Not every dictatorship in Northern Asia is run by a chubby little Korean guy with a bad haircut. It would appear some dictatorships exist in lands that are supposed to be nice and democratic. Just today, I found out that in my beloved Japan, in a district just south of Tokyo, there is a totalitarian dictatorship run amok:
U.S. sailors deployed to Japan are now under a temporary ban on alcohol and off-base liberty, with top commanders citing a string of "alcohol-related incidents detrimental to the U.S.-Japan Alliance."
The ban, which covers drinking both on- and off-base, will remain in place until commanders believe "all personnel understand the impact of responsible behavior," according to an announcement by the commanders of the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet and the Navy's forces in Japan.
With all off-base liberty canceled, sailors will only be allowed to enter civilian areas for either official business or essential reasons, such as childcare, gas and groceries. Liberty privileges will be reinstated only after "face-to-face training has been conducted by unit commanding officers, executive officers and command master chiefs with all personnel," the Navy says.
The ban is the latest shift in the U.S. Navy's centuries-long relationship with alcohol. More than 100 years ago, the Navy declared a ban on booze aboard all its ships, ushering in a dry era that contrasted with the service's early days of doling out a half-pint of liquor to sailors daily, as the U.S. Naval Institute has noted.
It's also a new phase in the discussions over the large U.S. military presence in Japan, particularly in Okinawa, which has long been a controversial subject. That's due in no small part because over the years, American personnel have committed high-profile crimes — such as the infamous kidnapping, rape and murder of a 12-year-old girl by three U.S. service members back in 1995.
Way to go Joe! That will sure fix the problem.
The beatings will continue until morale improves.
Yea, keep treating your Sailors like children-and then be shocked, SHOCKED, when they don't respond as advertised.
"These measures are not taken lightly," Rear Adm. Matthew Carter, the commander of U.S. Naval Forces Japan, says in the Navy announcement. "For decades, we have enjoyed a strong relationship with the people of Japan. It is imperative that each Sailor understand how our actions affect that relationship, and the U.S.-Japan Alliance as a whole."
Discussing the new restrictions, Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, commander of the 7th Fleet, says, "The overwhelming majority of our Sailors are doing an outstanding job every single day. But that same majority — at every paygrade — is also responsible for providing leadership on all levels. We will not condone misconduct that impacts our ability to conduct our mission or which jeopardizes our critical alliance with Japan."
Oh really? Let me tell you what is really going to happen. The 95% of the Sailors who don't do anything wrong except try to enjoy their lives will sit on their hands for only a few days and then the letters to Congressmen hopefully will start flying. In the meantime the more enterprising Sailors will find a way to get "home delivery". ( Maybe one or two will use the old MLC "trunk resupply method" to restock our declining beer stocks when everyone was clamped down after 9-11. Yes, they got a nice 5000 yen "finders fee"-but desperate times called for desperate measures.). What the hell do you guys think this is, the Air Force?
Today’s Air Force is addicted to this kind of control scheming, even if it inflicts more damage than could ever be justified by the potential good. This addiction is facilitated and fueled by a cultural pathology that has taken root over the last 15 years: taking airmen for granted. Gen. Mark Welsh has made it explicit during his endless string of mandatory hangar calls: if you leave, someone else will step in.
It takes a special leader to see past the commodity marketing and flesh-peddling of his manpower “experts” and hold in clear view the key truth that even if a down economy allows you to get away with it from an algebraic perspective, the moral injury of treating people like serfs will be toxic and lasting. The damage multiplies exponentially when it stands uncorrected.
Substitute the word, "Navy" here and the effect is still the same. John Q. Public reminds us where these "reinforcement" tactics eventually lead:
What today’s senior Air Force folk don’t understand is that they need the trust of their juniors much more than the other way around. If your people don’t trust you, you can’t lead them, and therefore you’re not a leader. You’re just some schmoe exercising positional authority, and not qualitatively different from a cashier, DMV clerk, carrot gardener, or gas station attendant. It just so happens your positional authority lets you harass people to a greater degree than those others. But that doesn’t mean you should do it. In fact, by doing it, you will alienate the very people you need to actually do your job, since teamwork — yes, teamwork, is required for you to succeed. Even if you can get promoted without it, and might even get promoted quicker by eschewing it.
You brought this on yourselves, boys and girls. When you created an atmosphere where Senior enlisted won't dare to go on liberty with their juniors because it is just a lose / lose proposition.
Look, I get it. These are serious incidents. But here is a news flash folks, the Japanese understand that too, and most what posturing you see is for domestic consumption, not to advocate these types of Draconian measures. And here is another news flash for you-you have the means to deal with the small percentage of troublemakers already.
This type of knee jerk reaction is not just limited to booze. You see it everywhere in Navy life these days , (and the other services too) this completely flawed idea that the services can tell you everything to do with your personal life, regardless of the legality of it. Today's leadership thinks they have the right legislate one's private life: telling you what you and cannot say on the internet, what you can and cannot do in our private time, even in some cases who can and cannot sleep with. ( Cue the obligatory TIP BS discussion here).
And if you think about objecting to it, by pointing out quite correctly that there is a dividing line between what's professional and personal? Be prepared to be marked with the Scarlett "W". ( for whining):
Any policy push-back is therefore marginalized as “whining” and everyone is reminded that no one forced them to join or to stay……..
Here’s a bigger issue: as people figure out they’ve been had, the ability to recruit and retain enough of them to win wars gets compromised.
This is the unfolding reality of the Air Force [Navy], and it gestures toward a related pathology. …………
I’m guessing for those at Osan, [Yokosuka] morale is anything but pretty darn good. It’s hard to be proud of your unit and inspired by the role you play in the mission when your chain of command is obsessed with monitoring and controlling your private life … and when you’re not even trusted to live privately without supervision. This during the scant few hours you’re not sleeping, preparing for duty, or doing your own job plus the job of the person who should be next to you but was either fired in the last drawdown, deployed on the last AEF on 6-9 days notice, or obliged to miss work for volunteer or educational “opportunities.”
You have done this to yourselves over and over again. Even worse, you would not try that in San Diego or Norfolk because-spoiler alert–it's illegal. You would not try that in a homeport in CONUS. Well, Yokosuka is a homeport too. Not a liberty port. Same is true in Okinawa. That is why you can only ask your civilians to "voluntary comply" ( good luck with that!).
Kudos to John Q. Public for spelling this out better than I ever could!