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 ï¿½ 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
a. Every Marine regardless of MOS will be taught those
fundamental combat skills needed to survive and fight on todayï¿½s
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
Marineï¿½s performance of duty. Commanders will consider a Marineï¿½s
combat skills proficiency when assigning proficiency marks and
writing fitness reports.