Does locker room talk matter?

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You’d think that General Stanley McChrystal just crossed the Rubicon. When Julius Caesar took his legions across the river which marked a sacred boundary set by the Senate, he sounded the death knell of the Roman Republic.

Several people, including many very high ranking officials in the military, including Admiral Mullen, as well as civilian leaders such as Robert Gates concluded that the  Rolling Stone article displayed a threat to civilian control of the military.

Honestly, I find it hard to believe that Admiral Mullen hasn’t heard similar talk about civilian leadership from military men before. All it really is is venting. It’s well documented that US military personnel will bitch and complain about everything and then get on with being the best fighting force in the world. What thing of material value threatened civilian control?

If people only knew the things that are said in locker rooms. At the police department I worked at, some of the talk would have had lawyers lining up. But 99% of the cops went out and did their jobs honestly. It was masculine joking. The reaction to the article is exactly why military types don’t trust the media and politicians: They’re credulous, without humor and thin-skinned. Everything you can’t be and succeed in the military.

What I’m afraid of is that the reaction to this article will deter military officers from voicing disagreement. The more I think about the article, the more I realize the motives of Hastings. The very title of the article talks about “wimps in the Whitehouse”. That term is never used by anyone in the article’s body. The most scornful word–clown–is reserved for a former US Marine General, Jim Jones. If people think that the nickname, “bite me” given to VP Biden is a terrible thing, they’d be in for a shock if they heard all of the other stuff. And yet, Soldiers still go and risk their lives because that’s their duty.

The only thing I can say, is that locker room talk is best reserved for the locker room, not for journalists from left-wing magazines.


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