Writing in the Washington Post this past September, the usually insightful columnist George Will claimed that
America’s ongoing messy missions in Iraq and elsewhere had generated tension within its Corps of Marines. “No service was better prepared than the Marines for the challenges of post-invasion Iraq,” he concluded, “yet no service has found its mission there more unsettling to its sense of itself.”
It is not that the Corps did not want to be in the fight, or that it had better things to do. But its naval character has taken a back seat to fighting the virulent resistance in an extended land campaign, and some core competencies are waning. Today, on the institution’s 232nd birthday, we should amplify Mr. Will’s observations with a deeper understanding of the Corps’ past and most likely future.