At least since the beginnings of the Vietnam War, in which I fought, the upper ranks of the U.S. military have suffered from professionalism being replaced by careerism and real moral integrity overtaken by the need for superficial virtue signaling. For some leaders, each potentially embarrassing, career-threatening event must be blamed on some politically weaker subordinate. These same leaders resent if not feel threatened by the special operators who are called upon to perform the military’s most challenging and unpleasant tasks.
War brings out the best and, unfortunately, the worst in those of us asked to fight it. This reality does not forgive inappropriate behavior, but judgment of such behavior should be weighed against the environment in which it occurs. Our commander in chief, who has ultimate authority over our armed forces, recognized this and did the right thing.
He may be resented by many for his action, but to those of us who have found ourselves in similar harm’s way, Commander in Chief President Donald Trump has our deepest gratitude.
Robert S. Stevens, Seattle, U.S. Army Special Forces, retired