General James Amos, the 35th commandant of the Marine Corps, will come to the end of his term of office this week. Marines, as a matter of custom and temperament, are well known for revering their commandant. Difficult questions of doctrine or procedure within the Corps may be settled by asserting, without a shred of irony, that “the commandant wants it this way.” Famously the most disciplined of the services, this respectful and admiring deference for the leader is part of what it has traditionally meant to be a Marine.
Which makes it all the more strange that Jim Amos is so widely—and, on social media, openly—disliked by Marines.
Over the weekend there was a new outbreak of criticism about the man, inspired by an 80-page report prepared by a critic of the commandant, a former Marine and lawyer named Lee Thweatt.
The Marine Corps Times has the story:
The military’s role in Iraq has been much in the news over the last 24 hours. The Obama administration’s confusion and ambivalence over whether or not the current bombing and advising in Iraq and Syria actually constitutes a war (I’ll bet the pilots dropping bombs on people think it does) apparently extends to the Pentagon. As the Hill reported:
The Marine Corps’ professional organization hosts an essay competition every year called the Chase Prize. Entrants are encouraged to “challenge conventional wisdom” and to be “bold.” Every few years a winner might get a bit closer to this goal than the norm, but typically—as with professionals everywhere—Marines tend to be cautious when challenging their superiors’ policies in a public forum. Whatever effects the Chase Prize has had over the years, generating genuine and widely-discussed controversy has not been one of them, at least in recent memory.
This year’s winner has proven to be an exception to the rule. Captain Lauren Serrano’s submission was entitled ‘Why Women Do Not Belong in the U.S. Infantry.’ It has generated a fair amount of criticism, both from within and outside of the Corps. Why? Here is Captain Serrano’s thesis: “Although perhaps advantageous to individuals and the national movement for complete gender equality, incorporating women into infantry units is not in the best interest of the Marine Corps or U.S. national security.”
Marine Corps veterans tired of seeing fellow Marine Andrew Tahmooressi stuck in Mexican prison are traveling nearly 300 miles by foot to Washington, D.C., to tell President Obama to do whatever he has to do to get Mexico “to turn our Marine loose.”
Marine Corps veteran Terry Sharpe is 63 years old and began walking the 287 miles from his home in Summerfield, North Carolina, to Washington, D.C., two weeks ago to raise awareness about Tahmooressi, who has been locked away in a Mexican prison since March.