Larry Kummer has a Marine Corps story that will boil your blood.
The Army retired West Point Brigade Tactical Officer LTC Hank Kiersey, early in the 2000s, when he took the rap for a subordinate officer using the same kind of pejorative in a similar fashion (David Lipsky, Absolutely American, 2004, pp. 112-113).
Several weeks ago, the United States Marine Corps copied its old Japanese adversary and committed seppuku. It did so by relieving its best battalion commander and most promising future senior combat leader of his command, thus terminating his career. As another Marine lieutenant colonel said to me, â€œThe last light shining in the darkness has been put out.â€
The officer relieved of his command was Lieutenant Colonel Marcus Mainz. Some years ago Mainz, as a captain, was one of my students in a Fourth Generation War seminar at the Marine Corpsâ€™ Expeditionary Warfare School. He was one of the best â€“ bright, tremendous energy, a powerful personality, and an ability to get results. These are exactly the qualities the Marine Corps needs in its leaders if it is to implement its doctrine of maneuver warfare. Now that doctrine seems to be little more than words on paper.
Mainz, through the innovative training program he implemented in his battalion, had built a substantial and devoted following throughout the Marine Corps. Now many of his admirers are giving up and putting in their paperwork to resign or retire. Their hope is gone. A Marine major said to me, â€œThe second- and third-order effects of his dismissal are massive.â€
What led the Marine Corps to devour its young? The answer lies in the moral cowardice the senior Marine Corps leadership (and that of our other armed services) routinely displays in the face of â€œpolitical correctness,â€ i.e., cultural Marxism.
Speaking to his Marines, as told to me, Mainz dismissed some of the administrivia that eats up much of their training time, saying something like, â€œWeâ€™re not going to do that faggot stuff.â€ A Marine understandably objected to his use of the word â€œfaggot,â€ and a brigadier general ordered him relieved of his command.
Of course it canâ€™t be disputed that this was an unfortunate and inappropriate expression. A proper sanction would have been justified. But to destroy the career of one of the Corpsâ€™ best commanders for a lapsus linguae is ridiculous. Should this lapse wipe away all the good accomplished by this highly effective military leader â€“ and all of his potential future accomplishments in a Corps that needs his leadership? And does the Marine Corps really want to put such fear into its best officers that they lose their force and swagger?
Note: The official explanation the Marines have issued for Mainzâ€™s loss of command is that it was due to a â€œloss of trust and confidence in his ability to continue to lead the battalion.â€
Far from being an isolated incident, the relief of this brilliant officer points to the worm that is gnawing away at the Marine Corpsâ€™ vitals: preparing for war has become the lowest priority.