You cannot deny the Return of the Peacetime, Steward.
Okay so I’m sort of mixing Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones references here, but whatever.
I put up Tuesday’s comic and had this two part series planned despite President Obama’s State of the Union address later that night; where he mentioned that he is still seeking Authorized Use of Military Force against the Islamic State. Of course, only the future will tell if that actually comes to fruition, but regardless, there is a generational shift occurring both literally and more abstractly. While conflict still rages on in the middle east, it doesn’t appear that the Marine Corps is preparing for another 14 year war when you consider the current draw down trend. The Corps is shifting back into expeditionary mode, and away from regular deployment cycles.
However, with the President seeking AUMF against ISIL, one wonders if peacetime will ever really mean the same thing it did prior to 9/11. I remember growing up in the 90’s and seeing films with military backdrops, Marines standing around with little more than one or two ribbons to show for their service. The height of the war on terror was a great time to be enlisted, with up to $80,000 re-up bonuses and plenty of deployment opportunities to choose from. Those wonderful Bush years, where the funding flowed like wine, are gone.
This week we also got to see official confirmation of the next Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, SgtMaj Ronald Green.
Naturally, the Facebooks and the Twitters exploded with questions about why a Marine with no combat experience was fit to lead the Marine Corps over anyone else. To me, this move made the Return of the Peacetime all the more clear. The hard men and women who fought and survived the brutality of Iraq and Afghanistan are no longer needed. As combat deployments disappear, the dichotomy of experience levels will continue to blur, with combat or no combat no longer being a relevant measure of potential or success.
Keep in mind, these are just jovial musings and observations on my part. I have no opinion on the man, I’m sure he’s a great leader.
Regardless, there is a cultural shift afoot, and short of starting World War III, there’s not much you can do to stop it. Garrison Marine Corps will come back in full force (if it hasn’t already), and without the looming shadow of combat overhead, things will just be stupid.
Welcome to the suck.
The garrison suck.