New report: Marine Corps commandant could be a ‘lame duck’

U.S. Marine Corps Gen. James F. Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, visits with Marines from Maintenance Supply Battalion aboard Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, Feb. 5, 2012.  (Defense Department photo)

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Jim Amos visits with Marines from at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, Feb. 5, 2012. (Defense Department photo)

Questions about whether Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Jim Amos illegally pressured subordinates to punish Marines shown urinating on Taliban corpses in a video may limit Amos’ ability to lead the Marine Corps for the remainder of his tenure, Foreign Policy is reporting.

Marine Lt. Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, a respected general officer, has alleged that Amos made clear he wanted the Marines in the video thrown out of the Marine Corps — a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which prevents a commander from interfering in legal proceedings, Foreign Policy reported in the Feb. 27 story. Amos recently recently told National Public Radio that he never said he wanted those Marines kicked out of the service, but one retired general officer defended Waldhauser.

“Tom Waldhauser does not lie,” retired Maj. Gen. Melvin Spiese told Foreign Policy. “I have found him an officer of character.”

The turmoil has some members of Congress questioning Amos’ ability to do his job, but lawmakers are unlikely to pursue the matter because Amos is set to retire in October, an unidentified Republican staffer told Foreign Policy.

“Amos runs the risk of being a lame duck, and that’s something that would be unique for a commandant,” Foreign Policy quoted the staffer as saying. “I think a lot of people look at this, and where they see smoke, there’s fire. At this point, a pattern has developed, and I think people wonder whether he can effectively lead the Marine Corps.”

The story was written by Dan Lamothe, a former Marine Corps Times reporter who recently joined Foreign Policy. Lamothe notes that Amos personally challenged him to attend infantry officer training at Quantico, Va., after Amos was angered by a Marine Corps Times story headline that read two female officers had “flunk[ed]” the training.

Amos still enjoys the support of current and retired general officers, Foreign Policy reported. His most prominent supporter is Medal of Honor recipient Marine Sgt. Dakota Meyer, who wrote a personal blog on Feb. 13 defending Amos from what he feels are unfair attacks by the media.

Meyer has received some criticism for voicing his full support for Amos, but he told Foreign Policy that he could care less what those people think of him.

“If you’ve lost all respect for me for standing next to a man that I believe in with my whole heart and respect as a person and a leader, then I don’t want your respect anyways,” Meyer told Foreign Policy. ” I question whether you understand what the phrase ‘ Semper Fidelis’ really means.”


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  1. I listened to NPR interview and it directly contradicts Waldhauser. Why would Waldhauser lie? He’s the junior officer and wants to take down the CMC.

    No, Amos lied. He’s a weak leader who can’t take criticism. Look at the MC Times matter, his weak and worthless Public Affairs Office, “Col” Hughes wants to find out ways to remove this from MCX’s? Need new CMC now!

  2. Amos has been a terrible leader since day one! He fails to listen to the needs of the Marine Corps as a whole and is solely looking for ways to further his own agenda.

    Amos should be forced to step down as CMC. He has already lost most of the trust with his Marines. I recently was medically retired recently and I am glad I no longer fall under this man.

    He is a disease to our beloved corps and should be removed.

  3. Democracy in the military was the first mistake! Marines lead & Follow, the CMC leads, and all too often he must follow! Follow = listen to your leadership, allow them to sway the old… I have served 28 years as I just retired, and the changes in policy/procedures and leadership for the last 3 years was based on dictatorship, and it came from the top! Our Corps has changed drastically in the last three years, and I am sure we can count the issue’s and growing concerns. Put the leadership back in the hands of the senior advisors! Yup.. That’s right!!

  4. Amos is a fucking joke. Total failure. Cant wait till they bounce his ass out. now he’s for the sleeves up policy. This loser is totally unsat and unfit to lead the Corps. All the turmoil he has caused with the Snipers, Major Weirick, Marine Corps times, ending great Marines careers, the guy is just a cancer and a disgrace to the Corps. Go bury your head in the sand Amos and go away forever fucking loser…..

  5. Hey Dakota Meyer just because Amos is greasing your hole and buttering you up for your shot at congress doesn’t mean the rest of us Marines have to worship the ground you walk on and believe everything you say and kiss your ass, which Amos is doing to you everyday so you can bail his stupid ass outta hot water every time he opens his mouth. Take it easy dude you already sound like one of those political scabs in D.C.

  6. BTW, while I didn’t like what the Marines did to the dead Taliban “fighters,” I completely understand why they did it. Amos has never been shot at. What the hell does he personally/truly know about combat? Amos should have protected them to the press and reminded Americans how horrible combat is vice trying to “crush” them. Also, Col Stillings should never have been relieved. Again, Amos is putting his fanatically fixation on image/damage control over taking care of Marines and the FACTS.

  7. And also, while civilians are generally off-limits, I can’t believe Amos’ wife is being called the “First Lady of Marine Corps.” What the heck is happening to the Corps since I left 10+ years ago? Why is this guy and his staff so interested in promoting her? Marines are about combat, focus on that HQMC!!!

  8. Ed, you are so correct brother.. However, I have personally worked under the CMC, and I can honestly say that man is a perfect gentlemen and is very respectful to all he comes in contact with! And his wife is wonderful, moreover, he should of never taken the CMC position.. I believe his personality and his leadership style with no ground experience hurt our beloved Marine Corps! And for Dakota Meyer, congratulations on your recognition for your combat initiatives, however, your medal doesn’t give you have all the answers, its experience in life & education, not 5 years pounding the ground, advocate for our Wounded Warriors, health care once a service member retires, but stay the heck out of the CMC playing field, because you have NO CLUE!!

    Semper Fi

  9. Joe,

    You’re a gentleman and I apologize for any personal insult towards CMC and his wife. I’m just upset there appears to be too much focus on other things beyond fighting/winning and taking care of young Marines.

  10. Ed, I understand your frustration, our Corps went to crap in the last few years, it’s because of decisions made from leaders that should not be where they are! Also, note, our current SgtMaj of our Corps lost face with the enlisted service members as well; Note: He became a politician as well, he’s a statesman!! Static display of a NO DEFECT mentality, people make mistakes, Marines make mistakes, now in the Corps, no mistakes are allowed, nonsense. Good news, all things come to an end, our CMC is a short timer. Also, note; This was the only CMC who fights daily to take care of our wounded, that I thank him for.

    Semper Fi Brother

  11. I’m not much on Bonnie Amos being “The First Lady of the Marine Corps”, as it sounds so political, as in the President and the First Lady. While I’m for anything she does that would be for military families, I don’t see why she needs a title to do such. Are all future spouses going to get titles now? This has been a long-running issue where wives (especially officer wives) tend to believe they have a similar rank to their husband (e.g., “Do you know who I am?? I am General (or any other rank) “so-and-so’s” wife!”). I fear this could be an encouraging trend that officer wives will insist on a title and equal importance to their husband.

    Don’t care in the slightest if Sgt. Meyer likes Gen. Amos. I don’t expect everyone to share my opinions, and don’t want everyone to do such. None of my business one way or the other. I can like “Joe Blow” without liking some of the other people he hangs out with, and even if “Joe” hangs out with a guy I don’t particularly care for.

    I concur with what Ed says. We should worry less about administrative procedures for the Marines involved in the urination scandal and worry more about telling people, “Hey, this is WAR. Things happen in war. I’m not justifying it, but I’m not condemning it, either. War is a terrible thing and should be avoided whenever possible. However, in the heat of battle, sometimes things happen.” Besides all that, maybe it’s just the former 0311 in me, but hey, if you’re shooting at me, anything goes. If you’re shooting at me, and it’s me vs. you, I’m gonna do anything I can to make sure it’s you. I’m also not gonna be too concerned about who I relieve myself on. You’re shooting at me. “Oh, I should TOTALLY respect you and be all nice and sing Kumbaya and pray for your soul” SCREW THAT! If I have to take a nice, hot, steamy dump, I’ll do it right on your chest. Why? YOU SHOT AT ME!! WHAT DO YOU EXPECT ME TO DO??

    I definitely feel like Gen. Amos has issues with anyone criticising him that he cannot control (such as writers for Marine Corps Times). Additionally, I think that with all the firings of top officers, he is displaying his desire for a defect-free mentality, in direct conflict to what he says otherwise.

    Finally, with the sleeves up/sleeves down issue, he said the decision to reverse his decision was based on extensive talks with senior leaders about the issue. OK, so my question is, “Why did you not have these talks in the first place that you specifically mention it in your reversal?” Did you make a knee-jerk decision based on whatever your rationale is, and then reverse it when you figured that controversy wouldn’t die down? By the way, of all the ways to show solidarity with deployed troops, I somehow think that the dead last thing deployed Marines are thinking is, “Gee, those guys back in the barracks get to roll their sleeves up! how TOTALLY unfair! Those little bastards should be having their sleeves down like I do to show their support!”

    He may just be a “Lame Duck”. If so, he would make history as not only the first aviator to be Commandant, but also be the first lame duck aviator to be Commandant. It would definitely make the decision makers reluctant to make another aviator Commandant. I wonder what the last four years would have been like if Gen. Mattis was appointed to the office of Commandant.

  12. First aviator Commandant and definitely the last. Hopefully that mistake wont be made again. Hope Mattis comes out of retirement and takes the helm, if not General Paxton is just as good.

  13. So here is part of the tally involving the Commandant:

    Influencing the course of investigation into the video of dead taliban being urinated on. Gen Waldhauser refused to “crush” those in the video. He was removed as the convening authority by Gen Amos, and was replaced with someone else who had no problem sacrificing these marines for his own gain. An IG complaint was filed by Maj. James Weirick, a lawyer at Marine Corps Combat Development Command, the organization that has overseen the prosecution of cases related to the urination incident. Weirick is a legal adviser to Lt. Gen. Richard Mills, the convening authority for the prosecutions.

    Weirick’s IG complaint specifically names Amos and Gen. Joseph Dunford, who was assistant commandant until December and is now the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan. It also names Maj. Gen. Vaughn Ary, the commandant’s top uniformed lawyer; Col. Joseph Bowe, his deputy staff judge advocate; and two civilian lawyers who have senior legal counsel positions with Amos, Robert Hogue and Peter Delorier

    Covering up an incident involving the son of Gen Conway (former CMC), so that he (James B. Conway) could be promoted to lieutenant colonel last year. He then took command of another infantry battalion, even as other Marine officers in his former battalion were forced to remain in legal limbo.

    His (CMC)disdain for the Marine Corps times, is so bad he had it moved, attempting to silence it.

    How can he even talk about reawakening the Marine Corps? Is this leading from the front?

    Not to mention the Dan Daly cover, fiasco.

    Hey look, 3 years later and sleeves are back up. Change for change sake is not a good thing.

  14. If you want to see the forest for the trees, all you have to do is look to the Commander in Chief ….all others are merely pawns and who gives a rat’s ass about the Marine Corps Times incident. As far as the ‘sniper’ thing. They represented the Marine Corps and as such they did a disgraceful thing in front of the whole world.

  15. The CMC is a ruterless ship that goes in any direction the political winds blow him. His time will be remembered as the period in USMC history in which Marines were left for dead by their commandant.

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