Saturday, April 14, 2007


When I think of the war in Iraq, my immediate thought is: what a mess. It goes really beyond a mess--a travesty. There are times I think that I'm the only one in America who gets it. I heard some general on TV the other day by the name of Lovelace--I remember the name as I had an archeology teacher in seminary by the same name. I thought "this guy's brain has been bottled in formaldehyde." This isn't personal rather, philosophical. It was as though he was talking about another country and a different war. He was saying things about our great soldiers which they are in Iraq, the wonderful volunteer army, what a privilege to fight such a glorious war. These were not his exact words but close. Unfortunately, he is more typical of the leadership than we like to believe.

The volunteer military is a good one, maybe the best in the world. However, it has one very real drawback: it is not representative of our great country. And, this is a moral as well as a practical dilemma. When only a very small fraction of our populace are making the major sacrifice in war, it is immoral. The practical implication is that as a country with a volunteer force we are denying young men and women in America the opportunity to serve. There's a bond of trust that comes from shared hardships, shared experience and a common set of values when sacrifices are made. Most Americans will never know this and the common ethos which comes with it.

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