- By Thomas E. RicksThomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I like Task & Purpose, but I thought an article it ran about how the Marine Corps could have had a little fun with comedian Sarah Silverman’s concern about hazing in boot camp was off base. “What if, instead of placating Silverman’s fears, the Corps decided to have a little fun with it?” the author asked. For example, he suggests that the Marines respond, “Congratulations. You’ve just volunteered your nephew for special duty in AFGHANISTAN.”
Wrong answer, of course. But instead of writing bland assurances, as the writer says the Marines did, I think the better course would have been to invite Ms. Silverman to visit boot camp — night or day, anywhere she wants to go, just give us notice of where you are on the post. This is pretty much the deal the Corps gave me when I wrote Making the Corps some twenty years ago. Of course, I didn’t see everything. But I tended to hear about it in quiet moments months later, when the recruits had left boot camp.
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