Thursday, May 20, 2010

The few, the proud, the Marines

Lets get back to what works

Selections: Victor Davis Hanson, Marinestan

Periodically, the Marines’ way of doing things so bothers our military planners that some higher-ups try to curb their independence. . . But no one can question the Marine Corps’s record of defeating the most savage infantrymen of the age, thereby shattering the myth of Japanese military invincibility.

Since World War II, the Marines have turned up almost anywhere that America found itself in a jam against supposedly unconquerable enemies — in such bloody places as Inchon and the Chosin Reservoir in Korea, at Hue and Khe Sanh during the Vietnam War, at the two bloody sieges of Fallujah in Iraq, and now in Afghanistan.

Over the last two centuries, two truths have emerged about the Marine Corps. One, they defeat the toughest of America’s adversaries under the worst of conditions. And two, periodically their way of doing things — and their eccentric culture of self-regard — so bothers our military planners that some higher-ups try either to curb their independence or to end the Corps altogether. . .

The Marines are now starting to redeploy to Afghanistan from Iraq . . . once again, the Marines are convinced that their ingenuity and audacity can succeed where others have failed. And, once again, not everyone agrees. . .

. . . it would be wise not to tamper with the independence of the Marine Corps, given that its methods of training, deployment, fighting, counterinsurgency, and conventional warfare usually pay off in the end.

The technological and political face of war is always changing. But its essence — organized violence to achieve political ends — has not changed since antiquity. Conflict will remain the same as long as human nature does.

The Marines have always understood that. And from the Marines’ initial mission against the Barbary pirates to the battles in Fallujah, Americans have wanted a maverick Marine Corps — a sort of insurance policy that will keep them safe, just in case.

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