WASHINGTON, DC - General James T. Conway, Commandant of the United States Marine Corps has been seen strutting the halls of the Pentagon with a cat-ate-the-mouse grin.
This past Thursday, U.S. Senators Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina), Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia), Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-Oklahoma), John Cornyn (R-Texas), James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), and David Vitter (R-Louisiana) introduced the Semper Fi Act of 2008.
The Semper Fi Act of 2008 will, in short, rescind over $2 million in hidden earmarks for Berkeley, California in the 2008 Omnibus Appropriations bill, and transfer the funds to the Marine Corps. U.S. Congressman John Campbell (R-California) is introducing a companion bill in the House of Representatives.
General Conway is not smiling just because the money will help the over-stretched Marine Corps, but because he orchestrated the entire episode leading up to the introduction of the Act.
Last week, the City Council of Berkeley voted to oust Marine Corps recruiters from their downtown office, saying the Marines were "uninvited and unwelcome intruders." Berkeley officials also voted to give the radical protest group Code Pink space outside the recruitment office and urged them to "impede, passively or actively" the work of Marine Corps recruiters.
Little did the members of the City Council realize that they were pawns in General Conway's search for new income streams for the small armed force.
On assuming the position of Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Conway created a special office buried deep in the Marine Corps HQ structure and located at the Marine Barracks Washington, also known as "8th & I." Conway thought it appropriate that an undisclosed, "black" policy think tank be located at the oldest active post in the Marine Corps: new Marine Corps funding plans coming from the pomp and ceremony of 8th and I.
Today at the National Press Club, Coast Guard Commandant Thad Allen told the assembled crowd he was impressed with the work and planning of General Conway's team in orchestrating the opposition to the Marine Corps.
"How the General was able to get those radical progressives of the Berkeley City Council to support such a statement of free speech, I don't know," said Admiral Allen. "Little did they realize there are ramifications for free speech; even Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., understood that."
Admiral Allen went on to say that he had created a similar policy think tank, to be headed by Dr. Steven B. Wehrenberg, an internal policy pundit currently working on capability development. The group met recently to identify cities which might be ripe for a similar move on the part of the Coast Guard.
"We've asked Grand Haven, Michigan, to do something," remarked Allen. He noted that it would take something "really stupid" against the Coast Guard so that funds earmarked for the city would flow to the Coast Guard. "A true Coast Guard City would take one for the Team," said Allen.
When asked about the Coast Guard's plans, General Conway merely smiled and pressed on, his entourage of aides struggling to keep up.