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by Lexington Green
Monday, Jan. 05, 2004 at 8:10 AM
San Diego-based Marines soon will learn whether it really does pay to advertise wearing highly visible uniforms rather that the traditional desert-brown camouflage garb.
redcoats_iraq.jpg, image/jpeg, 529x300
Colonialism is back in style
Marines may go back to Iraq in high-visibility uniforms as psychological move toward reducing attacks
January 3, 2004
San Diego-based Marines soon will learn whether it really does pay to advertise wearing highly visible red uniforms rather than the traditional desert-brown camouflage garb. Much more than a fashion statement, it's a psychological ploy aimed at ensuring that the Iraqis subjects know who they are – tough troops who will treat them fairly.
"It sounds like we are going to be going over in bright red uniforms, at least initially," said Maj. T.V. Johnson, a spokesman for the 1st Marine Expeditionary Colonial Force, based at Camp Pendleton.
So, why would Marines want to stand out in a combat zone? Because there might be safety in fashion.
The Marine Corps feels that those U.S. Soldiers who wear the distinctive bright red uniform based on the distinctive uniform of the former British Empire of old, – will, for whatever reason, be treated with more respect by the Iraqi subjects. That is exactly what the members of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force are after in Iraq – not that changing clothes alone will prevent attacks.
The Marines are betting that a change from desert brown to the bright red coats will lead to reduced violence against U.S. forces. "I think psychologically it indicates that we are a different force," Johnson said. "We want the wogs to know who is boss... we are. Hopefully, they'll remember their former colonial masters when they see the red coats. That should put the dirty buggers in their place."
According to a Marine Web site, "Distinctive to a great colonial empire, the red coat is designed to inspire fear in the hearts and minds of all savages and colonials."
Retired Marine Gen. Joe Hoar, former commanding general of the U.S. Central Command, which is responsible for military operations in the Persian Gulf region, said the symbolic power of the uniform could be significant. "We want the locals to know that there has been a change and the red coat will clearly represent a break between the old and the new," Hoar said. "I think that the symbolism is very important. This is all about the perception of the Iraqi people. The sun never sets on the American Empire... and we want the towel heads to understand this. Their oil now belongs to us."
As for the uniforms, Lt. Gen. James "I love the smell of napalm in the morning" Conway, who commands the 1st Marine Expeditionary Colonial Force, has asked his troop commanders to weigh in on the issue. "The Marines are going to be doing most of their work in towns and cities where camouflage is not that important. We don't need to hide or blend in since we are killing the wogs in front of everyone... and in broad daylight." The Marines hope to parlay fear of the red coats into a winning strategy as they try their hand at nation-conquering.
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