Other reasons the Moon makes more sense than Mars
I agree in principle that going to the Moon makes much more sense than Mars:
1. Do we really want China to have a monopoly on the moon?
2. Astronomy - rather easier to do a Hubble type telescope repair/upgrade if it (and other Astronomy satellites) were at a moon base. You could also use/reuse/adapt them for much longer instead of burning them up in the atmosphere when they run out of fuel.
3. Learning to survive off-planet without going all the way to Mars where you are probably beyond rescue if things go badly wrong.
4. Nuclear waste dump anyone?
But moon dust may be a barrier. It seems to be a bigger problem than most people realize, not sure if Mars dust would also present issues?