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Last Sunday, St Martin’s Eve, was also the 238th birthday of the US Marine Corps, a naval infantry whose ranks have included many Irish.
Lt Presley O’Bannon was the first leatherneck to raise the Stars and Stripes over foreign soil and a replica of the Mameluke sword given him by a Libyan sheik will be used by the commandant to cut the cake at the festivities in Washington, DC.
Like most jarheads, I retain a love/hate relationship with the corps and the country whose imperialism it protects and projects around the globe. As a sergeant in the killing fields of Indo-China, I endured the nightmare of seeing one out of every two young Marines killed or wounded.
For what? Now Vietnamese sweat shops produce trendy Nikes and Timberland boots. The Red Chinese hordes, who Marines were supposed to be “containing” in Korea and Vietnam so they wouldn’t rape south east Asia like they did Tibet, now, along with the Japanese, hold all of America’s bad debts.
Only 19 US servicemen have been awarded two Congressional Medals of Honor. Dan Daly and Smedley Butler were the only two Marines so honoured. Retiring after 34 years, Major General Butler likened his career to being “high class muscle, a gangster for capitalism,” quashing legitimate independence movements for the benefit of Wall Street. I raise a Guinness to you, general. Semper Fi!
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