A love letter to the Marines

We finally got around to watching something TV captured for us last week: a PBS program profiling the Marines. What was amazing about the show, considering the source, was how laudatory both Mr. Bookworm and I thought it was. It could not emphasize enough the rigors of training, the camaraderie, the bravery, the history and the honesty and morality of the Marines. I truly enjoyed the show, especially because it dovetailed so perfectly with my understanding of the men who fought at Tripoli, who captured Iwo Jima and who cleaned out Fallujah.

What was really interesting was Mr. Bookworm’s reaction. As readers new to my blog don’t know, while I crossed the Rubicon from liberal to conservative (or, I prefer to think, as the parties’ ethos shifted, the parties rejiggered themselves around me), Mr. Bookworm remained a die-hard liberal. Just to give you an idea, the Times is his browser’s home page! Mr. Bookworm hated the show. While he is fascinated by things military, he thought it was just awful to have a show treating the Marines with such respect, and not dishing out any dirt. After going on for a while about the show’s failings (“it’s just a recruiting film”), his final statement was “and on public television, of all places.” I had to laugh.

It did occur to me this morning, though, that Mr. Bookworm’s reaction may just have been because the show was, in fact, somewhat saccharine. He’s very attuned to movie scores, and the music they chose was this soaring, “inspiring” music tht just went on and on. That kind of thing is always irritating, especially if you pay attention to the music. What I did realize is that, if you’re a die-hard anti-War, anti-military nut, the show would probably please you too, because of the emphasis on the Marines’ warrior culture. After all, if you’re anti-War, the mere fact that a warrior culture exists would drive you crazy, wouldn’t it?

UPDATE: On the radio this morning, I heard an NPR story that probably comports a lot more with the “progressive” view of Marines than does the TV show, since it focuses on a Marine who is on trial for killing an Iraqi civilian (and mentions a few other ongoing military trials in the same vein).

Incidentally, am I the only one who finds it impressive that there are so few of these types of stories about military abuse of power? Considering the military’s demographics — young, male, armed, stressed — it’ s testament to our military that these stories are rare enough to be “man bites dog” headline grabbers, rather than “dog bites man” ho-hum stories.

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  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ ymarsakar

    Mr. Bookworm hated the show. While he is fascinated by things military, he thought it was just awful to have a show treating the Marines with such respect, and not dishing out any dirt.

    That’s his psychological problem, that he’ll have to deal with. The frivolities of life such as “getting the dirt” is simply a facsimile replacement for the real values of loyalty, honor, courage, and duty.

    If you have those real values, why would you settle for something grubby like dirt, hollywood gossip, or the Times? I mean why. Why have the fake stuff, when you can have the real deal. Are people addicted to decadence now a days or something?

    After going on for a while about the show’s failings (”it’s just a recruiting film”)

    Would he prefer the draft back or something? Why would any reasonable person be against recruiting films that draw in volunteers and those who honestly love being in the Marines? I hope he doesn’t work for an advertising company, that kind of attitude would be rather counter-productive in that line of work.

    his final statement was “and on public television, of all places.” I had to laugh.

    The military is publicly funded last time I checked. or he does believe in the mercenary-private army propaganda?

    What I did realize is that, if you’re a die-hard anti-War, anti-military nut, the show would probably please you too, because of the emphasis on the Marines’ warrior culture. After all, if you’re anti-War, the mere fact that a warrior culture exists would drive you crazy, wouldn’t it?

    I think something went wrong in that first sentence, Book.

    I like inspiring music. It’s one of the methods for self-hypnosis that I use for pain. And there was that one time on an indoor ice skating ring that I kept falling down and getting bruises on side of my knees the side of pancakes, in which the music helped to dampen the pain. Especially that indention in my right rental skates that was rubbing off a dime sized piece of my skin at the ankle… Didn’t even know about it until 3 hours later.

    Of course I was always partial to lyrical inspiration instead of say… melody only.

    Hey Book, how about you surprise him by taking him to The 300 movie about the Spartans at Thermopylae? Boy would he freak out. It comes out in March, or was it the ides march…

    I’ve noticed this before, you know. All the (fake) Liberals, the Left, the Democrats, they talk about understanding, comprehension, and whatevers leading to diplomacy and “peace”. But what are their actions? Their actions are intolerant, or if not intolerant, simply ignorant and parochial. Why don’t they take the time to understand that which they don’t like? It is a prequisite for victory in war, to understand your enemies, without becoming your enemy.

    How can you dislike or hate that which you do not comprehend? And is prejudice truly something that human beings should strive for…

    I don’t even hate the Fox News show “Obsession”. I don’t hate the people in the videos shown by Obsession from the Middle East. I just simply want to get rid of them. When has the Left become so attached to their emotions that they no longer understand the things that ought to be hated and the things that ought to be destroyed?

    Or is this simply a turf war. The US Marines and the US military does many of the “socialist” field work touted by the Left. Medical care, redemption, reforms, economic jobs. Not just for the soldiers, but for those that the soldiers HELP. And not just in Katrina either.

    So is the Left jealous… jealous of the Trotskyites that they purged. Jealous of Nazi Germany when Germany wanted too much of the pie? Jealous of competing ideologies that are simply better able to provide the product that the Left advertises? Is this the origin of their dislike and hate for the military… I find it very likely.

    Michael Yon said this about a man who tackled a suicide bomber in his neighborhood and ended up killing himself and the suicide bomber, but saving his neighborhood’s children and women. He said that the closer an imitation comes to the real deal, the easier it is to spot the fake.

    So. Why are unversities outlawing ROTC? Is it because of the competition? Probably. Is it because of jealously? Why not, it is not as if the Left, whether Democrat or fake liberal, truly understands the human heart. They don’t desire to understand the human heart, what is there to understand, everything concerning human behavior is outlined in the doctrine provided to you by the bishops of the Left.

    While he is fascinated by things military, he thought it was just awful to have a show treating the Marines with such respect, and not dishing out any dirt.

    People are fascinated by that which they know nothing of simply for the reason that most human beings have a curiosity index/instinct. But there are certain methods that can be used to suppress such instincts in a person. This turns curiosity and the desire for knowledge, into a sort of turtle shell, from which people are curious, but they don’t benefit from their curiosity simply because there are blocks to their understanding.

    I cannot do a proper analysis of Mr. Bookworm’s concerns over the military, because I have only read the writings of the Arkins and the tboggs of the Left. I can only extrapolate general trends from such people, and relate it to the sparse descriptions of Mr. Bookworm. But I can say that the Left truly does not understand their allies, their enemies, or even themselves for that matter. That is a critical crutch that affects all their dealings, benign, beneficient, or harmful.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ ymarsakar

    I went into a public-‘ouse to get a pint o’ beer,
    The publican ‘e up an’ sez, “We serve no red-coats here.”
    The girls be’ind the bar they laughed an’ giggled fit to die,
    I outs into the street again an’ to myself sez I:
    O it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, go away”;
    But it’s “Thank you, Mister Atkins”, when the band begins to play,
    The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
    O it’s “Thank you, Mister Atkins”, when the band begins to play.

    I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
    They gave a drunk civilian room, but ‘adn’t none for me;
    They sent me to the gallery or round the music-‘alls,
    But when it comes to fightin’, Lord! they’ll shove me in the stalls!
    For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, wait outside”;
    But it’s “Special train for Atkins” when the trooper’s on the tide,
    The troopship’s on the tide, my boys, the troopship’s on the tide,
    O it’s “Special train for Atkins” when the trooper’s on the tide.

    Yes, makin’ mock o’ uniforms that guard you while you sleep
    Is cheaper than them uniforms, an’ they’re starvation cheap;
    An’ hustlin’ drunken soldiers when they’re goin’ large a bit
    Is five times better business than paradin’ in full kit.
    Then it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, ‘ow’s yer soul?”
    But it’s “Thin red line of ‘eroes” when the drums begin to roll,
    The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
    O it’s “Thin red line of ‘eroes” when the drums begin to roll.

    We aren’t no thin red ‘eroes, nor we aren’t no blackguards too,
    But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
    An’ if sometimes our conduck isn’t all your fancy paints,
    Why, single men in barricks don’t grow into plaster saints;
    While it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, fall be’ind”,
    But it’s “Please to walk in front, sir”, when there’s trouble in the wind,
    There’s trouble in the wind, my boys, there’s trouble in the wind,
    O it’s “Please to walk in front, sir”, when there’s trouble in the wind.

    You talk o’ better food for us, an’ schools, an’ fires, an’ all:
    We’ll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
    Don’t mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
    The Widow’s Uniform is not the soldier-man’s disgrace.
    For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Chuck him out, the brute!”
    But it’s “Saviour of ‘is country” when the guns begin to shoot;
    An’ it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ anything you please;
    An’ Tommy ain’t a bloomin’ fool — you bet that Tommy sees!
    Tommy by Kipling


  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ ymarsakar

    Oh great, there’s an extra i in beneficent. If the i wasn’t so small…

    Welcome to this small ceremony …like other small ceremonies held in small chambers in small communities among small congregations around a great Nation, great if for no other reason than that she in no way compels us to do things like this. We don’t orchestrate crowds, mobs, demonstrations in this country. We allow them. And, happily… we pretty much disregard them. The noisier, gaudier ones, at least. Anyhow. We’ll see what comes of this small one…

    The words of the prophet Jeremiah:
    My bowels. My bowels. I am pained at my very heart; my heart maketh a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war. Destruction upon destruction is cried; for the whole land is spoilt and my curtains in a moment. How long shall I see the standard and hear the
    sound of the trumpet?

    I dunno about Jeremiah’s bowels… or his curtains, but… we’ve gone over the falls again, Ladies and Gentlemen. Civilians out there mooing again about that Thin Red Line, the “Thin Red Line of ‘eroes”—in Kipling’s words—that stands between them and the Darkness. ’Course it’s not red any more. Used to be olive drab. Then treetop camouflage. Then woodland. Then chocolate chip. Now pixilated, random computer-generated. Progress. Your sons and daughters, my Cadets are in the soup again, though. Me? I can’t see the front sights of me piece any more. And if I can still lug my rucksack five miles, I need these days to be defibrillated when I get there. Nope. I got something like six Honorable Discharges from Pharoah’s Army. That lady in the back row’s gonna be wearing kevlar before I do. Nope. This one’s on the kids, I’m afraid.


    Just to tie in the theme of course.

    AQ Khan

  • Trimegistus

    This is something I’ve been noticing more and more: patriotism seems to affect liberals like a cross affects a vampire. It’s not enough that they don’t feel it, they actively hate it and want to stamp out expressions of it. My kid’s school doesn’t have a flagpole and they never do the Pledge of Allegiance — too patriotic.

    And anything associated with patriotism comes under fire. They HATE the armed services. (Notice how they always use the term “the military,” and how they’ve bullied all of us into following suit.) Young men willing to undergo hard training in order to risk their lives to protect their country just flies in the face of the entire liberal worldview.

    And note how they constantly characterize anyone who is patriotic as either a dupe or a liar. Just as they attack religious faith, and, increasingly, familial love. Any honest attachment to something other than one’s self is impossible for them to feel or understand. They try to tear us all down to the same level.

    Book, I hope Mr. B. isn’t submerged in narcissism the way most liberals seem to be. Maybe there’s still hope for him.

  • Oldflyer

    BW, the good news for the country is that the USMC doesn’t care what Mr. BW or like-minded folks think of their culture. The culure has been formed in the blast furnace of war and has stood the test of time. They know what they are; and are proud of what they are.

    I don’t think the program exaggerated much, if at all. I stopped a couple of Marine recruiters in a mall the other day for a chat. They did not know me from Adam (retired rank-wise) but it was Yes sir, no sir, and polite attention to everything I said–trite though it was. I visit a Marine base periodically and the treatment is just the same. A Marine in uniform is a model citizen because he or she really feels a responsibility to represent the service positively.

    So far as the allegations against a few, very few, Marines in Iraq. Before anyone points fingers, they need to visit some of the blogs which detail the conditions and the enemy these Marines face. (You won’t find much in the MSM) Rather than being shocked at the alleged transgressions, a fair reader would be amazed at the courage and restraint that is the general rule.

    As an old Sailor, I hardly qualified as a Marine lover. I was trained by them; served next to them for extended periods; and yes, have many friends among them. They can be incredibly arrogant, and often treat bull-headedness as an art form. As a country we are very fortunate to have them.

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  • Al

    There is not question that Liberals usually view “the military ” with scorn and derision, while conservatives generally support our armed forces. The question is why? Have the libs nothing that they would protect with their lives? There is a discussion in Robert Scott’s “God Is My Copilot” in which he and a fellow pilot in WW II conclude that they a fighting the Japanese for to protect “the American girl”. There are mothers flying helicopters in Iraq to protect their children.
    Maybe part of the answer, at least in England and America, is that neither country has had enemy boots on the ground in a very long time. Civil wars don’t count. The War of 1812 for us, and I think 1066 for England.


  • http://NA David Brugger

    Labels are used to stigmatize public broadcasting’s complexity with simple and pejorative caricatures for lazy minds.

    When George Romney was Governor of Michigan, he held a news conference and said “I’m as conservative as the Constitution, as liberal as Lincoln and as progressive as Theodore Roosevelt. Critical thinkers never accept labels as a way to define a person and should not be accepted as definitions for the concepts within public television’s programs. Public Radio and TV are about substantive solutions to real issues of policy and of conscience, and the substance is more important than the label.

    People who choose to label do an injustice to any idea or person, although they achieve the benefit of stigmatizing the complex for the convenience of lazy thinkers. The use of labeling contributes to the superficiality of understanding a person, institution, issue or ideology by pandering to the simplistic.

    A thinking person views issues from all perspectives and enjoys the challenge of ideas and people with thoughts that vary from their own. Mostly, they are attracted by new people with new ideas. New ways of thinking give them hope that people can break out of the patterns of past errors, deliberate or honest.

    Commerce and institutions, media or otherwise, are fraught with the corporate and politically powerful attempting to control access to information and to eliminate critical thinking. Talk and written word media entertainers lull emotional non-thinkers with labels and name-calling, the equivalent to labeling. They try to hide the fact that they themselves lack the knowledge base or competence to have a discussion of issues based on facts and perspective within a broad context. There is nothing to be gained by allowing your space to be invaded by those folks who already consume too much precious time with their vacuous labels.

    Think about it:
    When public broadcasting airs ANTIQUES ROADSHOW, public broadcasting is playing it safe and appealing to a mass audience.
    When public broadcasting airs EGG: THE ARTS SHOW, public broadcasting is going out on a limb with this obscure artsy stuff for eggheads.
    When public broadcasting plays SCHOOL: THE STORY OF AMERICAN PUBLIC EDUCATION, public broadcasting is selling out to the teachers’ unions.
    When public broadcasting airs NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT, public broadcasting sells out to corporate interests.
    When public broadcasting airs WWII: BATTLEFORCE, public broadcasting caters to old white males.
    When public broadcasting airs P.O.V., public broadcasting caters to marginalized voices who aren’t in our market.
    When public broadcasting airs METROPOLITAN OPERA, public broadcasting is elitist.
    When public broadcasting airs RED GREEN, public broadcasting is stooping to guy comedy.
    When public broadcasting airs [insert kids show title here], public broadcasting is letting their producers get rich on merchandising.
    When public broadcasting airs [insert kids show title here], it’s all part of a merchandising ploy to line our pockets. {See recent GAO report for factual data.]
    When public broadcasting airs NEWSHOUR, public broadcasting is boring.
    When public broadcasting airs FRONTLINE on “American Porn,” public broadcasting is being sensational.
    When public broadcasting airs NOW WITH BILL MOYERS, public broadcasting is liberal.
    When public broadcasting airs AMAZING GRACE, public broadcasting is liberal because … dammit, Bill Moyers is in it!
    When public broadcasting airs MCLAUGHLIN GROUP, public broadcasting is conservative.
    When public broadcasting airs AFRICANS IN AMERICA, public broadcasting is caving in to a minority lobby.
    When public broadcasting airs ADVENTURES FROM THE BOOK OF VIRTUES, public broadcasting is caving in to the family values lobby.
    When public broadcasting airs CHARLIE ROSE on Tuesday, public broadcasting caters to academicians whose viewpoint nobody cares about.
    When public broadcasting airs CHARLIE ROSE on Public Wednesday, public broadcasting caters to Hollywood stars who get far too much publicity.
    When public broadcasting airs TRACKS AHEAD, GREAT LAKES GARDENER, OUTDOOR WISCONSIN, AND ORQUESTA ARAGON, public broadcasting is just plan smart.
    And so it goes. There is virtually no show that can’t have a spin put on it to yield ample criticism and more lame evidence of why public broadcasting is (affix label here).

    Put a liberal and a conservative in the same room and let them figure out how public television can be so liberal and conservative at the same time. Public broadcasting is like a thermos. Public broadcasting keeps hot beverages hot, and cold beverages cold. But… how does public broadcasting know the difference?

    The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars…

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ ymarsakar

    I don’t think conservatives really care whether PBS is liberal or conservative.

  • Al

    Labels can be misleading. But when exposed to a brand new environment, and previously unperceived data, labeling aids in analysis.
    There is no question, in this country, that the fault for our failure in the largest part, “lies in ourselves”.
    For citizens of places like North Korea, it is a completely different play.

  • Larry

    I am a 30 year Marine and honestly, we don’t pay too much attention to the media. We know everyone will love us when there’s a war, and when it’s over we will be forgotten.
    We pay for the crimes of a few, but how many other groups do the same? If I compared an entire group to some of its members I would be accused of being a bigot.
    I saw the program and it gave me an idea for a few words to use during my upcoming retirement ceremony; “don’t honor me, it was my honor to serve with so many spectacular men and women.”

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