By Doug Newman

August 27, 2006

Letter to the Editor of The Rocky Mountain News.

August 27, 2006

Letters to the Editor
The Rocky Mountain News


The Marine Corps recently announced that it will be recalling thousands of reservists to active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan on an involuntary basis. This comes not long after the Army announced that it will be raising its maximum enlistment age to 42.

What is going on here? Aren’t enough war supporters willing to fight?

Millions of Americans love President Bush and enthusiastically support everything he does, but they themselves have never served one day in the military. Let them fight. Most of the media talking heads who cheerlead for this war have never served a day in the military. Let them fight. Most of the elite “policymakers” in Washington have never served a day in the military. Let them fight. Two-thirds of the members of the US House and Senate have never served a day in the military. (Very few, if any, have children in the military.) Let them fight.

If the Army and Marine Corps are smart, they should station recruiters in the lobbies of evangelical churches on Sunday mornings. There they should find plenty of volunteers.

If the military will not take you for whatever reason, form your own expeditionary force and go fight alongside the troops in Iraq or Afghanistan. There are precedents. In the Spanish Civil War a group called the Abraham Lincoln Brigade went and fought. Yes, they sided with the Communists, but I will give them this: they acted on their beliefs.

As a libertarian, I have only one thing to say in John Kerry’s defense: He put himself in harm’s way for four-and-a-half months in Vietnam. George W. Bush was able to arrange a stateside billet in the Air National Guard. As for Vice President Cheney, he “had other priorities” and received five draft deferments.

There is a black wall in Washington, DC, with 58,000 names on it. Many of these people no doubt “had other priorities” too.

The recent news from the Army and Marines points in the direction of a military draft sometime soon. Young men and – mark my word – women, will be forced to serve in the military and do the actual fighting. They will risk severe penalties should they refuse to do the very thing that so many of those who sit in their ivory towers and make war refused to do: serve in the military.  

Doug Newman

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Freely Speaking: Essays by Doug Newman