Monday, March 18, 2013

Morale beat down

Banning drinking...coming to a base near you?

Interesting article here on the Air Force banning alcohol at Ramstein:

To me, this is not a huge surprise. The military simply doesn't want to deal with problems, so they ban anything (or make it hard to use anything) that they think causes problems. From pornography to booze to tobacco, the military has tried it's hardest to simply push anything it doesn't deem correct out of the way.

But we already tried doing this. On a national scale.

And it didn't work out. At all. For the same reasons that it won't work in the Navy:

1. Lack of legitimacy. How can we expect our Sailors to defend our freedom when something that they are legally allowed to do (drink alcohol, smoke tobacco, etc.) is banned while they are performing their duties? Sailors will understand that they can't drink before a flight or a combat operation, but not being able to drink on their time off is a massive slap in the face. In their eyes, the rules will always lack legitimacy, and will only contributed to people leaving the Navy in order to be treated as a real adult.

2. Driving the problem underground. Banning alcohol during Prohibition simply pushed drinking problems underground, and is credited with financing organized crime. For Sailor's that have a drinking problem, simply making everyone not drink doesn't attack the root of the problem, which is that some Sailors have alcohol issues...but MOST do not. If you treat the Sailors that don't have problems with alcohol as adults, and get the others to treatment, you fix the problem and don't drive out good people.

3. Enforcement. I drink responsibly. Almost all the officers I know drink, and they all do it responsibly. I've consumed plenty of alcohol, responsibly, with my enlisted Sailors. Haven't had a problem. So if the Navy comes down and says "No one can drink," that puts everyone that consumes alcohol in a terrible bind. Do they disobey a direct order? Do they look the other way? Rather than giving more power to the Wardroom and Chiefs Mess, it simply erodes it and makes us enforce stupid rules that we don't agree with.

A perfect scenario is shown here:

So why doesn't the Air Force promote responsible drinking, identify the people that have a drinking problem and punish them, instead of everyone?

And the scarier thing is, if the Air Force is doing this, is the Navy going to be next?