Navy Unmoored by Latest SEAL Scandals

Navy Unmoored by Latest SEAL Scandals

August 02, 2019

For most soldiers, the memo that they're getting shipped home is good news. But for a platoon of Navy SEALs in Iraq, the departure was nothing to celebrate. The order came after "a deterioration of good order and discipline" -- and unfortunately, Rear Admiral Collin Green says, this scandal isn't the first.

"We have a problem," the U.S. commander of all SEAL teams wrote. That's an understatement, members of the military are now saying. After a series of controversies -- from heavy drinking and sexual abuse to cocaine -- top brass are sounding the alarm that these elite warriors are in desperate need of a wake-up call. "I don't know yet if we have a culture problem, I do know that we have a good order and discipline problem that must be addressed immediately. Good order and discipline [are] the foundation for every military organization and it is a leadership responsibility." As Commander, I own it. As Commodores, you also own it."

Another person who deserves to own it isn't around. But after almost a decade of social experimentation in the military, Barack Obama is just as to blame for the decline of troop culture as anyone. From the minute he was elected, the 44th president set to work tearing down the moral standards that have kept our force focused and disciplined for more than 200 years. The fact that our troops can't get their ethical bearings is a reflection of two terms of liberal leadership at the highest levels.

When Obama shoved faith, pride, and country to the background, it was only a matter of time before mission readiness and discipline collapsed too. Watching the SEALs crumble, one of the world's most elite warrior classes, is more evidence that we're finally reaping what the years of Obama extremism have sown. Vice Admiral Michael Gidlay, picked to head up Naval Operations, told the Senate during his confirmation hearing on Wednesday that these fundamental values have to be restored -- and soon. "It's especially important in combat," he insisted, since as Special Operations Command Chief Master Sgt. Greg Smith pointed out, "these ethical breaches affect the entire command... and the credibility of our entire force."

But just as it took time for Obama's radicalism to take root, the Trump administration will need patience repairing the damage. What motivates the military, especially these top platoons, has to come from within. They have to have the moral restraint and commitment to carry out their jobs -- or the entire country will pay. Fortunately, this commander-in chief has taken the opposite course -- welcoming freedom and religion and the morality that flows from both. The simple fact that his commanders felt free to sound this alarm -- without fear or political correctness holding them back -- is a sign that the military is at least on the right road.

For three years, President Trump has been trying to restore the proud military tradition that existed before Barack Obama. We continue to be grateful that he had the backbone to roll back the gender confusion the last administration tried to inject into the military in 2016. But on some issues -- like this one -- it's tough to put the genie back in the bottle. Thank goodness he has leaders who are willing to try.

** The Washington Update is taking its own August recess -- but we'll make sure you stay informed and up-to-date with our Action Alerts! You can also keep up with what's happening by tuning into "Washington Watch" Monday through Friday at 5:05 p.m. (ET) and by downloading FRC's Stand Firm App. The daily Update will return in September. **

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