More good press about the Marine Corps. OOOH-RAH!!
-- Lt Grose
October 16, 1999 Pg. 25
Press bias is an ugly thing. It really makes no difference
if that bias is unintentional or even unconscious. Take the
bias of the American elite--academic, financial and social--against
the American military. Nowhere is that bias more obvious than
the establishment press's choosing to identify criminals and
other antisocial misfits by their former association with the
U.S. Marine Corps, as in: "Ex-Marine terrorizes shopping center."
Have you ever seen a story that began: "Ex-draft-dodger convicted
of bilking widows and orphans out of their life savings?"
This summer, when, in Bristol, Conn., a 32-year-old drifter
"with a history of mental problems" used a church candlestick
to murder a Catholic priest who had told him he could not sleep
in the church, how did the New York Times describe him? That's
right: "a former Marine."
And when Lee Williams, a 23-year-old student at Wayne State
University in Michigan, sued a tattoo parlor for embarrassment
and the cost of plastic surgery needed to cover up "villian"--instead
of "villain"--on his arm, what did the Associated Press tell
us about Williams (who had consented to the misspelling)? Of
course: He was a "former Marine."
And now that the University of Texas has reopened its 307-foot-high
clock tower, which was closed in 1975 after a series of suicides,
we are reminded that Charles Whitman, the psychopath who shot
14 people dead and left 31 wounded there in 1966, was "a former
Bias is not simply ugly; it is stupid as well. Elitists
never notice that the U.S. military imposes far higher standards
of conduct and duty upon its officers than does either civilian
life or the vaunted private sector on its members. Lying or
adultery or sexual harassment can instantaneously end a military
officer's career. The same cannot be said for a CEO or for the
highest civilian federal official.
These are not easy times for military recruiters. Even with
$6,000 signing bonuses and generous college tuition benefits
to offer, the Army, Air Force and Navy have not been able to
meet their enlistment quotas. This country's long economic boom
and the lowest unemployment rate in the history of the all-volunteer
service have made the military recruiter's task a tough one.
Yet for 51 consecutive months, the Marine Corps, alone of the
services, has met and surpassed its recruitment quota. And to
meet that quota, the Marines have not--as other branches have
done--lowered their academic or intelligence standards. In fact,
they have raised them higher than the Pentagon requirements.
Unlike their sister services, which woo recruits with tangible
promises of travel, compensation, tuition and retirement packages,
the Marines offer intangibles: the opportunity to belong to
something bigger than the individual; a grueling challenge;
the test of being held to a higher standard; sacrifice and self-reliance.
As Capt. Jeff Sammons, a 20-year Marine and former enlisted
man, explains, "We want you to join the Marine Corps for one
reason and for only one reason--because you want to be a Marine."
What Marine service does for those fortunate enough to experience
it is important. From the first day of boot camp, a Marine recruit
learns that Marines never leave their dead or their wounded--their
own--behind. Liberals especially ought to stand in grateful
awe of this Marine Corps ethic, which contradicts the unbridled
individualism that elevates personal well-being, comfort and
profit above any obligation one might owe to his community or
to his country.
American liberals may have led the good fight for civil
rights, but the greatest civil rights victories have been won
by the American military, including the Marines. Why is the
American military the most integrated sector of American life
today? Charles Moskos, the wonderful military scholar from Northwestern
University, offers two reasons: no racial discrimination and
no racial preference.
Up to now, the 2000 campaign has been conspicuously silent
and sterile on the subject of what we Americans owe to each
other and to America. What are our duties as Americans that
our would-be leaders ask of us? What sacrifices are we as Americans
willing to make?
I don't know. But the Marines know.