April 27, 2013

Citizen or SEAL, an Either/Or Question for Active Duty Troops?

Ranger Up! published a fascinating article yesterday about Carlton Higbie, a SEAL who published a book which he hoped would address some of the issues and problems he saw in the military and in America as a whole.  His efforts caught the attention of his chain of command and of course he felt some retaliation.  What happened to Higbie is unacceptable and wrong, but he and others in his shoes are also naive about the institutions that they work for when they go public. 

The last thing the government wants is its own employees putting out unauthorized narratives.  Those who do so have to understand that they are burning bridges and that they will have to face the consequences.  This is simply the nature of organizations; the bureaucracy will go to great lengths to protect itself and the individuals within will go to similar lengths to protect their careers.  Remember, these are a lot of the same people who put career progression ahead of actually winning in Afghanistan and Iraq, so it should surprise no one that they will crush a guy like Higbie, no matter how impressive his service was, like a bug.  I hope Higbie is doing well in civilian life.  Don’t let the bastards get you down!

I don’t know Higbie personally and cannot vouch for the contents of his book, but the below story is worth reading to see how the Navy retaliated against this former SEAL, even retroactively after he had already left the service. -Jack

There is an unquestionable chasm between the images presented by the American military as an institution and those of the individual troops on the ground.  With modern social-media giving a growing voice to the proletariats of our armed forces, it appears the US Military has entered into a quiet battle between the top brass and ground troops in order to control who presents their image to the masses.


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About the Author

is an eight year Army Special Operations veteran who served as a Sniper and Team Leader in 3rd Ranger Battalion and as a Senior Weapons Sergeant on a Military Free Fall team in 5th Special Forces Group. Having left the military in 2010, he is now working towards a degree in Political Science at Columbia University. Murphy is the author of Reflexive Fire, Target Deck, the PROMIS series, and numerous non-fiction articles about Weapons, Tactics, Special Operations, Terrorism, and Counter-Terrorism. He has appeared in documentaries, national television, and syndicated radio.

To comment on this article please join/login. Here's a sample of the comments on this post.

  • BShrum

    cbristoe Henry2  Why should the religion that created this Country have no place in the military that protects it?

  • Allwet

    ...and we would know when to STFU,  just shake our heads and shrug("innocently",right through our teeth).

  • Allwet

    ....and we would know when to to STFU, and just shake our heads and shrug(right through our teeth)

  • Allwet

    ...and we would know when to STFU,and just  shake our heads and shrug(right through our teeth).

  • Allwet

    Not to mention, most us would know when to STFU,and just shake our heads and shrug innocently(right through our teeth).