David H. Hackworth
6 Jan 98


"If the Army and the Navy ever looked at heaven's scenes, they will find the streets are guarded by United States Marines."

So goes the Marine's Hymn.

Maybe the heaven bit's a stretch, but as we enter 1998, the Marine Corps is the only outfit in Clinton's armed forces that can still fight the hard fight.

The Army, the Navy and the Air Force have caved into political pressure that has marginalized their fighting ability and made the often quoted statement that "America has the finest fighting force in the world" the biggest lie since the Pentagon said "Gulf War syndrome doesn't exist."

I'm an old Army doggy not a Marine. So saying this is out-right heresy and will cause a lot of Army loyalists to want to nail my dog tags to my forehead.

But I'll take the risk. Because if our armed forces continues to slide down the gender-bending tube -- which is destroying fighting spirit and driving out fighters -- we'll lose future battles, wars and eventually our freedom.

The Marine Corps hasn't rolled over as much as the other services. For example, it hasn't allowed the women's liberation army, led by such advocates for women in the trenches as former Congresswoman Pat Schroeder and former Assistant Secretary of the Army Sara Lister, to have their anti-warrior ethic way.

Schroeder, Lister and thousands of others who have never spent a night in a front-line foxhole believe that GI Janes should have the same opportunity as GI Joes to fill bodybags. This way, they figure, women will have equality and can someday become Colleen Powells and Norma Schwarzkopfs.

These misguided and tireless fighters for female equality-opportunity have become so obsessed with liberating women that they've forgotten the purpose of our military is to defend America.

Defending America starts in the front lines, where it's always inhumanly brutal. And getting young women in the front lines as grunts has been their endgame. Since the Vietnam War, the Schroeders and Listers brilliantly picked away to get your daughter -- not theirs-- on the killing field.

They have been far more strategic and effective than the weak-kneed politicians and the senior brass who swapped their souls for stars and went along with these fanatical hare-brained ideas.

First the "feminnazis" integrated Air Force basic training, then the Army went coed, while the Navy, in an attempt to deflect the bad press from Tailhook, surrendered in 1994.

But the Corps stood tall and said "No way. Won't work."

And now the Corps can say "I told you so."

A panel led by former Sen. Nancy Kasselbaum Baker recently concluded that the Army, Navy and the Air Force should stop coed training because "integrated basic training is resulting in less discipline, less unit cohesion and more distraction"

The Marines fought this wrong-headed thinking from the beginning. They said sex would get in the way. The liberating liberals counterattacked and said Marine leadership was prehistoric and out of touch with American society.

The proof of the pudding that the Marines were right can be easily measured. Their morale and combat readiness are the best. Unlike the others, recruits are rushing to join and its quit rate is a fraction of the other services. For example, 37 percent of all first hitch Army enlistees quit before their enlistment is up and male noncoms and junior officers are deserting squadrons, ships and battalions as if there were a post-war demobilization.

This exodus in our best and brightest talent is gutting combat effectiveness and costing the taxpayers billions of dollars.

I receive over a 1,000 e-mails a week from service personnel. Most are rightfully grousing about bad leadership and conditions and lousy readiness. Few of these letters are from Marines.

Dozens of times a week, young men ask me to recommend a branch of the service. My answer: If you want to be challenged and forge stronger values, better character and develop into a better person, join the Marines.

As the Marines say, they won't promise a rose garden, but they'll give you something you won't find in any of the other services --and that's being in an outfit with strong leaders who have the guts to stand up to confused crusaders in order to keep doing the right thing for the Marine Corps and America.

The End