Thursday, November 22, 2007


Thanksgiving morning, I was following my yearly tradition of watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and as an introduction there were several stories about the troops, to include greetings from them to their families back home. I was moved. In watching those youngsters say how they missed home, my first thought: amazing the sacrifices of these kids. One white soldier reached over and put his arm around an African American and said, "This is my family now."

This war has divided our nation and surfaced what I view as a kind of benign hypocrisy. It is easy to support the troops when we are so little involved. As I watched those kids, it was obvious to me that they are from struggling families across America, many single parents and lots of female soldiers. To confirm my view, I goggled the demographics of the Army and came up with all sorts of stuff. There were a couple of articles by some guy who is in the politician mode. If asked a question a politico doesn't want, he/she will choose to answer the question he wished they'd asked. For this guy, he used statistics to bolster his claim of how well the Volunteer Army has worked to include why the draft was so awful.

And, as all of us know, you can do anything with statistics you want. My counter to the argument is very simple and illustrated by a guy I don't even like (nothing personal) all that much but his last movie, Sicko, illustrates a point: Regardless of what you think about him or our health care system, we cannot deny that there are 45-50 million Americans who don't have health insurance. The same with the Volunteer Army--it works, relatively speaking. (We don't truly know if Iraq lasts for ten years) Like, Sicko, however, we can say we support the troops until the cows come home, but the fact exists that only a small portion of Americans make the sacrifices of war by serving in the military.

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