‘Toxic Masculinity’ Isn’t the Marines’ Biggest Problem, But It Makes a Good Headline

It’s easy for a Vox reporter to open his contacts and ring up James Joyner to get a nice quote about “toxic masculinity” in the Marine Corps.

It makes a great headline, but it’s not the root of the problem fueling online sex photo scandals in the Corps.

James is an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College at Marine Corps University, when he’s not plugging his Outside The Beltway blog. James served in the U.S. Army with distinction. The Army is two things the Marines are not: (1) much more sexually integrated, and (2) much larger and diverse.

A better source might be Secretary of Defense James Mattis, a Marine. Vox linked to these remarks, but they don’t make a good headline.

Lack of respect for the dignity and humanity of fellow members of the Department of Defense is unacceptable and counter to unit cohesion. We will not excuse or tolerate such behavior if we are to uphold our values and maintain our ability to defeat the enemy on the battlefield.

Mattis questioned the role of women serving in combat roles, as did Gen. Joseph Dunford (now Chairman of the Joint Chiefs). But women in combat roles is not the root of the problem either, although it could be a minor distraction on the battlefield.

The issue is one of moral fiber, which Mattis hit right on the head. Calling this “boys will be boys” is just a mask for the enormous problems within all our military branches of porn addiction, a eviction of God from curriculum and daily operations, and long deployments with insufficient leave and time for families.

Before 2001, the military divorce rate was significantly lower than the civilian rate, but the continued wars have spiked that rate–though recently it has begun to decline again. It’s still higher than the civilian divorce rate.

The divorce rate last year declined among all male troops, both officer and enlisted, and among most female troops. It marked a slight uptick among female Marines.

The Marines are the most cohesive and least diverse of all the military branches. Introducing women into their ranks has been a very large change. But a bigger change has been the steady decline of morality and the exclusion of Godly values in our culture, especially among young men. That and the instant-gratification of online pornography have taken their toll.

Perhaps the quote “toxic masculinity” might also–and better–apply to another branch of our government plagued by its own scandals (and may I add at a might higher rate than the military, considering the relative size of the organizations). If we want to look for toxicity, we should look no further than Congress, which has produced the likes of Anthony Weiner.

Keep the Marines masculine (it helps in war). But let’s look to Mattis and Dunford for leadership here. But that doesn’t make for good headlines.

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