28 July, 2010

Beating a Dead Horse?

Probably. But, I (as many other bloggers) feel the need to approach this subject.

Yesterday, one of our milspouse sisters* chose to go on an OPSEC rant on a site that supported many USMC wives. Afterward, she was berated. Heck the woman might as well have spoke at a press conference and then been publicly stoned.

I agree with many of you that she was way, way out of line in all that she said. Having had experience with not following OPSEC and getting caught (definitely not my brightest moment), I now fully understand the reasons that those rules are there. Honestly, I didn't think I was bothering anyone by posting what I was. The thing is, people do watch us. Whether we believe it or not, they do. In the field that my husband works in, wives are watched a tad more closely. There aren't a ton of people in his line of work, thus the scrutiny.

Several months ago, I had no idea. I just thought that OPSEC was for people who were deployed. No harm in saying "I'm going to pick my husband up after formation at ___ time." Or "Joe is going to be in the field." Or "this formation is taking forever!" Apparently, it is a big deal. If they read that on Facebook, Twitter or our blogs they know where our husbands are and what they're doing. Even if they're "safe" in the states! Don't think for a minute that there aren't terrorists living among us.

I got "caught" by the CSM's wife, who told her husband. The CSM went through the chain of command, finally reaching a SPC who was actually only there for training. Yeah. He told my husband. When Joe called me to tell me who had talked to him and why, I was nothing short of humiliated. I couldn't believe I had done that. I put his career in danger. I put him in danger. Never again. Since he and I are newbies at this thing, the CSM let it go with a warning. Let me assure you that it could have been way worse. I was thankful that nothing happened.

Honestly, I can't believe another milspouse would say that she's throwing OPSEC aside. I was truly terrified for all of our husbands. If her husband is deployed and she posts things regarding his whereabouts and missions...Lord help us all. I really don't think she fully understands what she said. If she fully understood OPSEC and its reasons for being, there's no way she could make such statements. If she does understand OPSEC... *sigh* First of all, I feel for her husband. Second, I hope she realizes she could get him in serious trouble.

We represent our husbands, especially when they're gone. Everything we say and do is subject to inquiry. Wouldn't it stand to reason that the things we say online would be too?

After she posted her rant, the thing went viral. She received so many terrible comments. Bad behavior or not, no one should be treated that way. I think that Mrs. Staff Sergeant did a wonderful  post about this. Please go over and read her thoughts. I agree with her 100% and probably couldn't say it any better.

When she posted an apology on the USMC wives' forum, she continued to receive terrible comments. Things that I would be embarrassed to even type! I think that those women should be ashamed of themselves for saying such things. I know women can be catty, but geez! I think it was taken entirely too far. You can be critical of someone's opinion without being rude or catty. Sometimes I feel like so few people know how to convey their thoughts without spurting curse words or calling names. My thought on this is that these people must not be very well educated. There are better words that can be used.

These terrible comments led to the demise of the forum. I honestly can't believe that women in our so-called sisterhood would act this way. Think about it! We are all in this together. Few people outside of our sisterhood understand what we're going through. Our civilian friends may understand missing their spouse, but they don't understand what it's like to have their husbands in a war zone. They don't understand the pride that comes with a military marriage. Our "sisters" do, though. They understand, and they support us. Usually. They usually offer a shoulder to cry on or an ear to talk off. =) In this case, though, one of our sisters was burned by us. While the things that she said were completely and utterly wrong, there is a better way to chastise one of our own. Maybe she's a newbie and doesn't understand. Maybe she had a terrible day. Maybe she's fed up with the way the military works. Or maybe she's just fallen off the wagon and needs a little bit of help getting up again. We are supposed to offer that help and advice. We're not supposed to tear her down - whether we agree with her or not.

OPSEC is important. We need to follow and obey the rules that our husbands do. These rules protect them, and they protect us. These rules keep our husbands in the positions they're in. The "bad guys" do indeed watch us and they will use every bit of information we give them. They will use it against us, our husbands, our military and our nation. Don't believe it? Ask your husband's commander or the commander's wife if they've heard of your blog. You'll probably be surprised.


Whew. I really wanted to approach that subject. I hope y'all aren't tired of hearing about it. And if you are, I apologize and thank you for reading this far. =) Now, I would like to post a video of my super cute puppy that I found tonight. I sooo can't wait to see him!!! =D

{The light on this video isn't very good, so you'll have to make the little window bigger to be able to see it well.}

Yeah, the rocking chair freaks him out a bit, lol! =D


Last chance to get your questions to me for the Q&A session! You can either comment here or send me an email. {Look under my picture on the left for my email address.} I'll be posting questions and answers tomorrow!

*For the continued blogosphere safety of this spouse, I'm keeping her blog and identity secret. If you would like to send her words of encouragement or advice {or correction in a nice manner}, send me an email and I'll give you the link to her blog.



The Tucci's! said...

Thank you for this post! I know that sometimes I say that "Shelby's going HERE to do THIS" and I honestly didn't realize that was a "NO NO". I was one of those wives who thought it didn't matter to US because my husband isn't deployed. Maybe it's not as strict in my husband's job.. but still - I don't want someone coming to me and chewing me out about it! Better safe than sorry!

I love the video of Jasper! I hope you'll let Tristan and I come see him when he gets here! Tristan LOVES LOVES LOVES dogs.. hopefully he does OK with monkey men ;-)

JG said...

I know it's not the popular opinion, but I think she deserved to be slapped down - hard. Because, having dealt with people with that attitude in real life, nothing else gets through to them.

Did some people get out of line in their comments? Sure. But they are not where the focus needs to be. After blatantly saying she didn't care if someone DIED because of something she said - "You can take it up with me then" - and then she tries to pan it off with a pithy "Well obviously I didn't mean it," I don't doubt the comments didn't lighten up. This wasn't someone making an honest mistake or an uninformed statement. She knew exactly what she was doing. She said she understood the purpose for OPSEC, and didn't care. She said she knew people could get hurt, and didn't care. She was too wrapped up in whatever bad feelings she was having at the moment to care about what happens to anyone else.

No amount of reason, rationale or "But don't you see that this could have bad consequences for someone else?" makes someone in that frame of mind change their mind. Only personal consequences, like being squashed like a bug. I appreciate the desire of the more mature bloggers among us to try and "sweet" her to enlightenment, but I can't believe that 100 comments saying, "OPSEC is important. Please rethink what you're saying." would have had the same result. I'd lay money it would only have made her dig in her heels more and perhaps actually post something sensitive, just to "make her point."

But I'm a cynic. :) And either way, it's over now.

Chelle said...

I am all for OSPEC but there was no need for half the responses that were written. They were foul and just cold hearted. While the author may have needed a quick reintroduction to back to reality, there is a thing called tact and clearly many of the women who responded forgot it at the door. IMO, their responses to her where no better then her post.

It just seemed like a snowball out of control with a mob mentality justifying ugly responses.

But to each their own.

Chelsea Pearl said...

My hubby is still in boot camp so I was not aware of OPSEC. So in a way I'm glade this all came about. I have learned a lot. I mostly agree with you. I think that most of those women should have been more of "teachers" than punishers.
On the other hand I can see where they are coming from. That freaked them out.
It's hard to give respectful and constructive criticism when you're not receiving it.
Your post is very constructive. It's what was needed in this situation.
In the end I think the only thing that got accomplished was that women like me became aware that this even existed.

Mr. Superman & Mrs. S. said...

I agree with you 100%!!