Monday, January 26, 2009

Marine Corps Expansion Ahead of Schedule, At Risk

Published around 16 November 2009

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported this week that the Marine Corps is on pace to expand to its new authorized strength of 202,000 Marines from 175,000 two years ahead of time. It looks as if the growth will be completed in September or sooner. The Corps is already at 198,000.

The Marine Corps was able to accomplish the rapid rate of increase through 500 additional recruiters meeting goals, higher than expected rates of reenlistment among combat veterans, and first-termers reenlisting at the highest rates ever.

The Corps’ expansion has all been accomplished with recruiting and reenlistment bonuses that are dwarfed by those given from other services. There has been no increase in waivers among new recruits for prior records that might otherwise preclude enlistment. Standards have not been lowered.

Military experts and analysts see another reason for the Marine Corps pushing the pace of growth.

The Corps was betting on a change in Presidency less friendly to the military and, more importantly, one less apt to fight. Under an Obama Presidency the Corps calculated that an immediate pull out of Iraq would come. The expansion was contingent upon having to fight terrorists everywhere including Iraq. Without that fight, the Corps knew that the growth would be cancelled.

There are several points to glean from this news.

One of the biggest lessons of the war on terrorists has been the revelation that we simply don’t have a military large enough to fight a war on multiple fronts and we certainly don’t have the troops and equipment to fight anything more than a couple counter-insurgencies.

Should a larger conflict erupt in the world, we would find ourselves woefully undermanned and under-equipped for such a situation.

With or without an open front in Iraq, national security demands the expansion of the military.

That’s a tough position against a soon to be expanded liberal House and Senate which has members of the Democratic Party already calling for a 25% reduction in the military.

Reality and liberalism are once again at odds.

Second, we’ve heard for the last 5 years that we’re crushing our military by using them.

Has anyone else ever understood this anorexic argument that by using our troops for what they signed on for (to fight) and what America expects them to do (fight) we crush our military? That’s up there with the illogical “support our troops, bring them home” slogan of the Code Pinkers.

Someone please explain to the left that no matter how hard they try to make it, the military is not, nor was it, or will it ever be a social and welfare program whose participants need or want our pity. They have a job to do, and they do it well.

Those who serve us honorably deserve to be used in honorable service to our nation. The numbers bear out the truth of what those fighting the war against terrorists believe; regardless of the front, they believe it is honorable service worthy of their sacrifice. The left needs to quit casting disgrace upon the service of those who are fighting the war against terrorists simply because they themselves don’t have the stomach or heart for the fight.

Reenlistments of combat veterans at much higher than expected rates and similar numbers with reenlistments of first-termers pretty well kicks the chair out from underneath the debate on the left about the war driving everyone out of the military. If their view of the world were reality, there wouldn’t be a single sole left in the Corps.

Fighting a war so many of our troops believe in is not crushing our military.

Lastly, the Corps learns its lessons, and they learned a good one in the ‘90’s. When a Democrat is in charge there are more important things than national defense, prepare to slash and burn your budget.

The Clinton years crippled our military, forced out plenty of good Marines, and cut back equipment and supplies. Nothing like sending good Marines out the door with their walking papers in the morning, and then running around the woods in the afternoon shouting “bang, bang” making machine gun noises; true story. The Administration cut us to bare bones.

As the analysts put it, the Corps was expecting the same if Obama gained power and is trying to stay ahead of the decimation curve. We’ll see if they succeed, though they have a tougher fight on their hands with a Democrat controlled Hill which is decidedly much, much farther to the left than was experienced in the ‘90’s.

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