July 14, 2008, - 10:23 pm

Scary Claim: More Than 1/2 U.S. Troops in Iraq Raised on Springer, Marilyn Manson, Hip-Hop

By Debbie Schlussel
There’s been a lot of hype over the new HBO miniseries, “Generation Kill,” which debuted Sunday Night. It is about the Marines of the First Reconnaissance Battalion that led the drive into Iraq on the road to Baghdad, and features actors playing the parts of allegedly real Marines, in whose unit writer Evan Wright was imbedded. The show is based on his book.
While I did not see the show–and that is not important to the point of this post–the Wall Street Journal’s great Dorothy Rabinowitz reviewed it, and she notes some interesting–no, scary–info that Wright compiled about the real-life troops with whom he traveled:


Say It Ain’t So: U.S. Troops Raised On Them?

(Springer, Left; “Friend” & Manson, Right)

More than half these troops, Mr. Wright has noted in his book, came from broken homes or were raised by absentee parents. The film’s dialogue, we’re assured — it’s not a heartening thought — accurately represents the speech of these Marines, raised on hip-hop, Marilyn Manson and Jerry Springer. Team leader Sgt. Brad Colbert (Alexander Skarsgard), age 28, and called “The Iceman” — a tribute to his calm — likes Barry Manilow and solitude, tastes not widely shared in the platoon.

Is this accurate? Surely there must be many more soldiers like Sgt. Colbert. I can’t believe that the majority of enlisted Americans are products of Manson (a/k/a Brian Warner), Springer, rap, and single mother households. If that’s truly the case, then Dorothy Rabinowitz is correct: It isn’t heartening. It’s frightening.
We have to keep in mind that it’s written by a liberal journalist, and they generally have negative agendas in what they write. But Rabinowitz, a long-time conservative, says the series (after Sunday’s first episode) is worthy. So maybe it is accurate.
I’d welcome the comments of soldiers serving in Iraq or who have served in Iraq regarding the veracity of Wright’s claims. Accurate?
**** UPDATE, 07/15/08: Reader Louis, a “former” Marine (you’re a Marine ’til you die) writes:

I read your article on “Generation Kill”. I haven’t seen it and don’t care too. I didn’t fight in Iraq but I did serve in the Marines back in the ’90’s. All I can tell you is the guys I served with were great for the most part BUT our troops come from society and they are a reflection of society. From what I gathered in your article it seems the premise is these guys are white trash losers who had nothing else to do but engage in a filthy job in the Marines. Springer’s show is base, smut and Manson is demonic. Do the math. It’s called “Generation Kill” that title tells me everything.
I’ve yet seen a movie where it captures the love, yes I said love, and friendship between Marines. It’s something I haven’t felt since I got out unless I meet up or talk with those I served with. Guys like that reporter and those of his ilk fail to understand the mind of a Marine. There are things worse than death. They are these: losing a battle, abandoning your men in battle, living in safety when they are in danger and taking an action to preserve your life while your fellow Marines die. These are unbearable. Many Americans don’t understand this. I’ve seen the most “squared away” and the biggest “sh#&birds” become one and the same during moments of crisis. You couldn’t tell who was who! They were all “squared away” and ready to fight. Because all the hip hop, smut and crap society gives is drowned out by drumbeats of heroism of past Marines and the desire to not let them and their fellow Marine down. It’ll take a Marine to make a good Marine movie.
Thank you for what you do. I do pray that the Lord will look over you and protect you from the enemy and not one hair from your pretty blonde ( I say this with respect) head gets touched!
Semper Fi,

Thanks, Louis. Good points.

15 Responses

Hey Deb, my cousin serves in Iraq and is on his 3rd tour there. both his parents are still married and we come from a long line of families who have proudly served in the armed services. He is a real man who’s been married for 9 years and has 3 beautiful daughters. having grown up with him,I can assure you that we had a great childhood full of Boyscout meetings, softball games with the family and summers at the Boys and Girls Club of El Paso. We all support him and always have gatherings not only to send him off, but to welcome him home. Nothing unusual here. It must be Hollywierd trying to blow an issue out of proportion to make a buck.

tita2juju on July 14, 2008 at 11:09 pm

I think our troops are a lot better than they’re given credit for. Yeah – a great deal is made of the few who may have committed atrocities in Iraq and disgraced their uniform. What goes unmentioned is the patriotism, self sacrifice and commitment to serving country and flag of the hundreds of thousands of America’s troops now in Iraq. The tendency of the media is to exaggerate and report all the bad news. What they won’t tell viewers and readers is about the heroism of those who put their lives on the line to keep our country free. Its their story that deserves to be more widely known.

NormanF on July 14, 2008 at 11:10 pm

[I can’t believe that the majority of enlisted Americans are products of Manson (a/k/a Brian Warner), Springer, rap, and single mother households. If that’s truly the case, then Dorothy Rabinowitz is correct: It isn’t heartening. It’s frightening.]
Life happens, and our troops are doing a pretty good job dealing with it. The fact we have a voluntary force that so many young people are willing to join is quite a testament. So personally, I wouldn’t worry about the influence of hip hop, Marilyn Manson, and single mother homes. And doesn’t Jerry Springer end his show by saying “Be good to yourselves and each other?” At least that’s one good thing people can learn from his show.:)

Norman Blitzer on July 15, 2008 at 12:13 am

Read the review from Outside the Wire filmmaker. He says the soldiers always “perform” for whoever is “studying” them.

PJ on July 15, 2008 at 12:33 am

I just wish these rats would leave our military alone. We’re a nation at war, and this kind of crap, IMO, isn’t needed.

Jackson Pearson on July 15, 2008 at 1:08 am

Since most of the actual ground troops doing the work tend to skew young 18-24, then yes they would indeed be children of 90’s. Sometimes its hard to realize how much time has passed, but an 18year old specialist would have been born in 1990, a year after I graduated high school. Also, you do have to realize that most people tend to “perform” for who is observing them, so take that with a grain of salt too. The PBS series “Carrier” was a much better picture into the military. They are just regular people, not supermen and we have to realize that.

DShenise on July 15, 2008 at 8:52 am

It would be great if we had more reporters, or any reporters for that matter, who were prior military. If half of American marriages end in divorce, then how is this observation that half of our troops come from broken homes some sort of brilliant observation?
I had a Sgt. in the Army that read comic books and watched Wrestlemania, yet also had a Corporal with a college degree and two years of Tulane Law School completed, so what is her point?
A Black kid from East St. Louis is more likely going to be Army and a white kid from rural Kentucky is more likely to be a Marine. The Marines advertise this silly fantasies about slaying dragons with a sword and the Army advertises silly fantasies about being skilled and experienced for the private sector after your discharge.
The Armed Forces are nothing more than a cross section of the American People. You’ll find the same kids at a any Mall or a High School, where do you think the recruiters find them?

code7 on July 15, 2008 at 9:44 am

Geez…. what the hell is it with these idiots in Hollyweird?! We have the best trained, most educated ALL VOLUNTEER military on the planet. Our heroes in uniform are fighting, suffering, and in some cases, dying to protect our way of life. Why? Beacuse they believe in what they are doing! And how does our slovenly media reward such sacrifice? What trash. There are two major cities on the west coast that could easily be mistaken for a modern day Sodom & Gomorrah. As the story unfolds, I can only hope that, like the biblical account, they will reap what they sow!

FreeAmerican on July 15, 2008 at 9:48 am

On a positive note; maybe it’s a good thing. Maybe the troops being given this garbage will become more blood thirsty and kill faster and more efficiently! That is gooooood! A happy work force is a good work force. Maybe that’s just me.

samurai on July 15, 2008 at 10:06 am

Debbie, you can’t believe all the stuff you read. This series is just out to get ratings. Its not intended to be a serious look at American Marines.

PrincessKaren on July 15, 2008 at 10:55 am

I tried to watch Gen. Kill, and it was totally unwatchable. I had programmed my DVR to record the series, and I promptly cancelled that series after seeing about 30 minutes of the first episode. It is stupid, it has terrible writing and it’s a low-rent Jarhead.

cankelz on July 15, 2008 at 11:37 am

Since Vietnam Hollywood has made movies that make the military look like zombie losers being lead by demonic officers. I don’t even bother with them.
As a former Marine, the only show that I have ever seen that truly captures the spirit of the Corps was Gomer Pyle. Now stop laughing and watch one. True it was just a tv show but it was heart warming and the Marines were good guys. My favorite episode was the one with Carol Burnett as a Woman Marine that Gomer helped to become more lady like. It was cute and I loved the show.
Also, was it not to long ago we got lectured by the left due to Murphy Brown being an unwed mother that growing up in a single parent home was good not bad. It seems the left can never stay on course.

formerwm on July 15, 2008 at 12:04 pm

I’d like to see a documentary on the public school monopoly what with all the sub-average intelligence perverts parked there doing damage to young children by actual acts AND by omission. Most public school educa-tors are too lazy and/or ignorant to actually teach what they’re supposed to teach. Let’s have an investigation about the state of government education.
I have more faith in our military than a public school parasite any day.

lexi on July 15, 2008 at 12:20 pm

Debbie, and most especially Louis, thank you thank you thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! for Louis’ letter.
That’s one of the most inspiring writing I’ve read here or elsewhere in a long time.
Thank you so much, Louis. I am eternally grateful to you and your service.
BTW, if you haven’t seen it, I always wholeheartedly recommend “The Great Raid.” I saw it after reading Debbie’s great recommendation and have it on DVD. After all this time I still don’t have a dry eye after watching it.

Jeff_W on July 15, 2008 at 12:32 pm

Ehh, doesn’t bother me much, they are jsut a product of the times right? And the fact that they volunteered to serve I think outweighs their taste in music and t.v. shows no?

mindy1 on July 15, 2008 at 10:44 pm

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