ANTIQUATED BELIEFS FROM THE MILITARY
America loves her troops. We even tend to gloss over a lot of the worse elements of our armed forces. I learned a lot of bad habits during my early years of serving in the Marines (joined at 18, left at 22).
- •Women are sex objects.Misogyny is rampant in the combat jobs of the military. That's mostly a function of cramming a bunch of 18 to 25 year olds together. But those attitudes are tolerated, even encouraged, by many leaders.
- •Combat is man's highest calling.This is a hold over from earlier eras when war offered many opportunities for individual heroism. While that's still true, the industrial scale carnage of modern war has more than erased any benefits.
- •Leaders must sacrifice their family.Folks in the military often have weak marriages that don't survive. That's natural when you are gone all the time as a matter of course. Spouses are expected to bear horrible burdens for years at a time. That's unsustainable.
- •Get lots of tattoosI was the first person in my family to get a tattoo. Now I have over a dozen. Tattoos are more acceptable now, but I still regret several of them for other reasons.
- •Hide your painIn combat you need to compartmentalize. But we never learn when to go back and "make peace" with those traumatic experiences. There are a lot of scarred men out there who don't even realize it.
- •Seniority is everythingThe military promotes on a specific schedule. There is a time and a place for advancement. Don't rock the boat. These passive attitudes are not suited to the 21st century world.