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November 15, 2006

A Marine Corps Birthday Present

Kevin E. Dayhoff

The United States Marine Corps has had significant participation in every American armed conflict since November 10, 1775; and its role as a rapid deployment force to fully defend our nation against terrorist threats and to effectuate foreign policy has never been more important than today.

Recently there have been discussions advanced for the Marines "to increase its overall size by 3,000 to 5,000 Marines - a boost service officials say could allow for the reconstitution of key units abolished during the post-Cold War drawdown," as reported in the November 7 edition of

As the challenges remain tough in the war against terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq, the strain on our military capacity and resilience continues.

However, considering the takeover of both houses of Congress by the Democrats, much is up in the air as to the future of our resolve, defense readiness, not to mention, just what will evolve as to our military direction in Iraq.

The conventional wisdom is that the Democrats will quickly learn that criticizing from the cheap seats is much easier than sitting in the leadership positions.

At some point Americans are going to wake up to the fact that we voted for the Democrats for their criticism and not for their plan. Now we need to see a plan.

Soon enough the Democrats are going to learn the hard-cold reality that there are very few good options available as we enter the fifth year of the hot war against terrorism.

To this end, the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and the president extension of an olive branch to Democrats in Congress, is brilliant because sooner rather than later they will learn that Secretary Rumsfeld and President Bush are not the problem.

Terrorists are the problem and they are not going to go away as a result of the cooperation of a sycophant main stream media, political polls or empty political slogans and sound bites.

Prussian military strategist Karl von Clausewitz said that the goal of war is for one side to compel its enemy to surrender to its will - by a combination of horrific brute force and psychological warfare.

The New York Times is conducting the psychological warfare against us and that may or may not work; however, Iraqi insurgents, terrorists and al-Qaeda are not going to surrender to the Armani-armor of Speaker of the House-apparent Nancy Pelosi or the Howard Dean scream.

Meanwhile, what will work against the terrorists are initiatives like the construction of the USS New York, which is built with 24 tons of scrap steel from the World Trade Center, and is about 45 percent complete. It is the fifth of a new class of warship designed for missions that include special operations against terrorists.

This 684-foot vessel is just the stuff needed to rapidly deploy and "compel an enemy to surrender to your will." It will carry a crew of 360 sailors and 700 combat-ready Marines to be delivered ashore by helicopters and assault craft and she should be ready for launch in mid-2007.

It is precisely the kind of thinking that has brought forth this new class of warship that is in the best interests of our national defense.

According to, the "Pentagon's 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review, Rumsfeld's blueprint for the future of the military, calls for a corps of 175,000 Marines. The service's fiscal year 2007 base budget pays for a force of this size."

The article reported that the latest thinking is to increase the size of the Marines by another infantry regiment. That would mean a total force strength of 180,000 Marines.

Earlier in the year the Marine Corps commandant - Gen Michael Hagee - had argued for this force expansion and, according to, had "publicly broke(n) ranks with (Secretary) Rumsfeld over the issue."

On November 6, a new commandant, Gen. James Conway took over.

Hopefully, the Democrats, the new Secretary of Defense - Robert Gates - and General Conway can quickly get on the same page and include as part of "the plan" increasing the size of the Marine Corps in order for our nation to be adequately prepared for the conflicts of the future and best defend our national security.

Happy Birthday, Marines. For Corps and Country, Semper Fi.

Kevin Dayhoff writes from Westminster: E-mail him at:

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