The Marine Corps recruiting literature sent to high school students is a little different each time. The first time I saw it the theme was preserving the American way of life. The student who sent in the reply card was entitled to receive dog tags, a duffle bag or a skullcap. I wrote about this in "The Few, the Proud, the High School Students." The theme the second time I saw it was defense. Offered this time was a choice between folding speakers, a T-shirt, or a wristband. I wrote about this in "The Marines Are Looking for a Few Good High School Students." Although it has been said that the third time’s the charm, I’m afraid the Marine Corps has failed once again to ensnare my son.
The recruiting literature that arrived in the mail this time, thanks yet again to the No Child Left Behind Act, consisted of an envelope with a short note and two reply cards – all of which have pictures of the free Marine Corps gear being offered this time: a duffle bag, sunglasses, or a watch. The note says that in order to become a Marine you have to want certain things.
Among those wanted things are Pushing your mind and body to its limits; Protecting freedom, democracy and every state in the nation; Being willing to work hard; and, of course, Wanting to be a Marine.
Except for the second item, which is a lie, Vance insists, i.e., "protection of freedom and democracy" (since Marines are doing nothing of the kind), the rest of the items are true. However, Vance has a problem with what the Marine Corps "forgot to mention," and elucidates:
What is not mentioned is that in order to become a Marine you also have to want certain other things:
• You have to want to intervene in the affairs of other countries.
• You have to want to do anything but actually defend the United States.
• You have to want to obey without reservation the orders of your superiors.
• You have to want to perpetuate the lie that the military defends our freedoms.
• You have to want to invade other countries that have not attacked the United States.
• You have to want to occupy other countries that resist being invaded.
• You have to want to kill foreigners that resist being invaded and occupied.
• You have to want to maintain the U.S. global empire of troops and bases.
If a high school student doesn’t want to do any of these things, then he has no business joining the Marine Corps. The Marine Corps is not preserving the American way of life, defending anyone’s freedoms, or protecting every state in the nation.
Vance concludes with quotes from the indomitable Major General Smedley Butler's little treatise, War Is a Racket. Nobody was better positioned to make such an observation about America's past time than this Congressional Medal of Honor winner, who spent 33 years in the military. Among his pithier remarks:
I believe in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else. If a nation comes over here to fight, then we'll fight. The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.
Read the full Vance article here.