Regarding Phillip Carter’s Feb. 6 column (“Ad only adds to military’s alcohol problem”): Blaming a Budweiser Super Bowl ad or any other alcohol company for the “military’s alcohol problem” is not holding servicemembers responsible for their decisions or accountable for their actions. As members of the U.S. military, which may be arguably one of the most appreciated public organizations in the United States, servicemembers must first take responsibility for the decisions they make and be held accountable for their actions involving the use of alcohol.

Also, friends and co-workers could look after the welfare of their fellow servicemembers who already have an alcohol problem or those who may seem like they are reaching that point where they had too much alcohol at an event. I use the word “could” because friends and co-workers are not directly responsible for the decisions or actions of other individuals.

Finally, although leadership is also not directly responsible for individuals who make the wrong decisions regarding alcohol, leadership has an inherent role in coordinating with the respective organizations that may educate servicemembers about the effects of alcohol abuse.

In addition to individuals taking responsibility for their decisions and being held accountable for their actions, leadership must create an environment where alcohol abuse is not tolerated. Squeezing in a briefing about alcohol abuse during annual training is not only inadequate, it sends a message that alcohol abuse is not important enough and instead just a matter of “checking the block.” If someone must be blamed, start with the individual and his or her environment.

Capt. Shonnette Rana

Vicenza, Italy

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