Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.

Marine Corps boot camp is renowned for turning young men and women from civilians into Marines. It is rightfully known as the most rigorous recruit training in the US military, but for some drill instructors, it just wasn't tough enough.

The Washington Post recently obtained documents detailing incidents wherein over 20 Marines have been disciplined for misconduct just at MCRD San Diego, one of two recruit depots, since 2017. That year is relevant, because Marine recruit training was supposed to be reset after the 2016 suicide death of Pvt. Raheel Siddiqui, who killed himself after being viciously hazed, which included racial and ethnic slurs and being put in an industrial clothes dryer.

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A U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighter looks as smoke billows after an airstrike hit territory still held by Islamic State militants in the desert outside Baghouz, Syria, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019. (Associated Press/Felipe Dana)

Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.

I grew up with the idea that Americans were the "good guys." I don't think that's unusual. That's how most Americans see themselves. America is, or at least was, continually pursuing a more perfect union. Our history is not unblemished, but even as Americans sometimes criticize their own country, there is generally an unspoken "We're better than that."

We see ourselves as upholding a higher standard. We aren't just some overgrown banana republic. We're a "shining city on a hill."

Lately, though, it seems that many see wearing a white hat as a liability; that having long-standing allies, acting with honor, and obeying international law are just holding the U.S. back from unleashing large quantities of whoop-ass upon those who deserve it.

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Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.

After Europe spent itself fighting two world wars, America stepped in to fill the vacuum. The Soviet Union filled the bit that America couldn't. Having nuclear weapons and a large, if poor quality, conventional force gave it superpower status. After 50 years, though, the Soviet Union couldn't pay for all the trappings that superpower status demanded.

Now known as Russia, it's living in a trailer while drunk driving a 15 year old Cadillac Escalade around the neighborhood while yelling "I used to BE somebody!" out the window and rocking out to Motley Crue.

We are rapidly approaching a similar point. The United States is going further into debt each year. Even with a rapidly growing economy, the deficit has ballooned to over $1 trillion. When the business cycle eventually tanks, it will get even worse.

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Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.

Forty years ago today, Apocalypse Now was released. As they say, it was kind of a big deal at the time, and actually it still is. Unlike some other movies about Vietnam released soon after the war, Apocalypse Now still largely stands up, unlike, say, The Deer Hunter, which is damn near unwatchable today. I know. I tried. Even Christopher Walken can't make two hours in rural Pennsylvania exciting.

Apocalypse Now might be the first example of people in the military turning a movie meant to highlight the horrors of war into a motivational video about killing the enemy.

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In this March 12, 2016, file photo, Marines of the U.S., left, and South Korea, wearing blue headbands on their helmets, take positions after landing on a beach during the joint military combined amphibious exercise, called Ssangyong, part of the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle military exercises, in Pohang, South Korea. (Associated Press/Yonhap/Kim Jun-bum)

Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.

Marines haven't exactly shaken their reputation as crayon-eating meatheads in recent years. Just look to the many scandals over cultural issues like misogynistic Facebook pages and Marines United.

But the Corps recently got a new Commandant, Gen. David Berger. Berger has jumped into the fire with both feet. Only a few days on the job, he has put out a series of initiatives in his Commandant's Planning Guidance (CPG) that point to a period of great change for the Corps.

Through its 243 years, the Corps has had to reinvent itself countless times.

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Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.

The commander of the US Navy Special Operations Command, Rear Admiral Collin Green, issued a letter to his subordinates last week telling them that there is a problem with discipline within the SEALs that must be addressed immediately. It's been obvious for awhile that there is something dysfunctional within special operations generally, and naval special warfare in particular.

Special operations forces are famously afforded latitude in certain regulations not given to conventional forces. Those are supposed to be for legitimate operational reasons, such as modified grooming and uniform standards for working with indigenous forces. They aren't supposed to be a reward for being "special."

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