Monday, December 05, 2005

When is a Marine no longer a Marine?

Regarding Rep. Murtha's call for America's "immediate redeployment" from Iraq, Ann Coulter, John Podhoretz and Froggy got me wondering: Is a former Marine always a Marine?

While his actions as a Congressman tell us why he didn't go further in the military, they tell us nothing about how Mr. Murtha has become the face of the WITHDRAW! crowd after having been in the Marine Corp.

Before subjecting Murtha to the figurative flogging that a floor vote on his idea of immediate withdrawal deserved, Republicans planted their snot lockers up his sitter with praises of his "bravery," being a "great American" and a "fine man." While all this is true about his service, what's changed now that he's a Senator?

In an apparent effort to stay on his good side in case Murtha becomes their Secret Santa, Senate Republicans continued stroking his service as a Marine before rightly pointing out that somewhere between 1967 and late November 2005, the old fella had replaced the invaluable bravado that wants to win at all costs with a penchant for retreating from the face of victory.

So I wondered: Why would a man, having been bathed in a culture of projecting unmatched strength, with victory as the solitary goal, defect to a position that finds the prospect of winning, um, uncomfortable?

Then I figured it out.

Only the US Marine Corp has the incomparable ability to give you stones.
Only the US Senate has the incomparable ability to remove them.

It seems that once you enter the doors of the “world’s greatest deliberative body,” one is overcome with the artificial geniality that comes from addressing one another as the “gentleman for such and such,” and one’s desire to avoid dis-invitation to the latest cocktail party and the impossibly small finger foods that go with them, ambushes your oath to "always be faithful."

You’re then left having to do this, because you’ve lost these.

A Marine's battle-hardened skills to kill at will, ability to sleep while standing, willingness to anonymously eat packaged sludge and still continue crushing an irregular enemy is replaced by a Congressman's craving for the soft glow of camera lights that gleefully thrust you to the front lines in the Global War on Bush, if you've proven your only remaining immutable quality is a stratospheric threshold for embarrassment that comes with a willingness to vote against your own proposal for withdrawal.

Maybe I'd get a bit heady, too, if the media made me feel like a genius by shoving a camera and mic in my face any time I had a dumb idea, as long as it fits the "Iraq is Vietnam" script.

I seriously wonder to any Marines out there: Once you're a Marine (or any other service member), will Marines always consider you a fellow Marine? Can your efforts as a Senator, intentional or not, disqualify you from the continued "thanks" that each member of the armed forces deserves? Has Mr. Murtha reached that level?

Please let me know.

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