Monday, February 04, 2013

Anybody's Son Will Do

Gwynne Dyer's wonderful documentary about war shows US Marine recruits at Parris Island waking up for their first morning of training.  Among other things, they are made to chant:

"...highly motivated, truly dedicated, rompin' stompin' blood-thirsty kill-crazy United States Marine Corps recruits, sir!"

Wow.  Volunteer military, so I guess they knew what they were getting into.  I wonder if they could get conscripts to scream that kind of thing.  I think I'd rather risk embarrassment and discomfort than say such a dreadful thing.  But I'm 38.  Maybe twenty years ago I would have.  Would have been poison in my mouth, or would there have been an animal thrill?

Dyer also wrote a book with similar themes, and one chapter describes boot camp in detail, about how strategic the chants, trials and humiliations are: they want to make young human beings capable of dreadful things.  The chapter is available here.

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