Sunday, July 26, 2015

The decline of the U.S. Marine Corps

It is upsetting to learn that the U.S. Marine Corps may be suffering some decline in the quality of its officers.
The Marines are still an elite; men still volunteer to join them and fakers try to pass themselves off as one of them (Google "stolen valor"). (I don't lie but wear a Navy/Marine leather flight jacket as a tribute.) Because of all the services they've compromised with the Sixties least. Their standards are still high. When the stakes are literally life or death, there's no room for the luxury of political correctness such as quotas. You need men who can fight, regardless, as it should be for every endeavor. That said, some degradation from the larger culture is inevitable. The Sixties cultural revolution has literally made us stupider. So a few good men are harder to find.

And although military and conservative values work well together, as a creature of the U.S. government, the military isn't really conservative but a lab for liberal social engineering. A friend has credited (?!) his being a feminist to his 18 years in the Air Force. If the feds say gay is good then the Marines have to allow same-sex couples.

Anti-war, pro-military here. Our servicemen matter too much to waste them in all our needless foreign wars. (Usually, men who have fought in a war don't want to get into another one.) And putting women in combat is insane; they are the more valuable sex reproductively as well as the weaker on average (so they interfere with the combat mission); every sane society protects them.

U.S. Marines haven't really been used as marines (seagoing soldiers to send fast anywhere, which is why Marines talk Navy lingo; they also do security aboard big warships) maybe since the invasion of Grenada 30+ years ago or even Inchon in Korea in '50. There is obviously still a place for them in modern warfare (rapid deployment force = marines) but like their sister sea service the Navy their last hurrah was in World War II. In their plans, those two naval services are still refighting that war (the carrier task force still seems the Navy's mainstay), which is probably dangerous (a Nimitz-class carrier: a big target for a nimble Third World navy with technology, like guerilla warfare vs. traditional land battles?). Since that war the Corps has largely been an auxiliary of the U.S. Army, as in Iraq.

(The Coast Guard, now part of Homeland Security, is our third naval service, our second navy, specialized as seagoing cops who can enforce the law in America because the rest of the armed forces are not allowed to, and well loved as lifeguards/rescue crews. They can do drug busts at sea; the Navy's not allowed. They have been transferred to the Navy Department in wartime, for World Wars I and II. Shore security of course, manning Navy ships as well as their own — destroyer escorts and amphibious landing ships, convoy escorts and antisubmarine warfare in the Atlantic in WWII: large Coast Guard cutters = small destroyers.)

During World War II the American press agreed to present the European war as the Army's and the Pacific one, mostly covering the ocean of course, as the Navy's including the Marines, but the Army fought in the Pacific too and the Navy was at D-Day (our naval war in the Atlantic was largely vs. Admiral Dönitz's submarines, which made it to our coast, sinking ships; we did the same successfully against Japan). Why weren't the Marines in D-Day, one of the biggest amphibious invasions? Ike didn't like them? Tied up in the Pacific? Not enough of them? (I think by law they're limited to 1/8 the size of the Army.)


  1. There was definitely some inter-service rivalry that kept the Marines out of Europe in WWII, except when they occupied Iceland before war was declared. MacArthur even tried to keep them out of his theater.

    A couple of elections ago the Libertarian Party had as one of it's planks in it's platform a total reorganization of the military. All air services would be consolidated under the Air Force. The Army would be brought home, reduced and tasked with defending the U.S.. The Marines would become our sole expeditionary force.

    1. The Libertarian Party of course is fallible. The plan sounds good except for folding Navy and Marine aviation into the Air Force, for example. The British tried that after World War I, moving all naval aviation into the new Royal Air Force. By World War II they had to form the Fleet Air Arm in the Royal Navy because that kind of flying is that different. Also, Army aviation was started for a reason after the separation of the Air Force from the Army.

      Fun fact: in the '50s the Air Force had a few boats for pilot rescues off the coasts, ex-PT boats crewed by Air Force personnel who were often ex-Navy, even wearing Navy sailor hats.

  2. My grandfather was a Marine who fought in Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima in 1943 and 1944. He was stationed in China until 1946.

    During the Vietnam conflict, he instructed his sons (including my father) to go to Canada if they got drafted. "I know bullshit when I see it," he said.

    1. William Manchester wrote that Douglas MacArthur at the end of his life in 1964 wanted us out of Vietnam too.

  3. U.S. Marines haven't really been used as marines (seagoing soldiers to send fast anywhere, which is why Marines talk Navy lingo; they also do security aboard big warships) maybe since the invasion of Grenada 30+ years ago

    You forgot Panama. Operation United Shield in Somalia (among other Somalia operations), which involved an amphibious landing and withdrawal led by the USMC.

    And a number of evacuations of U.S. diplomats and civilians from countries where there have been stability issues.

    e.g. Operation Sharp Edge in Liberia (

    There was a similar action in Albania, Operation Silver Wake.

    And even when they don't do such actions, it's important that they be there with that capability for preserving options... and in other cases, such as the bombing of Libya in the 1980's, where Marine forces were positioned off the coast to be used if needed if U.S. pilots were captured.

  4. Actually the beginning of the end for the Marines was one of their famous victories, in World War I at the battle of Belleau Wood in France, the one where the Germans (I wish they'd won that war) called them "Devil Dogs" (Teufelshunde). It was bad for the Corps because if I recall reading correctly, it was the Marines' first mission creep, not being used as naval infantry for landings but as ordinary soldiers.


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