In "my day", we had the age-old debate comparing the "old Corps" and the "new Corps". It's about as philosophical as your average Marine will get. The gist is that; "Was the toughness and tradition of old Marines superior to the tech and flexibility of the new Marines?". Of course, the conversation always ended with, "Old Corps, New Corps, we all kick a$$ and bleed green.". Typical Gyrene synthesis, following the K.I.S.S. philosophy (Keep It Simple, Stupid).
As an old(er) guy, I find myself having a similar internal dialog. I could vocalize my feelings to some of my Navy neighbors, but unless the conversation involves shore leave, coffee or booze, their eyes just glaze over.
The concern has gnawed at me for years. After the end of the Cold War, we were all worried that the US military would be hijacked by politicians and used for inappropriate "humanitarian" tasks. "Meals on Wheels" was the distasteful moniker. The secondary concern was the politicization of our armed forces. The military doesn't exist to provide jobs and training to teenagers, and that shouldn't be a primary consideration.
Of all the branches, I think most Marines get it best. "Mission accomplishment, troop welfare". In that order. Period. A few Army guys understood this, too. Patton, of course. But the one that best exemplifies this efficient (and correct) mindset was William T. Sherman. His most famous quote is succinct:
War is cruelty. There is no use trying to reform it. The crueler it is, the sooner it will be over.
Now, in 2014, we have the luxury of winning wars without being "cruel". Or do we? Or, more importantly, CAN we?
In Seattle, as part of our Summer "SeaFair" celebration, the US Marines are conducting a public relations event. Dog and Pony Show, we used to call them. The first thing that caught my eye was a billboard they erected:
Every Marine is a Rifleman. Did these guys not get the message? Maybe some oversensitive testosterone deprived officer thought that "guns" might scare the delicate sensitivity of genteel Seattle-ites. Also, note the non-threatening hands folded stance. They look ready to "serve", all right. "I'll take the pan seared tofu with a side of couscous, please..." God help us.
Speaking of Him, in The Old Corps, we had a simple mantra: God, Corps and Country. As some pantywaist atheist my get offended, they "modified" that that as well: "Community, Country and Corps" is the tag line for this event. Very slight variation. Most people won't notice. Or care, I suppose. This devolution scares the cr4p out of me.
What these metrosexual, Prius driving , soccer weenies will see are a bunch of cammo wearing guys sliding down Fast Ropes and playing in the water. Kinda like a gritty Cirque de Soleili. I suppose some ten year old will lower is veggie dog, look to his parents and exclaim "I wanna ride in a helicopter and hand out meals to starving people!". Gives me the warm fuzzies just thinking about it.
The problem is that, eventually, Marines have to break things and hurt people. We do that best. It's kinda our thing. Those that can't get their head around that need to set down their soy latte and do some serious introspection. You may not like it, but that's the way the real world works. You wanna help people, go join The Peace Corps. You wanna serve your country by being the toughest, meanest and deadliest thing on the planet, join the Marines. There's no middle ground.