Send anyone else
Not your children, eh, chickenhawks?
Someone Else's Child
By BOB HERBERT
Published: June 20, 2005
It has become clearer than ever that Americans do not want to fight George W. Bush's tragically misguided war in Iraq.
You can still find plenty of folks arguing that we have to stay the course, or even raise the stakes by sending more troops to the war zone. But from the very start of this war the loudest of the flag-waving hawks were those who were safely beyond military age themselves and were unwilling to send their own children off to fight.
It's easy to be macho when you have nothing at risk. The hawks want the war to be fought with other people's children, while their own children go safely off to college, or to the mall. The number of influential American officials who have children in uniform in Iraq is minuscule.
Most Americans want no part of Mr. Bush's war, which is why Army recruiters are failing so miserably at meeting their monthly enlistment quotas. Desperate, the Army is lowering its standards, shortening tours, increasing bonuses and violating its own recruitment regulations and ethical guidelines.
Americans do not want to fight this war.
What hasn't changed is the fact that the vast majority of the parents who support the war do not want their children to fight it. A woman in the affluent New York suburb of Ridgewood, N.J., who has a daughter in high school and a younger son, said: "I would not want my children to go. If there wasn't a war it would be different. I support the war and I think we need to be there. But it's not going well. It's becoming like Vietnam. It's a very bad situation. But we can't leave."
I don't know how you win a war that your country doesn't want to fight. We sent too few troops into Iraq in the first place and the number of warm bodies available for Iraq and other military missions going forward is dwindling alarmingly. The Bush crowd may be bellicose, but for most Americans the biggest contribution to the war effort is a bumper sticker that says "support our troops," and maybe a belligerent call to a talk radio station.
If the United States had a draft (for which there is no political sentiment), its warriors would be drawn from a much wider swath of the population, and political leaders would think much longer and harder before committing the country to war.
Herbert served in the US Army during the Vietnam War in Korea.
What isn't widely known is that there was limited combat during on the DMZ during 1967-68.
So the Army isn't a theory to him.
The problem is that the draft takes more of two groups, the middle class and the poor. The wealthy remain out of touch.
But I want to ask that woman a question: what makes your kids so fucking special? You support this war? Then why not send your kid? If we need to be there, we need your kid there. It isn't going to be other people's children forever. If you think this is important, then you, not your neighbor or the poor kid at Wal-Mart has to sacrifice. You. And if you are unwilling to make that sacrifice, then no one should be asked to do so.
posted by Steve @ 2:54:00 AM