Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Okay, now we're going crazy.

Dailykos has a fun bunch of posts about why avidly pro-war bloggers, radio personalities and preachers don't enlist or, at the very least encourage their audiences and supporters to enlist. The military has a bit of a recruiting crisis. It was easy when it was all about "free college" and "learning job skills" but now it's all about getting shot at in either Iraq or Afghanistan. The Reserves and National guard are especially hurt since the unspoken and unkept promise was always that it was exceedingly unlikely for them to be sent into battle.

But, is it really fair to those on the pro-war side to demand that they enlist, have their children enlist or be hypocrites?

It certainly sounds fair and it took my awhile to come up with why this notion is entirely wrong.

The military serves the civilian population. This is a good thing because there are plenty of countries around the world where the opposite is true (our "allies" in Pakistan, for example). The second you start saying that say, Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh should either sign up or shut up, you're making it logically impossible for yourself to vote against a President with no military service record. If a pundit who hasn't served can't be pro-war, then how can a pesident who has never served send troops into battle? Obviously, most people are fine with a president who has no, or a scant, service record. Clinton and Bush will rack up 16 years between them, after all. This will only get more common, of course, as we move away from the conscripted generations of the World Wars, Korea and Viet Nam.

Do I think that people who haven't or will never serve should be damned careful to think about the real people they're calling on to risk their lives and health? Of course. But whether you're on the left or the right, one thing that is true in America now and will hopefully be true in the future, is that civilians have the right not only to have an opinion about military operations but to ultimately direct military operations.

I still think the war in Iraq was wrong. The people who support it are wrong. But they surely have a right to their opinions, whether they served or not.


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