By Smedley Butler
The U.S. Marine Corps plans to return to its roots as a quick reaction force as the pumped-up military sheds the bulk needed to fight simultaneously in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Marines want to move away from their current status as a second American land army and occupation force, and focus on their core-role as an expeditionary force, according to a recent article in The Associated Press.
“We need to get back to our bread and butter,” said Marine Commandant James F. Amos, who has developed a plan to slim the force down to 186,800 from its present 202,000.
That’s good news for a gritty force that has distinguished itself as the most willing fighters in a U.S. military that’s constantly struggling to prevent its technical prowess from eclipsing the need for mano-a-mano combat supremacy. The Marine casualty rate in Afghanistan and Iraq is the highest of any U.S. armed service due to its aggressive pursuit of the enemy. Its 4.28% injury rate compares with 2.75 percent for the Army, according to an AP report.
The Marine Corps is comprised overwhelmingly of members of the 99 Percent, who are motivated by their desire to advance the greater good of the United States. Their willingness to sacrifice on behalf of their fellow Americans is diametrically opposed to the “greed is good” philosophy of the 1 Percent, which has enriched itself at the expense of its fellow Americans the past 30 years and routinely overcharges Marines and their families for stateside housing.
The Devil Dogs started out as a light force of foot soldiers who were permanently stationed aboard ships, so that naval forces could take enemy land and ships, rather than just bombard them.
When the U.S. Marine Corps originated in 1775, the world’s leading militaries were able to project power overseas strictly through naval power. There were no military air transports to rapidly fly troops into battle zones. Ships and their Marines were the quick reaction force of the day.
Amos plans to pursue this historic shift back to that core mission by re-emphasizing the Marines’ role in the Pacific, where an ascendant China has been flexing its own military muscle in recent years. The Corps has held a iconic role in the region’s military history since the island-hopping campaign against Japan during World War II. Its mystique has given birth to a myriad of nicknames, which include jarheads, Devil dogs, gyrenes and leathernecks.
Amos wants to resume a tradition of rotating Marine units through the Japanese Island of Okinawa. The Devil Dogs helped conquer during the island during World War II in the largest amphibious assault of that war, which transformed the United States into a superpower and established it as the dominant force in the Pacific. The rotation of Marine battalions to Okinawa was interrupted by the Iraq war.
The Corps also plans to begin rotating Marines through an Australian military base for joint training in 2012, and other bases in the Pacific.
“As we draw down and we reorient the Marine Corps, it will be primarily to the Pacific,” Amos said, according to AP.
Marine veteran Scott Olsen (left and below) was critically wounded Oct. 25 when he was shot in the face with a canister of tear gas by police in Oakland, Calif., while participating in an Occupy Wall Street protest against the “greed is good” community. He is now undergoing rehabilitation in an effort to regain the ability to speak.