Thursday, April 12, 2007

Friendship Sure is Hard to Come By

First, I am a firm believer that blogging is all about opinions, though of course reasonable and well-thought opinions. Support them with fact if you care to; I think it would be best. But, when writing a professional document that will be read and discussed for the unforeseeable future, one should most likely temper their anger. One belief that I will always hold dear is that if one has a concern or a problem, they should come to the table with a solution. Leave the complaining, the whining, and the biased deconstructive opinions at the door.

Should the Army and the Marine Corps be friends? This is the question Allan Millett entertains in his entertaining article, "Why the Army and the Marine Corps Should be Friends". Though it is the question he asks, as I analyzed it, all I could see were the reasons that he feels they should never engage in friendship. Sure, he makes some arguments demonstrating the advantage of an Army that does nothing but listen to the infinite wisdom exuding from the United States Marine Corps. (Lets not forget that the Marines, as smart as he makes them sound, continue to enlist with the hopes of slaying that dragon in the commercials….I do love those ads.) Back to the point…how angry is he with the Army, and what did they really do to deserve his anger.

If I took a poll of Army officers, I seriously doubt I would find any that "fear that the Army exists only to make the Marine Corps look better to the public and to Congress." Yet Millett would have us believe this is a widespread belief of the vast majority of the Army officer corp. Sure, Army officers most likely begrudge Marines because their most junior enlisted look better in the Marine dress uniform than an Army General in his, but really, I'm sure they can get past that.
It seems as if Dr. / Col. Millett may be the one harboring the grudges. He seems to play Monday Morning Quarterback on many missions throughout history. He brings to light issues such as switching to the M-16 in the middle of Vietnam, or in his words, " a shooting war". I ask, is there a better time to introduce a superior weapon into the force? He argues that the Army is "jealous" of Marine Corps aviation. I'd venture to bet that they are. Why wouldn't they be? The Marines have theirs; the Air Force has the Army's. With that being said, I'm sure when the Army goes to Congress pleading for fixed wing assets, their intent is only to use the USMC as an example of success in order that they may eventually be cut a slice of the Air Force juggernaut.

His approach to the argument just seems way off base. Of course, the Army and the USMC should be friends, great friends even. I don’t think that pointing out the missteps throughout history is the way to get there. Likewise, presenting an argument over who should have commanded at what point throughout history doesn’t do us any good.

Maybe the friendship is being dusted off in the sands of Iraq. In 2004, the USMC assumed control over the insurgent hotbed of the Al Anbar province in Iraq. This was not a small feat for the Corps, as they were abnormally pushed inland, away from the support of their host fleet, and into the middle of a land-locked desert. Their typical maritime mission was being replaced with a long-duration fight. Who supported them while they learned how to logistically support such an operation. Why their friends did, the US Army. Who continues to support their operations today, the US Army. Let the friendship prosper. Hopefully, this combined effort, whether in success of failure, will not be held over the heads of the Army and the Corps by the next generation of officers in the same manner that some do today.

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