Mabus /mābəs/ noun. Professional politician who regards career preservation as lexically superior to interests of; sound judgement, military lethality, and/or national security.
Not long after the Marine Corps released its findings on long term combat simulations with gender-integrated units, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus grabbed at every straw and went for just about every fallacious argument to be found in a Critical Thinking 101 college textbook. Aside from claiming that pre-existing institutional misogyny resulted in female Marine participants having trouble lifting their rucks over walls, and aside from claiming these 100 women were basically subpar to the phantom stock of vagina-owning death dealers the Marine Corps is keeping in some underground, undisclosed location, during his September 11th NPR interview, this jewel stood out from all others:
“Women got injured a lot or more than men on duty. Men got injured four times as much as women off duty. So, we’ve got these knuckleheads who are, ‘here, hold my beer and watch this,’ . . . So, do we keep men from being in the infantry because they get hurt so much off duty? I don’t think so.”
There is so much to pick apart in that statement, but lets just focus on one issue. Now—let a former beer guzzling, dare devil, first-enlistment knucklehead take the floor.
First, that’s just the demographic; 18 to 22. Whether civilian or military. A frat boy chanting three Greek letters over and over, a young buck on the construction site, or an Army or Marine grunt a year short of his 21st birthday—generally, by and large, share the characteristics our proper leader Mabus scoffs at.
Second, it’s that exact energy that combat leaders since Alexander the Great (and probably before) have harnessed. It is the fiction of all military fictions, unfortunately propagated by recent Hollywood money makers and our societies bizarre addiction to hero worship, that stoic professionals who serve to protect Mom, God, and Apple Butter are one end of the spectrum, while the other is populated by hordes of mouth-breathing—well, beer-guzzling knuckleheads. Anyone who ever worked in ground combat units will attest, all of those colorful attributes are generally wrapped up into the same guy. It is the wild child who caused the libo incident out in town that also earns the Silver Star and defies death to save his friends and put a round in an enemy’s forehead. It is this energy Mabus criticizes that provides the impetus to storm the infested beaches, kick in the door, or siege the pill box rattling out automatic gunfire.
Mabus’ blatant disregard for objective evidence and the blistering exposure of his own pre-existing beliefs makes his accusations of dudely Marine bias smack of high irony.
Keeping a finger on the pulse of this highly debated issue, I see a lot of “well maybe the military just needs a better [that’s Hipster for “Professional”] crop of males.” This usually originates from women who never served, or men who never served and spilled their mocha foo foo latte; taking to social media to vent their sad rage.
Well, as a man now nearing his mid-30s who got out and pursued higher education—looking back on the risks with a clearer head and an unfortunate lowered testosterone level—I can assure you it was, and always will be, the 18 to 22 age group populating the most miserable, most tested, and most crucial billets that gain the ground, attack the enemy like an ant pile on acid, and ultimately fill the lion’s share of the flag-draped coffins. Some military psychologists call it “childlike invulnerability,” a perception that is nurtured to ensure young warriors do what so many won’t, and can’t.
We can all thank those knuckleheads, so can Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus.