Earlier this summer the Marine Corps relieved its best battalion commander, Lt. Col. Marcus Mainz, because in speaking to his Marines he used a politically incorrect word. Far from being an isolated incident, this militarily idiotic act – gifted trainers and combat leaders are any military service’s most precious and most rare assets – reflects a general moral cowardice in the face of political correctness on the part of senior American officers. That, in turn, feeds the unfortunate reality that throughout our armed services, including the Marine Corps, preparing for war is the lowest priority. For more discussion of the Mainz Affair see my column at The American Conservative.
The Marine Corps’ leadership undoubtedly hopes the Mainz Affair will go away if they ignore their blunder long enough. I don’t think that will happen. Internally, Lt. Col. Mainz deservedly had a large following among Marines of all ranks who take preparing for war seriously. They are not taking his relief with silent resignation. I have never seen such push-back from junior and field-grade officers against a decision by Headquarters Marine Corps.
Externally, the obvious injustice of his relief (which ends his career) and the fact that President Donald Trump won his office by defying the great clay god, political correctness, not groveling to it, suggest the Mainz Affair has a ways to run. I would not be surprised if either the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), the White House, or both got involved, and Capital Hill may also join in. Not everyone in Washington is a coward in the face of cultural Marxism.
So what should be done? A just resolution of the Mainz Affair requires three actions:
- Give Lt. Col. Mainz his battalion back, with additional command time added to make up for that which he lost.
- Identify every officer above Lt. Col. Mainz who proposed or concurred in his relief and relieve them all simultaneously. The Russians call this “the vertical stroke” and it gets a bureaucracy’s attention. It is important to go all the way to the top – if necessary, up through the Commandant. It is hard to believe he did not have to approve Lt. Col. Mainz’s relief.
- Headquarters Marine Corps should issue a statement that the Marine Corps does not attempt to dictate the personal political views of individual Marines. Like any other American citizens, they retain the freedom to make up their minds on political questions. Those include questions about race, gender, and sexual politics. A Marine, or any other federal employee, is free to adopt or reject any ideology (conservatives reject them all).
These actions would resolve the Mainz Affair. But while they would send some powerful signals on the larger question, they would not be sufficient to resolve it. That larger question is, how does the Marine Corps (and our other services, who suffer from the same problem) make preparing for war its top priority instead of the lowest?
The single most effective action would be to mandate that, say, 60% of all training time must be devoted to free-play exercises, exercises where a serious opponent is allowed to do whatever he can to win. That means the T&R Manual, which now eats up all the training time and reduces all training to rote procedures and techniques, is restricted to 40% of total training time. This action would be fully consistent with Marine Corps doctrine (though at present few Marines ever see any).
Once this is all done, training time should be increased by reducing the time devoted to “sexual harassment awareness”, “alcohol awareness” (I’ve usually found Marines aware of alcohol), and the rest of such crap better suited to a finishing school than to a military service. In addition, “dog and pony shows” should be replaced with genuine military exercises where the opponent is large enough to be a serious challenger and is unrestrained.
This effort at training reform should be headed by a Marine who has demonstrated creativity in training his own unit and a willingness to cut “the faggot stuff” to make training for war the top priority. After he completes his tour as a battalion commander, I nominate Lt. Col. Marcus Mainz.
Interested in what Fourth Generation war in America might look like? Read Thomas Hobbes’ new future history, Victoria.