There is an axiom in the U.S. Marine Corps that states, “A good leader never leaves her dead and wounded on the battlefield.”

Every Marine who goes in harm’s way and is either killed or wounded deserves to be brought home by fellow Marines with honor and respect — even if that return is on a hospital litter or in a flag-draped casket.

Our commander in chief has sorely tested that axiom.

As The Atlantic reported, the president applied the words “losers” and “suckers” to those who have given the last full measure to our country. He has questioned the intelligence of people who volunteered to protect and defend the Constitution rather than pursue higher paying jobs. These words are anathema to any good military leader, much less the commander in chief.

This November our nation will exercise the right to vote … a right protected by the men and women who have served. I know most Americans have already lined up behind a candidate, so I can only urge that those still deciding to remember that the world will be watching how we use that right. Are we still a nation that believes that character counts? Are we still guided by a strong moral compass?

Retired Marine Corps Gen. Charles Krulak served as the 31st commandant of the United States Marine Corps from July 1995 to June 1999. He writes from Quantico, Virginia.

The opinions expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect the views of Marine Corps Times or its staff. If you would like to respond, or have a commentary on another Marine Corps topic, please contact Editor Andrea Scott.

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