Edmonds Military Wire: When political correctness is politically incorrect

Michael Schindler
Michael Schindler

Honor, Courage, and Commitment; these three words were engrained into my DNA when I served our country and to this day these three words are still sacred. Those who serve as Navy SEALs, of whom I wasn’t, are the living, breathing example of the true meaning and high value that defines these words – and when SEALs are accused of a crime – one better have the facts correct.

“Honor and Betrayal” by Patrick Robinson, coauthor of the #1 New York Times bestseller “Lone Survivor,” is the untold story of three Navy SEALs who captured the “Butcher of Fallujah” and then were brought up on charges of “detainee abuse” – on the word of the detainee and a young sailor who was doing a bit of CYA.

It is one of the best, if not also one of the most troubling, books I’ve read in years – and I highly recommend “Honor and Betrayal.”

If you don’t recall the “Butcher of Fallujah,” he was the terrorist who was responsible for burning and dragging four contractors through Fallujah and then hanging their bodies from a bridge. He was also responsible for countless deaths of innocent Iraqis and was notorious for killing family members of those who would even have a thought of exposing his whereabouts – as a result, he was a “ghost” for more than five years after the Fallujah incident.

Until SEAL Team 10 found his lair. And brought him in, untouched.

And then political correctness went incredibly wrong. The book mentions that President Obama made it clear that the United States “would not shrink from its obligations to act with fairness and justice for all, no matter the nationality or circumstances.” Excessive force would not be tolerated, “and those guilty of unreasonable force against a captured detainee would be brought to task.” And rightfully so.

Unfortunately, this often meant that the mere mention of abuse, whether true or not, especially after Abu Ghraib, would cause leadership to manage perception, not seek truth – and take the word of a terrorist over the word of three SEALs with impeccable military records.

As the book points out, “it would not be unfair to mention that some people thought President Obama was somewhat obsessed with detainees’ rights.”

The book is not out to make a political judgment as it to highlight how political correctness can – and often does – go amuck. It also brought to light that those who are on the front lines doing what is necessary to keep the rest of us safe could very well be “forced to hire expensive lawyers if they were expected to fight an enemy.”

Bottom line: “Honor and Betrayal” exposes the darker side of political correctness in the 21st century and the lives and careers it can destroy despite the truth.

— By Michael Schindler

Michael Schindler, Navy veteran, and president of Edmonds-based Operation Military Family, is a guest writer for several national publications, author of the book “Operation Military Family” and “The Military Wire” blog. He is also a popular keynote and workshop speaker who reaches thousands of service members and their families every year through workshops and seminars that include “How to Battle-Ready Your Relationship” or “What Your Mother-in-Law Didn’t Tell You.” He received the 2010 Outstanding Patriotic Service Award from the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs.

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