We are at war, and sometimes political correctness isn't a top priority.
On Feb. 1, Marine Corp Lt. Gen.James Mattis made controversial comments and in an instant he was harshly criticized for his lack of discretion.
"You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn't wear a veil," Mattis said, according to a CNN.com article. "You know guys like that ain't got no manhood left anyway. So it's a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them."
Gen. Mattis is a soldier and a politician.
Mattis along with his fellow Marines, and other armed service members, are trained to protect, and Mattis is very good at his job. Marine Commandant Gen. Michael Hagee defended Mattis in the same CNN article.
"(Mattis is) one of this country's bravest and most experienced military leaders," Hagee said. "Throughout out history, Marines have given their lives in the defense of this nation and human rights around the globe. When necessary, this commitment helps to provide us the fortitude to take the lives of those who oppress others or threaten this nation's security. This is not something we relish, yet we accept it as a reality in our profession of arms."
I'm sure Mattis has said a lot of things in his career that would make some people uncomfortable, but the world's most capable military wasn't built on people who can't pull the trigger.
The Mattis controversy isn't the first over the war and certainly won't be the last. The anti-war sentiment is undeniably solidified by millions of Americans who question the tactics, policies and intentions of the war in Afghanistan and Iraq. And of course Americans have a right to question their government, a right that guys like Mattis die to protect.
But Americans should think before they start questioning their soldiers.
At every anti-war rally and with every criticism, people should speak as if a soldier were standing next to them. Because when soldiers start deciding not to volunteer because they can't remember who they're fighting for, then we've all got a problem that goes way past political correctness.
Jesse Mclain is a junior English major. Her column runs every other Thursday in the Collegian.