Shortly after Smith-Jones' commissioning, the entire First Division, U.S. Amphibious Corps, relocated to 29 Palms. For years, hungry environmentalists and real estate developers had cast their eyes on Camp Pendleton because of its pristine location along miles of Southern California's beautiful beaches. This ad hoc group finally won the day, when it convinced the federal government to declare the base a sanctuary for an endangered species, Canus latrans A.K.A. the Coyote.
Company Commander Smith-Jones was met at the company command post by an anxious-looking executive officer. "Big Trouble at the Enlisted-Persons Social Center (formerly, the "Enlisted Men's Club" and then the "Enlisted Persons' Club") last night, sir. Four of our gay Amphibians were dancing together at the club, and a gang of straight Amphibians jumped them on the way back to the dormitory. The injured gay Amphibians are in the hospital. Battalion and regiment are aware of the incident, and the word is that Battalion Six is furious."
"So, tell me some good news for a change."
"I don't have any, Company Commander. I've had to cancel our company training exercise planned for today, because we simply didn't have enough troops."
"What? Out of a company of more than 200 Amphibians?"
"First, division levied a quota of one platoon to work at the homeless shelter in town; I gave that assignment to first platoon. Then, the division EAO (Ethnic-Awareness Officer) notified the duty officer last night that the second platoon's EAT (Ethic-Awareness Test) scores had fallen below the division's benchmark. So, an emergency contact team is on its way over, and the second platoon will spend its day in the battalion classroom undergoing remedial EAT instruction."
"The same fate befell the third platoon, because its SAT (Sexual Awareness Test) scores had plummeted sharply. Another emergency contact team is on its way out, and I reserved the regimental classroom for SAT instruction, which should use up the entire day. The third platoon will participate in a reading and discussion of the book, 'Heather Has Two Mommies'. Then, they will see the movie, 'The Gunny has a Boyfriend'."
"So, what happened to the weapons platoon and headquarters section?"
"Sir, between the two of them, I can't muster a squad. As you may recall, we were required to stop discharging men and women who were HIV-positive and merely to segregate them. We put all of them in the machine gun section, but today is a compulsory instruction on safe sex for all HIV-positive Amphibians. I had no choice but to cancel the machine gun-firing exercise. The headquarters section is also down to almost zero effectives as well, sir. The Okinawan-spouses, Somali-spouses, Panamanian-spouses, Haitian-spouses, Albanian-spouses, and Kosovar-spouses clubs are meeting at mainside with their Amphibian-spouses, and attendance is mandatory. The remainder of the section is meeting with their attorneys with regard to a host of legal problems and class-action suits."
"What about the rest of the week?"
"Sir, the physical fitness test for tomorrow has been canceled because the attorney for the women-Amphibians has obtained a ruling from a federal judge that the test is discriminatory in that it requires the women to achieve the same scores as the men. And, after the other rulings, I thought it best to just cancel the personnel inspection scheduled for Friday."
"Why no traditional weapon and personnel inspection? Aren't we a company of Amphibians?"
"Well, sir, if we had such a formation at all, you would be dismayed to see more than a dozen of the troops in strange uniforms. The American Civil Liberties Union won its suit challenging our traditional dress and grooming standards. So, we have Amphibians walking barefoot, because they charged that because their ancestors did, they should be allowed to demonstrate their ethnicity. Then, a group of our women challenged the traditional requirement that lipstick and nail polish match the color of the red cap cord on the barracks cover. So, a federal judge has ruled that in order to comply, any color of cap cord may suffice just as long as it matches the color of the lipstick or nail polish. Chartreuse or purple cap cords appear really strange on the uniform. Another of the women has challenged the requirement to wear a skirt, because it is a sexist costume, so all women will wear slacks until further notice. You also have Amphibians wearing ethnic-distinguishing headgear and jewelry. And, there is more, but that's all I can remember for the moment. The point is that any attempt to hold a traditional weapons and personnel inspection will come off as a bad joke. Besides, you won't want to hear about the lifting of the ban against earrings and nose rings."
"Oh, sir, don't forget that you have office hours scheduled for this evening after chow. A group of gay Amphibians are requesting that, since they are married, they be granted a housing allowance and permission to live off base. When our single heterosexual Amphibians heard of this request, some of them demanded the right to draw a quarters allowance and to move off base as well. A civilian lawyer is representing them, and he is prepared to charge discrimination if you deny the request."
"Then, if all of these problems aren't enough to shoulder, I have a personal situation that is vexing. Yesterday was the anniversary of my marriage agreement with Samantha. My lifemate and I decided to have dinner at the all-ranks club at Mainside. I guess that I forgot where we were, because I ordered a split of champagne. A RAAM (Roving Alcohol Abuse Monitor) took my name. So, division is cutting orders to send me to month-long alcohol detoxification treatment, followed by an alcohol abuse course."
"Thank you, Jane, for staying on top of the situation. I'm sorry to learn that you were apprehended by a RAAM. The situation reminds of my father's tales of the 1990's, when commanding officers counted the number of drinks or beers an officer consumed at unit social functions."
Company Commander Smith-Jones shook his head and wondered, not for the first time, why he had opted to remain in uniform after receiving his regular commission following a successful trial period of five years as an officer.
This wasn't what grandfather and father had spoken about. Where was the esprit de corps, that comradeship, that feeling of belonging? His grandfather had served as a Marine Corps officer in Vietnam after graduating from the Military Academy; his father took a commission in the smaller of the naval services after matriculating from the Naval Academy. Nothing either of them described resembled what Company Commander Smith-Jones experienced on a daily basis.
"Sir, battalion telephoned. The Six wants you at 1300 sharp. I'm guessing it is about the ruckus outside the EM Club last night."
"Company Commander Smith-Jones reporting as ordered, battalion commander."
"The incident outside the EM Club is just another problem in a long list, suggesting that you aren't in tune with the program. I've noted with some concern your declining EAT and SAT scores."
"But, battalion commander, what about our record-setting rifle, PFT, and crew-served weapons scores? Reenlistment rates for my company are the highest in the regiment."
"Those factors are inconsequential, company commander. Your continuing unresponsiveness to the problems of gender and ethnicity continue to cause me grave concern. I have no choice but to relieve you of your command. Division will cut orders sending you to the six-month SACA (sexual-and-cultural-awareness) refresher course. I'm confident that you will shape up as a result of TDY to SACA, ex-company commander Smith-Jones. If you don't, then your career in the U.S. Amphibious Corps is over."
"I'm sorry that I've disappointed you, ma'am."
"Now that's just what I mean. You know that you are never to use that sexist appellation when addressing me. You men are all alike. I am sorry, but I am afraid that you have forced me to make a negative entry in your mandatory weekly fitness evaluation concerning this lack of respect."
The story you just read has not happened yet, however, if you look at what is going on in America, we are on the way. Even as we speak, Attorney General Eric Holder is devising policy changes that require captured prisoners to be Mirandized. Members of Congress have broached the subject several times since 2004. If left to the Liberal members of Congress, one day, Fifth Amendment rights will apply to these combatants. What prevents any of these prisoners from receiving a bail hearing and released on their own recognizance? You think that sound absurd, but it is now in effect. Who ever thought of Mirandizing German soldiers captured on the battlefield during World War II?
This entire policy pertaining to the rights of enemy combatants not in uniform demands addressing certain questions, which are not limited to the following. Are members of the squad that capture these combatants going to have to file reports? Will each squad have a designated translator to inform each captured individual of his or her rights? Will a legal officer be assigned to every squad to ensure that the squad responds to a threat in a manner that protects the enemy's Constitutional Rights and to answer questions and make judgments as to whether it is legal to attack an enemy under certain battlefield conditions? Will Soldiers and Marines have to check with a JAG officer before they fix bayonets or call in an air strike? If you think this sounds absurd, just read this report by the Wall Street Journal, because this is exactly what is happening right now.
Just when you thought it could not get any worse, we have this addition to calendar. June is now Gay Pride Month officially designated by President Obama. How far off is the above story you just read?