An Open Letter to My Nephew Joining the Marines

Posted by Frankly Francis on December 27, 2010 under Social Issues/Politics | 2 Comments to Read

Hey Nephew – You’ve been talking about joining the Marines for a long time.  As you know, each time that you do, I grimace and then remind you that on my side of the family, we are Air Force men.  Your grandfather, your father, and I, your loving uncle, all served honorably in the USAF.

And if you have our aim, you should definitely avoid having anything to do with guns.  As your grandfather has pointed out, during his pistol training, trying his hardest, he couldn’t even hit the target.  Of course from that, we made note that should he ever go postal, as long as he was aiming at us we should be completely safe.

You joined the Marines and are expected to begin active duty soon, but can decline at any time before your report date.

You did, however, grant me an open ear to dissuade you.  And that is what I intend to do.  If this doesn’t do it, then I’ll have to come up with a better plan.  But if I fail to convince you not to do this thing, I will respect your decision as I have respected the decision of another nephew who previously joined the Army.

I was just old enough to have to register with the draft board during the Vietnam days.  I complied.  I was very opposed to our involvement in that war.  I decided that I would not serve in the military in any capacity and if drafted, I would relinquish my citizenship and move to another country.  Conventional wisdom suggests that wars and killing can be “just,” but there was nothing coming close to that in ‘Nam.

It turned out that I was never called to duty, but years later I voluntarily joined the military.  I followed orders and did my best to do a good job.  If you do decide to join, I know that you will do the same.  And under the present circumstances, that’s exactly why I don’t want you to join.

Let me say that I have nothing but respect and gratitude for those serving in America’s armed services.  I don’t say that because it is so politically correct to say it.  I say it because I have been there.

Here’s the way I see it – If you join the Marines, you will undoubtedly spend time in either Iraq or Afghanistan.  Let’s take a very abbreviated look at both:

America invaded Iraq because of the supposed threat of hidden WMD, because of the supposed Al Qaeda presence and because of the supposed threat of Iraq’s future actions against America.

Hitler pointed out that the bigger the lie, the more likely that the people will believe it.  Man, he sure was right.

There were no weapons of mass destruction.  Al Qaeda wasn’t there.  And we did a most un-American thing by making a pre-emptive strike against, at best, a mouse that might roar.

Of course, Al Qaeda is there now – our presence made sure of that.

Of course, we will be enmeshed in Iraq forever.

Frankly Francis score:  Unjust War 1 – Just War 0

We very quickly invaded Afghanistan after the despicable acts of terror on September 11, 2001.  The “supposed” purpose was to bring Osama Bin Laden to justice and remove the Al Qaeda supporting Taliban.  Well almost 10 years later that’s sure worked out swell, wouldn’t you say?  It’s at best another forever presence that will accomplish nothing.

Frankly Francis score:  Unjust War 2 – Just War 0

Frankly Francis Side Note:  And as long as I’ve mentioned our Enemy Number One, Sarah Palin has recently suggested that we hunt down the WikiLeaks front man like Bin Laden.  Seriously, or at least as seriously as one can take that statement, that should make the guy feel pretty safe and comfortable…

That’s Not the Worst of It
The number of innocent civilians killed by the U.S. military is staggering.  And I say this carefully and with the utmost of respect, but even conservatively, they are so massive that they make the number of innocents lost on 9/11 miniscule in comparison.

Maybe, underneath it all, it is revenge we are seeking…and if so, what is the ratio of other innocent deaths to our innocent deaths that we must achieve? 1:1, 2:1, 5:1, 10:1?  We are already far above those ratios.  So how many more innocent people must die to avenge our loss?

Perhaps There’s Worse Than That
The innocent civilians that survive American attacks have this nasty tendency to want revenge against us.  Thus, our very actions are creating more terrorists.  YIKES!

In Conclusion
I can only imagine, but it must be very difficult to kill another human being, even if they have it coming.  To kill innocent people must make life unbearable.

Your well intentioned uncle knows that you would never choose to suffer the blood of innocents at your own hands.  But if you join, at best you will be much closer to that process and at worst, a direct part.

And while I know that innocent casualties occur in any conflict, I can’t help but think that it is worse when the war was not just to begin with.

Again, I’ll respect your decision to join the military, but I urge you to consider my thoughts before you go off to war.

Your Loving Uncle,



  • john said,

    Francis, as usual very well done sir. A lot of young people want to honorably serve our country. We are blessed to have such outstanding young men and woman who will stand for our freedom and defend our rights as Americans. With that said a lot of young people don’t consider serving in the Coast Guard and it’s a great way to serve our country without going to war. The Coast Guard offers a lot of diverse assignment options land/sea/air etc. Lots of good career paths and education as well, just a thought to consider.

  • Frankly Francis said,

    Thanks John. And your point is excellent! The Coast Guard is the first line of “defense” of our soil. How Constitutional is that? Hadn’t really thought that through before, so thanks again for your thought.

Add A Comment