Friday, January 23, 2009

This screams "There are deeper problems here"

(Hat tip to Foreign Policy and Tom Ricks)



According to this Stars and Stripes article, there was a gang initiation beating that killed an Army Sergeant back in 2005. The sergeant in question was being inducted into the gang by some Air Force airmen. Three service people have already been convicted in court-martials, and another is currently undergoing a court martial. Others involved were given immunity for their cooperation, and more may be tried.

My major question is simply this--how does a street gang, one that starts fights in bars and uses drugs, form within the military? I was always taught that the military (these days) instilled strong "discipline" in its members, and that it was impossible to get away with things like that in the military. I was taught to have a very healthy respect for MPs and such (despite never being in the military myself).

Ricks suggests that it indicated the declining discipline within the military. Given that this was 3 years ago, it makes me wonder if things have gotten better or worse since then. (Also, this was in a US base in Germany, not in a fight zone where worse explosions of violence could be at least better understood.)

I hope that this has caused the heads of the military to at least look into the incident, and make sure that it's a single isolated case, not a growing trend. The idea of gang members as our military frightens me.

8 comments:

Boom Goes the Dynamite said...

At least give me a pretty picture to look at.

Porthos said...

Better now?

The Dude said...

The mental image of gangsters beating up fellow soldiers in initiation ceremonies doesn't really sync up with the "pentathelete" paradigm mentioned at The Small Wars Journal here : http://smallwarsjournal.com/mag/2009/01/sorry-pentathlete-wasnt-on-the.php

My initial reaction to this story was to think that this is a pretty obvious indication that the military is sacrificing quality for quantity with regard to the its soldiers. But, honestly, there are disciplinary problems in any sufficiently large organization. I don't think that this example can be used as an anecdote for discipline and professionalism in the rest of the armed services. At least not without further evidence.

Porthos said...

The Dude,

Overall, I agree with you. But it does strike me as enough evidence to at least look into the problem and see if it is a bigger problem than we might have realized.

The Dude said...

You agree with me! Come on... this is the internet! There's no room for civility!

Porthos said...

Um, sorry Dude, let me try again--

This anecdote is just one example, JUST ONE EXAMPLE, of the deep rot that is plaguing our military forces! If immediate action of some unspecified kind is not taken IMMEDIATELY, we are all DOOMED! And if you can't see that, you must be in bed with Commu-I mean, terror-, I mean...who do we still hate?

IsaidGOODDAYsir! said...

How about a new angle here - When do these gangs cross over from domestic crime machines in impoverished areas to international terror organizations?

Overstepping, of course. But doesn't it worry anyone that people are being initiated into American street gangs while serving overseas? Oh the West Side Story days, if they ever actually existed...

Killface said...

You think street gangs in the military are bad. How about Nazis in the military?

http://74.125.95.132/search?q=cache:NMQztT0IzkMJ:nazisinthemilitary.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/whitesupremacistrecruitmentofmilitarypersonnel2.pdf+nazis+in+the+military&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=2&gl=us