Let me start by saying as a veteran and as an American, I respect all branches of the military even while I hope they never have to be used again to promote corporate interests and that we humans may move beyond violence as a solution.
But, the Marines are lying. In their new ad campaign, they make the claim, “When you join the Marines … you are stepping into the boots of those who laid the groundwork of this country.”
This is very factually untrue. Those who laid the foundations of the United States of America were wealthy, educated, often slave-owning, white men. They tried first to convince the English government that they were capable of running their own affairs. However, this failed and the extreme measure of Independence and subsequent war were next. This succeeded with the help of the French who welcomed the opportunity to beat their rivals, the British.
The Marines have usually been the first to face fire. They have a proud legacy. But, to be a Marine isn’t to follow in the footsteps of wealthy businessmen and politicians. It is to be a tool of the policies of the businessmen and politicians. Gen. Smedely Butler (yes, a very highly decorated Marine) had this to say about that:
“I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”
No WMDs in Iraq. Securing the route of an oil and gas pipeline in Afghanistan. It continues.
Again, I respect the Marines. But, I guess telling the whole truth of what they too often face wouldn’t encourage enlistment.