Posts Tagged ‘Martin E. Dempsey’

Changes necessary to find, remove bad leaders

The Army has a serious problem with toxic leaders. A new survey shows that soldiers rate 18 percent of their leaders as “bullies … tyrants … jerks” more interested in their own advancement than the welfare of the troops. A distinguished retired three-star, Lt. Gen. Walter Ulmer, estimated that roughly 8 percent to 12 percent of Army officers at the rank of colonel and higher “are so toxic that they need to be removed from command.”

That’s quite an indictment.

This problem, like so many others, is a byproduct of a decade of war that saw the force dedicated to developing combat skills, often at the expense of broader leadership abilities.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Martin E. Dempsey [ . . .] wants leaders who earn the respect of subordinates and peers alike, rather than martinets and incompetents who hold authority only because they outrank everyone around them.

Such twisted chain of command is driving good troops out of the Army. So bad leaders not only are demoralizing, they are expensive.


The word isn’t toxic, it’s sociopathic.  Give all officer candidates brain scans for possible sociopathy.  I understand that the military makes a big effort to weed out sociopaths from the enlisted ranks, as they should (though some slip by:  Steven Green who was discharged from the military “due to antisocial personality disorder but before the military was aware of the incident” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahmudiyah_killings)).  They also need to take great care with their officers.

I am not saying that the majority of these “toxic” officers would be or have to be sociopathic.  That is not necessary for sociopaths to do the harm they do, though the sociopathic percentage would be much higher than in the general population.  My argument is that corruption, evil and the causes of human misery cannot be understood without taking sociopaths into account. Sociopathic mal-doers license, enable the non sociopathic corrupt and humiliated to emulate them.  They are the sharp end of the stick in war crimes and bullying.

For the record I’d like to state that while I am antiwar,  I am not anti-military.  Thus while I would not allow military recruiters in public high schools beyond posters and occasional presentations, I would require all colleges that accept federal money to have ROTC programs.  We want the officer class to reflect population in its diversity.  To the voices from my Quaker pacifist past that ask wouldn’t you like a world with no need of militaries, I say, of course I would, and I’m sure it will happen exactly the same moment that water starts flowing uphill right before it turns into wine.  If you want responsible, moral military leaders, such as those above, you cannot say to the officers corp don’t live in my neighborhood, don’t marry my daughters and expect an officer corp loyal to the people.


Israeli undercover agents boast of killing Palestinians on TV

Undercover Israeli intelligence officers appeared on national television Saturday to talk about assassinating Palestinians in a program broadcast on Israel’s Channel 10.

Oren Beaton presented a photo album of Palestinians he killed during his time as a commander of an undercover Israeli unit operating in the northern West Bank city of Nablus.

Beaton explained that he kept photos of his victims.

“This is a photo of a Palestinian young man called Basim Subeih who I killed. This is another young man. I shredded his body, and the photo shows the remnants of his body,” he said.

The TV program also featured an undercover agent referred to as “D”, who openly admitted killing “wanted Palestinians.”

He complained of suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and said that the state had rejected his demands for compensation.

NEWSFLASH TO THE UNIVERSAL SOLDIER:  YOU ARE NOT BOUND BY ORDERS FROM SOCIOPATHIC OFFICERS.  Its simple natural law, how can the soulless give orders to the souled?  Some might ask what that would do for military discipline — but that’s the wrong question.


The agents, who speak fluent Arabic, are shown surrounded by masked Palestinian collaborators secretly deployed to the area to protect them.

The program provided previously unconfirmed details about the operational methods of undercover agents.

The report explained that officers conducted surveillance before an assassination, investigating the target’s friends and classmates.

Agents would even ask about the target’s favorite meals and habits at home, the report said.

In this way, agents would put together an image of the target’s behavior and routine.

Agent “D” said officers would then “seize the target and wait until the commander arrives to confirm his identity. Then we shoot him.”


So how do they pick these enemies of Israel?  Are there dossiers of their actions against Israel or of their detailed realistic plans for harm?  Or are they merely guilty of having intelligence, spirit and/or leadership qualities?  Is it left up to the judgement of PTSD denying/damaged commanders?  Is it left up to the judgement of commanders who had gone insane while killing women and children in Gaza all the while screaming NEVER AGAIN!?  Israel claims the right to kill their enemies anywhere in the world.  How do they select these targets?

I’m afraid that Agent “D” has the wrong idea of treatment for PTSD.  It can not come from an outside medical intervention such as treatment for hemorrhoids or bacterial infection.  His only route is a deeply personal journey to the depths of choice, responsibility, guilt, and sin.  And what would motivate this journey?  His own misery — which should not be diminished by psychiatric drugs.

However, if a PTSD sufferer is in such straits that he (or she) is afraid to drive across bridges because he may slam on the brakes and jump off the bridge, no matter who is in the car, then he (and his caregiver) has a decision to make of whether to take psychiatric pharmaceuticals of not.  But basically, as far as I’m concerned, what psychiatric drugs do is to give time for “scar tissue of the soul” to form resulting in a lessened, less empathic person — which is not the aim.

The guilt ridden PTSD sufferer (PTSD is not the same as shell shock, but connected to the illegal, immoral wars since and including the Vietnam War and what that does to the war fighters) needs to make a journey of discovery to the truth.  The past is not going to change, his superiors are not going to change, the change will be in him.  He needs to mourn for failure, where he failed, to mourn for weakness, where he was weak, for impotence, where he was impotent (to affect events).  This last also explains the PTSD of reporters and onsite diplomats.  Those who witness crimes are also crime victims having been exposed to the betrayal of humanness, of the promise of humanity.

The PTSD sufferer will never go back to his previous life, that world is gone, but he will again be able to stride forward into the future with confidence and anticipation.  The sad, troubling memories will indeed visit him for time to time but will no longer own him or keep him in thrall.

Does he need a therapist or “treatment” (which is totally the wrong word)?  Yes and no.  A “soul witness” therapist, who understands the task is to witness the PTSD sufferer’s own journey, would be very helpful.  But a therapist who has no idea what that is would be worthless, actually worse than worthless.

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