’s watched this at rather close range for many years:

    1) The drill instructors and their officers must be as hard as necessary, to turn youth into soldiers who will perform their duties to correct way every time under pressure and stress, PERIOD. END. It’s not about you; it’s about your squad mate that you also got killed or crippled because you couldn’t cut it. Anyone who cannot make the physical, mental, or moral adjustment to being a Soldier is detrimental to military merit, and needs to get separated as early and humanely as possible.

    2) You will always have some subgroup of evil (self-oriented) people attempt to infiltrate and take over because it IS all about them. They exert pressure and pain to make their own lives easier and to cause harm to people who take the military’s real mission seriously. One of the unanswered questions Stateside is why has no one taken care of the bullies or harassers by repeated “blanket parties.” These are people who should not have passed the screening for Basic Training in the first place.

    Which brings us unfortunately to:

    3) Why in God’s Name would you attempt to appease the false gods of diversity by insulting the “Gods of the Copybook Headings”? What about the unity of identity and purpose needed in a battalion? How does diversity improve force cohesion? Does this exacerbate the problems of bullying and sex pests, or Can This Not Be Spoken Of?

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