Monday, February 10, 2014

The draft


I am still thinking of the young soldier severely wounded in action, showcased at the State of the Union speech. It made even the greatest skeptic like me pause. Very inspiring. Ten minutes of ovation. And, rightly so. The “talking heads” have basically said, “this is the thing the president’s speech will be remembered for.” I hope so but doubt it. Politics has a short attention span. 
Here is where the rub comes for me, an old soldier. Applauding at a televised media event with a smidgen of politics thrown in is one thing. Serving your country by being in the military is another story. I would like to know how many congressmen/women have served or if their children have. 
This isn’t a hit on those not serving. With a volunteer Army, they can choose. What we have now is a military made up of only an extremely small segment of the American society. Most affluent parents don’t want them to be in the military, in potentially harms way. I certainly wouldn’t if I had boys. 
When my generation came along, we had to deal with the draft. It was part of our culture. The draft ain’t going to ever happen again. That train has left the station. And, we are the worst for it. We were sold a bill of goods by economist Milt Friedman and then Secretary of Defense, Melvin Laird. Friedman actually said something like, “in a democracy having compulsory service is unAmerica.” We were duped. We now know from collateral damage that it is the opposite. 
We will continue to applaud Army Ranger, Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg who almost paid the ultimate sacrifice. Soldiers like SFC Remsburg bare the brunt while other young men and women, his age, sit on the sidelines. 
The flip side of the coin is to acknowledge that our f..k ups contributed to his being put in harms way in the first place. It doesn’t take anything away from his sacrifice, just hi-lites our stupidity. Americans who care should be incensed, if not ashamed, that we have played a part in SFC Remsburg’s sacrifice and no amount of applause will make up for his loss. 
10 tours in Iraq/Afghanistan? How the f..k did that happen? I can tell you: a small military necessitating repetitive tours, senior commanders on the ground being stupid—strategies that have little or no chance of working. I could go on and on. Yes, we can applaud but any way you slice it, we all are complicit in the tragedy of SFC Remsburg’s story. God bless him.

No comments: