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.
This internal conflict has correlated with the advent of tools like Facebook, Twitter, and an increasing access to the publishing industry. American troops are voicing their opinions in equally cerebral and lowbrow ways—the latter being confined to the sphere of private rants on Facebook over seemingly typical and age-old military gripes. But many of those who have tackled the establishment in larger capacities, namely in book publication or popular blogs, have faced severe repercussions from their leaders.
Gone are the days of the American war fighter being perceived as a bloodthirsty Myrmidon willing to defend public policy at all costs. What we’re now beginning to recognize is that modern American service members are, the majority of the time, as socially diverse and politically involved as their peers in the private sector.
So begins the troubling story of former Navy SEAL Carlton Higbie and his role in a legal battle that stemmed from a 173 page personal manuscript that he released last year.
Every aspect of Higbie’s ordeal leading up to and shortly following the publication of his book, Battle on the Homefront: A Navy SEAL’s Mission to Save the American Dream, appears to be—at times—as maddening as the current conflict he has become embroiled in.
“I put this in a book not to bash the military, but to improve the system,” Higbie, who currently resides in Virginia Beach, VA, told me during a phone interview. “If I’m going to put my life on the line for my country, I want to make sure things are right across the board.”
Read the rest at Ranger Up!