This is a hard one to write about, and I’ve been sitting on it for a while. As a former Marine, it hits uncomfortably close to home. The making of a Marine is not an elegant process; it’s messy, it’s violent, and it’s abusive. Not everyone survives it.
It seems each year we lose a handful of recruits during training, and that’s been the case for our entire history (a kid one week ahead of me in boot camp was killed in the boxing ring when I went through in 1987). This most recent incident has exposed many of the darker aspects of Marine Corps recruit training, and I’m purposely understating that.
The question I always come back to is that of cost. Warfare is a dirty business, and to prosecute it with anything less than precision savagery only prolongs civilian suffering. If you’re producing a Corps of warriors so effective that their mere reputation prevents a certain amount of violence in the world, what is the acceptable human cost of weaponizing those who would call themselves Marine?