Dispatches: The Military: Marines Plan to Use Velvet Glove More Than Iron Fist in Iraq

From The New York Times: Dispatches: The Military: Marines Plan to Use Velvet Glove More Than Iron Fist in Iraq:

“CAMP PENDLETON, Calif., Dec. 10 � No force has a tougher reputation than the United States Marines. But the marines who are headed to Iraq this spring say they intend to avoid the get-tough tactics that have been used in recent weeks by Army units. “

More proof Marines are smarter than Army grunts. Of course, we have a lot more experience fighting “small wars” at the behest of the administration. One thing Marines pride themselves on is learning from mistakes and successes.

Lt. Gen. Conway sounds like one hell of a leader; so many in the military would have made noises like they were going to bring even more death and destruction, just to salvage ego and no matter what they had planned. To be willing to say, “We’re going to try and work with the Iraqis” is a good sign for the sucess of the operation, as is sending in the Marines generally.

One last thing: Conway is too classy to make this point, but one advantage the Marines will have is that everybody is expected to have basic infantry skills, including ambushing, responding to ambushes, patrolling and operating both personal and crew-served weapons.

From MARINE CORPS ORDER 1500.51A–MARINE BATTLE SKILLS TRAINING (MBST) PROGRAM

5. Policy

a. Every Marine regardless of MOS will be taught those

fundamental combat skills needed to survive and fight on today�s

battlefield. The references contain the tasks and standards

required of Marines (private – gunnery sergeant). Sustainment of

these skills is the responsibility of commanders at all levels.

b. Combat skills proficiency is an integral part of every

Marine�s performance of duty. Commanders will consider a Marine�s

combat skills proficiency when assigning proficiency marks and

writing fitness reports.

Op-Ed Columnist: Returned to Life

From “Returned to Life” by Bob Herbert in The New York Times: “As for the work that he and his students are doing: ‘Some people think it’s inspiring,’ the professor said. ‘I think it’s dismaying. Seniors in college should not be the last line of defense against an innocent person being executed.'”

Dismaying indeed. It’s not that I’m against executions entirely, but to kill 2-3 innocent people out of every 10 is simply unacceptable for a civilized society.