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June 16, 2006

The Noble American Soldier and Jack Murtha

I find the idea that a person who enlists to serve this country in the military is necessarily deserving of "hero" status, or even, for that matter, deserving of respect for their choice, fallacious.

A quick digression:

The Vietnam War deserves harsh criticism, no matter what modern day conservatives say. It was noble in its purpose - it can't be faulted for that. But a military draft?! Give me a break. That's the absolute worst example of slavery: a government forcing people to either kill or be killed in its service. The very first step in defending a country is having a country worthy of being defended - and a military draft goes a long, long, LONG way toward making even America unworthy of defense.

I remember some talk a couple of years ago about Canadians building a statue to honor the Americans who crossed the border into Canada to avoid the military draft. I wish I knew where to send my $1 to support building the statue, as those people fleeing the draft were supporting the true American Way in that they wouldn't acquiesce to such a dramatic violation of the American Way. (Along side it, however, I'd like to see a statue to the tens of thousands of brave Canadians who crossed the border into America to join the American military to pursue the noble cause of the Vietnam War.)

What makes this country, America, so much greater today (in one respect) than it was in the early 70s and prior is that our military is entirely volunteer.

Volunteers for the military come primarily in these categories:

1) Those signing up to fight for the American Way: Freedom, truth, justice, capitalism (all qualities which cannot exist if any one of the others dies).

2) Those signing up to fight to protect the lives and the property of their fellow Americans, their families, and themselves.

3) Those signing up for pay, usually including college scholarships and other benefits.

4) A combination of the above.

Those whose reason is exclusively that of pay and benefits (#3, above) are on even footing with mercenaries. They're also on even footing with people who take any other kind of job - such as working for McDonald's - and are no more deserving of honor (nor less) than a McDonald's employee.

Those who sign up in order to protect The American Way, #1 above, deserve the highest levels of respect, followed by those who sign up for reason #2.

Another digression on Vietnam:

We've all heard horror stories about Americans perpetrating the worst kinds of atrocities in Vietnam, most of which are specious accusations at best. However, when the pool of fighting soldiers involves military draftees who have been forced into battle against their will, and/or of "mercenary" volunteers (#3 above) we shouldn't be too shocked when they act in a way which is contrary to The American Way (which they did not enlist to support).

I'm not sure what Jack Murtha's point in serving was, but judging his past by his recent behavior and comments, it's certainly a long shot to bet that he joined for the noble purpose of #1. But perhaps the man has changed.

Digression on the effect of the Iraq War on America:

A couple of years ago we were seeing news story after news story about how the American military was unable to reach its recruiting goals. We should remember that these goals were set, in large part, based upon past recruiting performance and past re-enlistment rates.

But the Iraq War severely impacted the number of people joining solely out of the desire for personal enrichment (#3, above), and this impacted the number of new recruits. The threat of actually having to kill or die for their country lead them to seek safer alternatives, perhaps behind the fryer at their local McDonald's. These people, with their limited passion for supporting America's ideals, were probably not going to be the best representatives for America anyway.

We also learned, as the news stories trickled out of the reluctant media, that the military was, in fact, keeping its numbers of military personnel up in spite of not meeting its recruitment goals. This was because re-enlistment rates were UP, overcoming the deficit of new recruits. Those serving the American Way in Iraq, and elsewhere, were (and are) very proud of America and were re-enlisting to continue their support of our great nation.

This change in the nature of our military personnel is, of course, a very good thing, and is one very good quality to add to the benefits column on the Iraq War's ledger.

Posted by Jeff at June 16, 2006 03:51 PM


Of course all those who disagree with you have some nefarious purpose in mind!

And all those tons of Agent Orange, napalm, pineapple bombs, etc. dumped on those who were supposed to be the lucky recipients of U.S. "protection" were all "specious" inventions of the liberal media.

Is this site dedicated to the care of neo-Nazi chameleons?

Posted by: J Morgan at July 9, 2006 03:04 PM

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