Ok, so why exactly would we expect McCain to oppose the bill... just because he was in the Navy? I mean, that's only peripheral to the story, but it seems like a silly assumption to me.
A quiet, nine-year effort to give the Marine Corps equal billing in the Department of the Navy went high profile Thursday with a Capitol Hill news conference featuring retired Marine generals, a wounded Marine, parents of Marines and a Hollywood star.
The event was aimed at giving momentum to a perennial effort by Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., to expand the name of the department and its secretary to the "Navy and Marine Corps."
Jones, whose district is home to two Marine Corps facilities, Camp Lejeune and the Cherry Point air station, has introduced legislation to change the department's name every year since 2001.
Although the proposal has been included in the House defense authorization bill every year, it has never been accepted by the Senate, largely because of the opposition of former Sen. John Warner, R-Va., a Marine Corps veteran and former Navy secretary who was Senate Armed Services chairman or ranking member for many years. With Warner retired, the main obstacle may be Senate Armed Services ranking member John McCain, R-Ariz., a retired Navy captain.
But really, who out there feels burnt up about the fact that there's no Department of the Marine Corps? Well, I guess this guy:
"We'll always be part of the Navy, but we'll always be Marines," said retired Marine Sgt. Eddie Wright, who lost both hands in Iraq. "We're out there fighting, putting our butts on the line. I don't see anything wrong with a little recognition."See, that's the thing, though: the Marine Corps is not "part of the Navy." (Interestingly, the British Royal Marines are a part of the Royal Navy). It's just part of the Department of the Navy. The Navy is a service, and the Marine Corps is a service. The Department of the Navy is a military department, and there is (obviously) no Department of the Marine Corps.
I don't suppose I'd have any big problem with it if they changed the name, but really, why bother? I guess I just have a difficult time understanding why anyone feels slighted about this.
I wonder if anybody's asked Jim Webb what he thinks about this. Sen. Webb, after all, was a Marine officer in Vietnam, and later served as SecNav in the Reagan administration.