RANGER AGAINST WAR: Mittsionary Position <

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Mittsionary Position

 Never think that war, no matter how necessary,
nor how justified, is not a crime 
 --Ernest Hemingway

I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can,
only as one who has seen its brutality, its stupidity 
--President Dwight D. Eisenhower

 History teaches that war begins when governments 
believe the price of aggression is cheap 
--Ronald Reagan

In a time of war, it is good to consider the capabilities of the Commander-in-Chief.

The U.S. hasn't had a military president since George H. W. Bush elected in 1998 (his son, George W. Bush, had registered with the Texas Air National Guard, but his service record is contentious.) Five Presidents beginning with Taft and ending with Hoover had no military experience, either; one of them elected to enter a war (Woodrow Wilson, World War I).  Most other U.S. Presidents had military experience.

We are entering a phase in our history when military service has become "professionalized", and is usually not the track taken by men who would enter the political domain.  Neither candidate in 2012 has a military background, so this is not a slam on either, but rather the Selective Service system itself.  Should the President and those who serve elected office have had the experience of military service?  Why is the leadership of the free world exercising his strength via ordering seemingly limitless warfare?  Could this be compensation?

Mitt Romney took a religious and educational deferments from 1965-70, until the downturn of combat in Vietnam.  Like former Vice President Cheney, he had other priorities.  How does doing a proselytizing stint afford one the same deferment as that of an ordained minister? Meanwhile the rest of us lived or died according to the vagaries of the draft laws.

Young men from factory neighborhoods like Ranger's were drafted and inducted to the max.  Ivy League dudes didn't puff out the ranks of the Infantry, Airborne or Special Forces in that period.  The American caste system plays out in terms of opportunities for advancement or death, and one's trajectory is determined almost at birth.

Who is to blame guys like Romney whose male stock successfully avoided or evaded active combat service for four generations? It is the Selfish Gene, writ large. Draft laws and tax laws have never been equable; the poor and near-poor will always carry an outsized burden.

And yet, men like Clinton, Obama and Romney seek war, foisting the responsibility for its execution onto others, and the hypocrisy bites.  An egalitarian society like that of the United States should seek to distribute burdens across the populace spectrum, lest favoritism and bitter resentment be our legacy.

These are odd times when a presidential contender promises in advance that he will get us into a major meltdown war if elected (Romney on Iran.)  The Republicans used to be isolationists; Eisenhower and Nixon were elected to end wars (in Korea and Vietnam). American presidents used to sue for peace and quality of life for all the nation's citizens.

When did the U.S. accept the mantle of being a nation of martial prowess led by draft exempted cheerleaders?

Better a platoon of sheep led by a lion than a platoon of lions led by a sheep.

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Anonymous Brooklyn Red Leg said...

"Republicans used to be isolationists"

Ah, no. Do not confuse Isolationism with Non-Interventionism. There is a difference. Republicans in the mid-20th Century generally were Non-Interventionists.

Isolationism, despite claims to the contrary, includes such things as Economic Nationalism (aka Protectionism) since it precludes trade from outside ones borders.

Saturday, November 3, 2012 at 9:24:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, jeez. I've about reached the point that I think the first qualification for presidential candidacy for the next 30 years should be a COMBAT injury (not falling off a truck or ladder but a wound delivered by some kind of weapon).

Not realistic I know but it's making its way onto my daydream list.

Jay in N.C.

Saturday, November 3, 2012 at 9:25:00 PM GMT-5  

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