Did the sentence of Joseph Felix fit the crime?

Screenshot from WXYZ-TV Detroit's YouTube video: Drill instructor found guilty of abusing Muslim American recruits

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Recently, the United States Marine Corps closed a sad chapter in its history with the sentencing of Gunnery Sergeant Joseph Felix. Felix was convicted of hazing and maltreatment of over a dozen recruits at Parris Island. Felix was sentenced to 10 years in prison, his rank was reduced to private, and he forfeits all pay and received a dishonorable discharge. Felix had targeted Muslim recruits, in particular, with his hazing, calling them ISIS, terrorists, and had even ordered one recruit into an industrial-sized dryer and ran it till he renounced his faith. The March 2016 suicide of Raheel Siddiqui, after Felix had slapped him, prompted the investigation that eventually led to his conviction. The question is: Did the punishment fit the crime?

People who think the sentence was right feel that Felix was a bully who was destroying marines, not making them. They see his actions as horrible and cruel, and as ones that take away a person’s humanity. Many wonder how forcing a person into a clothes dryer and running it till he gives up his faith is turning someone into a good solider. They feel that breaking recruits physically and mentally is criminal behavior and it was right to send him to jail.

Those who believe the sentence is wrong feel that Felix just did his job. A drill instructor has to make boot camp as hard as possible to prepare these recruits for the horrors of war. No matter what a drill instructor does to a recruit, an enemy will do much worse. Boot camp is about making soldiers, not accountants or teachers. You have to break a person physically and mentally to rebuild them into being a solider.

WXYZ-TV Detroit covering the marine corps hazing story:

The Issue

Did the sentence of Joseph Felix fit the crime? Was Felix a bully who was destroying good marines? Or, did he do his job?

Yes, the punishment was right

People who feel the punishment was right say that Felix was nothing but a bully at best. He tormented the people he was supposed to be teaching. His behavior led one young man to commit suicide and he should face the consequences of his actions.

No, the punishment was wrong

The people who feel the sentence was unjust say that Felix was just doing his job. They feel that he has to prepare the recruits to face the horrors of war and so he has to make boot camp as awful as possible. If he doesn’t, then those young men and women will die.

Do you think the punishment of Joseph Felix was right?

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