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I got an email the other day asking me if I thought American Troops would actually fire on Americans, here in America, if they were ordered to. It was from someone who was drafted in 67, had achieved the rank of Sergeant, and was being prepared to go, as a unit, to serve in a city as “riot control” for the democrat convention.
He asked the General announcing their proposed deployment, “do you mean shoot citizens?” and the General said, “Yes, shoot to kill, if necessary to defend lives”. He said that in his own heart, he determined at the time he would not do so.
Obama has proposed a civil corps with equivalent powers and training to the Military, with the expectation of it becoming a permanent part of our Nation. With that pronouncement, he caused a lot of reaction, none of it positive, and brought out serious questions as to what he intended to do which would require such a force, as there has never been any need of one since the War Between the States.
We haven’t heard anything about that force since then except in passing however a report has just come out detailing the establishment of three Brigades of Marine Military Police, a total of about 1500 Marines and many dozens of dogs.
The purpose of this has been put forth as primarily supporting the role of the Marines in both Iraq and Afghanistan, as they are now far more engaged in training police and civil forces, rather than the training of professional military forces, which was the primary focus for most of the years since the main objectives were realized.
These forces are proposed to be ready and in use for our near election, and if they are utilized as seems to be the intent, it will be the most invasive use of combat troops within the Nation since the War Between the States. It must be remembered, each and every Marine is trained as first, last, and always, a rifleman, willing and able to kill. No matter what training follows, that first dictate, taught from the first day in boot camp, must be followed up throughout other training. “Instant, willing obedience” is the standard always demanded, because no military personnel know where they will be tomorrow.
When the story was released in The Stars and Stripes, a military newspaper, one of those questioning this policy had this to say:
Gary Solis, a former Marine Corps prosecutor and judge who teaches law of war at Georgetown University, said Marines have already been doing this kind of work for years but now that it has been made more formal by the creation of the battalions, it could raise a host of questions, especially on the use of force. The law of war allows for fighters to use deadly force as a first resort, while police officers use it as a last resort.
If Marines are sent in to do law enforcement but are attacked, will they go back to being war-fighters? And if so, what are the implications? Solis asked.
"Am I a Marine or a cop? Can I be both?" he said. "Cops apply human rights law and Marines apply the law of war. Now that it's blended, it makes it tougher for the young men and women who have to make the decision as to when deadly force is not appropriate."
Durham said that military police understand that better than any Marine since they are trained in both.
"They are very comfortable with the escalation of force," he said. "MPs get that. It's fundamental to what we do."
As a Marine, there was almost nothing of “The Corps” I could have been asked to do that I would not have easily stated “I am very comfortable with that, I get it, it’s fundamental to what we do”.
That phrase should not be any comfort to anyone at all. Marines have the reputation of being the best in War because that is “what we do”. Only fools even consider it possible for a professional to de-escalate when those professionals are war-fighters, and their whole profession is focused on killing enemies, destroying them, leaving no resistance behind.
We sent a major to Non-Judicial punishment, closed his career, and forced his retirement because he knew he had an Iraqi policeman who was giving information to the enemy and he fired his pistol next to the Iraqi’s head, and got a confession, and saved his men. Does anyone really believe a well trained, combat experienced Marine would not do the same to an American Citizen, who is standing in defiance of him, on the street of one of our cities?
Contact Gunnery Sergeant John McClain, USMC, Retired.