Hey, we do the hazing ’round here

A young acquaintance of mine in the Marines just got busted down a rank, forfeited pay, and got punished in several other ways for suggesting, perhaps drunkenly, to a subordinate that he beat up one of his subordinates as a way of initiating him into a group. The Marines say that this was “hazing,” which is against the rules, and therefore dishonorable.

Of course, the Marines, and in fact all the branches of the armed forces, are not against hazing per se, at all. Rather, they just want to make sure that all the hazing is official and approved. They call it “boot camp.”

Ask anyone in the military what they went through at boot camp, and ask yourself, if a college Fraternity did the same thing to them, would it be considered “hazing?”

The Marines gave this young man a model of hazing when he first joined, and now they’re surprised he copied it.

On the upside, he was going to re-up his commission soon, and there is now “no way in hell” he’s doing that.

28 thoughts on “Hey, we do the hazing ’round here”

  1. Let’s assume they’re surprised, or at least pretending to be.

    And employers, while making the rules, can still be hypocritical. For example, my employer could have a policy of not accepting entertainment favors from suppliers while at the same time spending lavish amounts entertaining its customers’ buyers. It has the right to do so, of course, but it’s still valid to criticise the double standard.

  2. I don’t think this is hypocrisy. I don’t think they think hazing is wrong at all, only that in the Marines all hazing needs to be in service to the organization and managed from the top down.

    It’s not hypocrisy for an organization to say that some actions are only permitted when authorized from the top.

  3. Yes, but when it’s done from the top down they don’t call it hazing, because they either don’t believe or won’t admit that it is.

    It was made abundantly clear to this young man that hazing was against the honor code, not just freelance hazing.

  4. strategic air command is not like that. “peace through niceness.”

    when the time comes to pop new lungs out of the molds at trw it is a happy time! the new lungs are soft and rubbery and warm and they make little squeaking noises. the engineers give them donuts and then they run to dean woolridge and he gives them donuts and they start flying around! lung is happy to see more lungs!

    lung is a righteous lung! her great and terrible day approaches!

  5. Your friend wasn’t drafted into the Marines, he volunteered. Boot camp isn’t exactly a secret and your drunken friend had to know what he was advocating was both wrong and a violation of the UCMJ. It’s refreshing to see the jarheads do something right for a change.

    Your phrase “reup his commission” is nonsensical. Your friend is obviously an enlisted man and doesn’t have a commission. If you meant he isn’t going to reenlist when his term of service is finished then that’s swell. The USMC already has enough drunks and disciplinary problems.

  6. Yes, re-enlist is the correct term. I have not ever been in the military, so when he use the word re-up in an email I filled in the word commission myself.

    The fact that he volunteered is irrelevant to what does and does not constitute hazing. Frat boys volunteer, too. In fact, I won’t even go so far as to say hazing is “wrong” or that boot camp is a violation of someone’s rights.

    Anyhow, I’ve made no effort to paint this person as the aggrieved party, or defend his actions in any way. What he did was certainly dumb, and wrong, and he’s paying for it in a way that I don’t find at all inappropriate.

  7. When I was on active duty as a platoon leader and company commander, I disobeyed illegal orders all the time. Other than threats and loud noises from my superiors (the same reactions civilian employers gave when I refused to carry out their illegal instructions), nothing ever happened to me. But go ahead and blindly denigrate the military, you’ll never lack an audience of cud-chewers.

  8. Kindly identify any business or other civilian organization that doesn’t “favor obedience” of its rules. Just one will suffice.

    While the military doesn’t emphasize it enough, service members (all volunteers) are only required to obey lawful commands. Most illegal orders in the military come from amoral officers striving to CYA or make points with their superiors in order to enhance the most important thing in their lives: their careers. Most illegal instructions in the private sector come from the same desire plus to make greater profit.

    The whole point of the original post was to make yet another jab at the US Armed Forces by, predictably, a person who’d never served. If you really want some targets deserving of contempt then I invite your attention to: BATFE, DOJ, IRS, DHS, Congress, Republicans, Democrats, the pusillanimous NRA, and an ignorant, apathetic electorate.

  9. I don’t think I’ve taken any jabs at the military before.

    But hey, look, another guy taking jabs at this blog, who, predictably, has never blogged here. If you really want some targets deserving of contempt then I invite your attention to: democraticunderground.com.

  10. Attacking the US Armed Forces is a routine event on this blog. This is what’s known as objective reality. You’re just the latest jabber. Not being a masochist, I’ll pass on your suggestion to visit DU. I have enough problems dealing with forums that profess to believe in liberty while being comprised mostly of pro-government extremists, LEO sycophants, and other apologists for tyranny. Does this blog have some rule which required me to make a certain number of posts before responding to yours? That’s what I thought.

    “Ominous silence”? So much for the efficacy of the USAF’s drug testing program. If lung is a member of the military then lung should be aware the Strategic Air Command ceased to exist in 1992.

  11. “Does this blog have some rule which required me to make a certain number of posts before responding to yours? That’s what I thought.”

    Exactly. There is no reason that I should have to join the military in order to be qualified to criticize it. I relayed an anecdote, given directly to me by the person involved, and pointed out a mental disconnect.

    Now, you could refute my point, if you wanted. Just tell me (a) that the Marine Corps’ Code of Conduct (or whatever it is called) does not ban “hazing”, or (b) that boot camp, which I’ve never been to but have received firsthand accounts of, does not meet the definition of hazing:

    1. To persecute or harass with meaningless, difficult, or humiliating tasks.
    2. To initiate, as into a college fraternity, by exacting humiliating performances from or playing rough practical jokes upon.

  12. No, you don’t have to be a veteran or on active duty in order to criticize the military. “In order to be qualified to criticize it,” however, one should exhibit a knowledge of the subject which wouldn’t embarrass a reasonably bright child. I recognized the difference between commissioned officers and enlisted men and that “whatever it is called” is the Uniform Code of Military Justice when I was in elementary school. I presume you’re an adult, but that may be a misconception on my part.

    As far as refuting your point, your chum advocated another Marine physically attack and beat a subordinate for no good reason. I don’t see encouraging a person to commit a violent crime as falling within your definition of “hazing.” As uncomfortable as I am saying anything positive about jarheads, I’m confident USMC boot camp doesn’t include wanton beatings of recruits by drill instructors. Then there’s also the small matter of the purpose behind your original post, which certainly appeared to be nothing other than an uninformed, thoughtless jab at the US Armed Forces. With all the valid criticisms possible of the military, it’s sad you couldn’t do any better than this petty attempt.

  13. “I recognized the difference between commissioned officers and enlisted men and that “whatever it is called” is the Uniform Code of Military Justice when I was in elementary school.”

    Apparently a failing on my part. I moved to this country in elementary school, had no relatives in the military, and absolutely no interest in things military other than a passing knowlege of fighter jets through high school. I knew that officers went through a different process than enlisted men, of course, and had heard of the UCMJ, but this stuff is all jargon, and doesn’t change any of the facts.

    As far as refuting your point, your chum advocated another Marine physically attack and beat a subordinate for no good reason. I don’t see encouraging a person to commit a violent crime as falling within your definition of “hazing.”

    Strange, then, that his superiors described it using that exact word.

    Anyhow, I looked it up and they get around this by redefining hazing. From Article 92 of the UCMJ:

    a. Hazing is defined as any conduct whereby a military member or members, regardless of service or rank, without proper authority causes another military member or members, regardless of service or rank, to suffer or be exposed to any activity which is cruel, abusive, humiliating, oppressive, demeaning, or harmful. Soliciting or coercing another to perpetrate any such activity is also considered hazing. Hazing need not involve physical contact among or between military members; it can be verbal or psychological in nature. Actual or implied consent to acts of hazing does not eliminate the culpability of the perpetrator.

    b. Hazing can include, but is not limited to, the following: playing abusive or ridiculous tricks; threatening or offering violence or bodily harm to another; striking; branding; taping; tattooing; shaving; greasing; painting; requiring
    excessive physical exercise beyond what is required to meet standards; “pinning”; “tacking on”; “blood wings”; or forcing or requiring the consumption of food, alcohol, drugs, or any other substance.

    c. Hazing does not include command-authorized or operational activities; the requisite training to prepare for such missions or operations; administrative corrective measures; extra military instruction; athletics events, command-authorized physical training, contests or competitions and other similar activities that are authorized by the chain of command.

    Emphasis mine. Beautiful.

  14. Kindly identify any business or other civilian organization that doesn’t “favor obedience” of its rules. Just one will suffice.

    Can’t think of any. Now what?

    The whole point of the original post was to make yet another jab at the US Armed Forces by, predictably, a person who’d never served. If you really want some targets deserving of contempt then I invite your attention to…

    Seems to me that Stedman isn’t required to submit his posts to you so that you can check for sacred cows prior to publishing.

    “In order to be qualified to criticize it,” however, one should exhibit a knowledge of the subject which wouldn’t embarrass a reasonably bright child.

    Is Stedman’s lack of knowledge hampering his criticism of the situation here? His argument doesn’t gain or lose much of anything if you go and mentally correct his typos.

  15. When I was a child, I was aware of the UCMJ, could quote from memory the USMC’s 13 General Orders forwards and backwards, describe each Army unit designation from fire team to Army field group, and identify every tank used in World War II. I also learned how to sing “The Christmas Tree” in German. So what? Do you have a hard time believing a reasonably bright child could know the differences between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists and have a better grasp of the U.S. Constitution than that exhibited by most modern judges?

    You’re the person who asserted the military “favored obedience” when the same is true of all organizations. That’s “what”.

    No one suggested Stedman was required to submit his posts for review prior to publishing them. But if you think no one should be allowed to respond to his remarks then dream on. Do you have any more strawman arguments?

    What his argument loses is any semblance of credibility when he attempts to compare a person advocating a wanton physical attack and beating of a subordinate (which is the act of a criminal encouraging another person to commit a violent crime) when nothing of the sort is perpetrated in boot camp.

  16. Do you have a hard time believing a reasonably bright child could know the differences between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists and have a better grasp of the U.S. Constitution than that exhibited by most modern judges?

    Not really, most children (especially bright ones) have a good grasp of fanciful nonsense.

    And that in fact is what the US Constitution is.

    You’re the person who asserted the military “favored obedience” when the same is true of all organizations. That’s “what”.

    And I’ve never denied or evaded the matter. So what’s your point?

    No one suggested Stedman was required to submit his posts for review prior to publishing them. But if you think no one should be allowed to respond to his remarks then dream on. Do you have any more strawman arguments?

    You took umbrage to Stedman’s post and suggested that he find other, more deserving targets and that he wasn’t qualified to talk about the matter besides. Implication: that he ought to shut up, at least until he gains a level of knowledge acceptable to you. Not knowing who else might fail your required-knowledge test, I have to assume that you’re the only person qualified to pass judgement on the matter.

    I judge that his lack of knowledge doesn’t add to or take away from his argument as presented and so therefore your objection doesn’t make sense, it must be an emotional reaction rather than an analytical one (in slang terms, a “sacred cow getting kicked”).

    Maybe I’m wrong in my judgement (although now that you’ve switched arguments, that’s less likely), but there isn’t any “strawman” involved.

    What his argument loses is any semblance of credibility when he attempts to compare a person advocating a wanton physical attack and beating of a subordinate (which is the act of a criminal encouraging another person to commit a violent crime) when nothing of the sort is perpetrated in boot camp.

    I thought your claim was that Stedman lacked the required knowledge of the military to criticize it.

  17. John Lopez,

    When I commented on what a reasonably bright child is capable of understanding, I was responding to billy-jay’s post.

    If you believe the U.S. Constitution is “fanciful nonsense” then you’d have a promising career in politics, the judiciary, or law enforcement. With your disdain for the Constitution, you’d fit right in at the BATFE, DOJ or DHS.

    I never remotely suggested Andy Stedman (or anyone else) couldn’t post whatever they liked. It’s always refreshing when folks comment on subjects they actually know something about, but that’s often not the case. Not being a masochist, I’ll pass on futilely responding to your other baseless assertions and assumptions.

  18. So, you were responding to my post by asserting that you knew lots of details about the UCMJ when you were a kid. Well, I can find a whole lot of servicemen who don’t know that much about the UCMJ. Your example is hardly typical. I wouldn’t expect any child, regardless of how bright he or she is, to know anything about the UCMJ. If they do, it’s because they are some kind of military otaku.

    Right after your somewhat odd example, you claim that I (unless you decided to address someone else without clueing in anyone else) “asserted the military “favored obedience” when the same is true of all organizations” when I did no such thing. My post about children and the UCMJ was my first.

  19. If you believe the U.S. Constitution is “fanciful nonsense” then you’d have a promising career in politics, the judiciary, or law enforcement.

    How far do you suppose I’d get in those arenas by saying this? Excerpt:

    The Constitution has no inherent authority or obligation. It has no authority or obligation at all, unless as a contract between man and man. And it does not so much as even purport to be a contract between persons now existing. It purports, at most, to be only a contract between persons living eighty years ago. [This essay was written in 1869.] And it can be supposed to have been a contract then only between persons who had already come to years of discretion, so as to be competent to make reasonable and obligatory contracts. Furthermore, we know, historically, that only a small portion even of the people then existing were consulted on the subject, or asked, or permitted to express either their consent or dissent in any formal manner. Those persons, if any, who did give their consent formally, are all dead now. Most of them have been dead forty, fifty, sixty, or seventy years. and the Constitution, so far as it was their contract, died with them.

  20. Hey Mr. Lopez and Stedman,

    Your in-luck! I was (still am) in the Military and have been court-martialed twice (the second time the charges were dismissed because of an Article 10 (speedy-trial 90 day) rule. Basically the government kept me confined for a long time without charging me (about a month in a half) and didn’t get all the evidence to my lawyers until days before my trial.

    In any event, having extensive experiance and knowledge, with the honor of serving in the military, I feel both compelled and obligated to “stick my nose” in this bussiness of yours.

    1.) Your right about NOT being in the military does not bar critizism. I disagree with the view that you have to be in the military to criticize it. This is nonsense. How ever, experiance coupled with knowledge is very strong, most people would agree that being in the service gives you a better forsight of whats really going on.

    We hear a lot of negative stuff from the TV (that is because the media is liberal). However, take it from someone who actually went “there” I can say its not as bad as the media porports, and we are greatly welcomed by most who feel that our presence is comforting.

    2.) To answer your “hazing question”, HAZING IS DONE WITHOUT AUTHORITY AS DEFINED IN ARTICLE 92. In “Boot Camp” making someone do push-ups, yelling, and marching ARE NOT HAZING BECAUSE:

    IT IS DONE WITH AUTHORITY. And by the way, boot camp is entirely neccessary, I don’t think you can argue with that.

    Having said that, the constitution does not apply entirely to soldiers (as so stated in Admendment V: “EXCEPT in cases of land and naval forces). Military members do not have a “right” of a trial by their peers, instead they are tried by members who outrank (or the same rank) them.

    They do not have the same protections of “free speech” or religious (rabbi’s etc, cannot wear their yamuke in doors while in uniform – not sapossed to anyway, but I’ve seen it).

    The rhodes act (it think that’s what it is called, I don’t know off hand, it’s some kind of act) makes it nerly impossible to sue the military in case of accidental death, etc.

    3.) The UCMJ (besides the obvious articles dealing with insubordination) is very closley patterened after existing federal law. The trial, (dispite many differences in structure) has many simularities, and very few notable differences (there are no hung Juries, you can be found guilty by Majority, doesn’t have to be unaminous, etc).

    In fact, a trial lawyer with no military experiance will have some getting used to, but in time he will come to understand the various simularities in PROCEDURE, the rules of evidence (the same as federal with very minor differences), and Motions/misc paperwork.

    COngree, through law, and Courts, through precednts have ruled that Militry service is a special contract, and military members do not enjoy the same liberties as their civilians. But that’s understandable and neccessay.

    There are many other things I can go on about, but I think I will stop here for today.

    Hope this was helpful, any questions, please feel free to ask.

    J.C.

  21. My Mistake, it is called the Feres Doctrine and later the Tort Act NOT RHODES (a different unrelated act). Anyway, I apoligize for the error.

    For more you can read this article I copied and pasted:

    —————

    BARRED FROM SUING

    Under the Federal Tort Claims Act and a U.S. Supreme Court ruling from 1950, active-duty military personnel are barred from suing the U.S. government for injuries “incident to service,” even if gross negligence was the cause.

    The courts have broadly interpreted that prohibition, called the Feres Doctrine, to apply to virtually any kind of injury related to military service, even if the injury occurred off the job or wasn’t caused by military personnel.

    A court, for instance, tossed out a lawsuit by the widow of a military policeman who was off-duty and off-base when he was killed by a driver who had been drinking at a military club. The court cited the Feres Doctrine.

    The doctrine was named for the 1950 high court decision in Feres v. United States in which a widow of a military man alleged that her husband’s death in a barracks fire was due to government negligence. The court unanimously ruled that the woman had no right to sue under the federal tort law.

    Some judges since then have harshly criticized the doctrine, even calling it unconstitutional, while saying they had no choice but to dismiss lawsuits because of Feres.

    “It screams, it screams, it screams. … It’s not fair,” a Michigan judge said in 2003 when dismissing a lawsuit by the family of a Marine recruit who died during boot camp from meningitis. An internal military investigation criticized the medical care the recruit received, according to published reports.

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