Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Hammers and Nails

I've been reading a lot of commentary in the liberal blogosphere lamenting excess use of force by the U.S. Marines in Iraq, latest example being using a helicopter fired missile to take out an Iraqi that was firing at the helicopter - with a slingshot (tip 'o the hat to Billmon, again). Now, I'm not defending any military personnel using excess force to prosecute their dirty little war, but...

What did you expect?? Marines are trained to do two things -- kill and not be killed in the process. Marines are not trained to discriminate between active and nonactive combatants, the truly dangerous enemy and the faux fighter. From the outset of basic training at MCRD San Diego (or Paris Island), it's a "kill'em all and let Allah sort it out" mentality.

And that's exactly why the Marines were not significantly involved in Iraq until recently. It was the Army's tar baby. Except there wasn't enough Army to go around. So they bring in the trained killers to rotate out the Army personnel, and "keep the peace".

The problem is, Marines aren't schooled in the fine art of negotiation. Marines know total capitulation. Again, say it with me, it's a P-O-L-I-C-Y failure that resulted in Marines being in the Fallujah theatre in the first place. Which, in a "peacekeeping mission" is kind of like bringing in a SWAT Team to pacify a jaywalker.

There's an old saw that goes something like, "When the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail".