Thursday, March 27, 2008


Cincinnatus signed up for the Corps back in '03, we started our subscription to Leatherneck Magazine, which calls itself the "Magazine of the Marines" though that's in a pretty familial sense, since most of the news from the battlefield is a couple of months old and admittedly boosterish. Then there are the history articles, the profiles of people, places, weapon systems, and new books of interest. So it's not exactly the strategist's in-house organ. But we like it, and it still tells some hard truths.

Every month I make myself go to the page titled '
In Memoriam'. It usually falls somewhere past page 50. It begins with a black-bordered box which lists all Marines who have died, by whatever means (hostile or not) on active duty the previous month-- economical notices of the name, rank, age, home base, place and cause of death. That's followed by a page or more of notices of the passing of old vets, usually aged anywhere from 50 to 85, with obituary tributes of varying lengths.

In the worst of times these past five years the black box has taken up half or more of the first page. I make myself read every name and age, and the circumstances, and I try to imagine the pain of their families as the lives of their 18 and 19-year-old treasures, and a world of dreams for them, come to an abrupt halt.

Since early 2007 there has been a sea-change in the size of that box. It varies from month to month, but on the whole it has been
mercifully shrinking. The March 2008 issue of Leatherneck arrived last week. On page 58 we read the following:


Praise God.