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Training the few, the proud, the ethical: Civilians get chance to make tough decisions like Marines
The students also tend to submit to a group ethic by cooperating with the squad rather than breaking its cohesion. They tend to be biased toward values such as “fairness and reciprocity” and are afraid to offend those who were welcoming to them, such as the religious leader who hugged them and later dragged away the bride.
“When you’re learning to walk, you fall a lot. Failures are so painful and costly, we shy away from discussing them and don’t find out where our weaknesses are,” Mr. Olson said. “You learn a ton from failure. You don’t learn a lot from success.”
Hours later, at least two students were still upset by the exercise and regretted not saving the bride.
“I shouldn’t have given her back,” one said. “Coulda, woulda, shoulda.”
Capt. Ingold said that doing what you think is right can come with a cost, especially in a war zone.
Questions of “Did I do the right thing?” continue to haunt many troops when they come home from combat, Capt. Ingold said. That is often a symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder.
“There’s an internal dialogue that continues, and in a lot of ways it attacks your humanity. There’s an identity crisis that you fall into,” he said.
Capt. Ingold said the students get a taste of the training that young Marine lieutenants face to prepare them for battle.
“They’re United States Marines — young men and women of exemplary character that have dedicated themselves to preserving human dignity and protecting the freedom and values that American people hold dear,” he said.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Kristina Wong is a national security reporter for The Washington Times, covering defense, foreign policy and intelligence affairs. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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