How to be an asshole in one easy step
I know as much about the military as
No, learning about the miliary might help us....................................
Many, many comments and e-mails, particularly from friends in the military also disputed my characterization that there wasn't a draft, arguing that they or their friends and family were indeed hostage to various administration and military policies preventing people from leaving the military in order to fill the ranks.
I'm sure that that is an unfortunate personal captivity for many. But I have no sympathy and it is not a draft.
Those people joined the military. They signed a contract, a contract that even when I joined the military in 1974 obligated a certain amount of active and reserve duty. If there are those who joined the Guard or reserves with the belief in the benefits without the duty, even bad duty, that's too bad. All I'm hearing is that people wanted to take advantage of the military, of the government and are now upset that the government or the military wanted equally to take advantage of them.
I'm not in favor of a draft. But look on the bright side of the Iraq war: Perhaps more and more people will think twice before joining the military in the future. Perhaps more and more people will question wars of policy and choice.
That assumes an engaged populace. The other possibility is that the military will continue to be a minor part of society and increasingly attract the conservative and the desperate, making it even more distant from the mainstream.
He writes about....national security and has contempt for the soldiers who do the work? Wow. I bet he doesn't have much to say to Rick Atkinson or Tom Ricks. And he's a former soldier. Well, yes, these people wanted to use the Army, because that is what they were sold. They were told this was the ticket to college, and a useful adult life. It's not like they could get factory work any more. They have few options. And the military downplayed that deal as much as they could. So when Iraq started, they reminded people, people who resigned their commissions and were no longer eligible to be recalled as IRR.
Ok, stop loss is an abuse of the contract the servicemember signs, which is four years active, and four years reserve. To be held on active duty after your tour of duty violates the kind of compact which the military needs to fill it's ranks.
A little self awareness would be nice. I mean, when he joined up in 1974, I bet it wasn't from a surfeit of choices in his life. I don't think he chose the military over college for some reason.
The military has ALWAYS attracted the desperate. Always. James Gavin was an orphan, Bradley and Eisenhower farmboys, Colin Powell, a scholarship student from a working class family. America's generals are a collection of poor kids done well.
When Custer died at the Little Big Horn, many of his men were immigrants who couldn't find other work or ex-confederates.
America's military has not changed it's social composition in 226 years. It is the poor and working class led by the lower middle class. I'm sitting right here, watching Army recruiters lying about the risks of service, telling kids that the war was over and they're bringing people back from Iraq. Telling them that it's more dangerous in New York City than Iraq.
It's amazing Arkin can toss off what is a legitimate concern of fairness in who serves.
Oh, and about this conservative thing, look at who is running for office. How many are Democratic veterans. So stop spreading a myth which isn't valid. You don't get a GOP registration with your enlistment.
posted by Steve @ 12:30:00 AM