When The Country Goes To War

soldiers memorial arch Remember when the sons of privilege considered it an honor and a duty to fight for their country? This arch on the Brown campus is flanked by two large panels filled with the names of students and faculty who died serving their military in foreign wars, many as privates and sergeants. Today we have what’s called a volunteer military and I think it’s safe to say that the majority of Ivy League students will not be volunteering this year. Other affluent families have suggested that there are alternate ways of serving your country, as when Ann Romney equated Mormon missions such as Mitt’s grueling assignment in Paris with military duty. (Mitt supported the war in Vietnam while taking advantage of two deferments.) Yes, having doors slammed in your face for two years must be traumatizing. Peter Rosenstein discussed her comments in light of his own Vietnam draft experience. (HuffPo)

Today with a volunteer military many of our elected leaders will never serve. Bill Clinton never served and neither did Barack Obama, but I believe they are able to serve successfully as commander in chief. They never claimed that they did anything equivalent to serving in the military and they understand that there is very little that is equivalent to putting your life on the line for your country.

And let’s stop calling this a “volunteer” army, not in this economy. Another suggestion, let’s reinstate the draft — no deferments — so that the next time Washington wants to go to war, everyone goes to war. And let’s not forget, Mitt stated during the primary season that none of his five strapping sons had enlisted but were “showing their support for the country by ‘helping me get elected.'” That’s all done now, let’s see how many of them head over to the recruiter’s office.

In the meantime, and for decades to come, we have veterans to take care of. Send your donation to usvetsinc.org.

1 thought on “When The Country Goes To War”

  1. Have you read “AWOL” by Kathy Roth-Douquet and Frank Schaeffer? (http://www.amazon.com/AWOL-Unexcused-Absence-Americas-Military/dp/0060888598) There’s a whole segment on the history of Brown’s and other elite colleges’ overt and active disdain for ROTC and military recruitment. It was sad and surprising to read that.

    I completely agree that if our elected officials were actually at risk of losing someone they loved, they would be a LOT less likely to sign the country up for war. The AWOL book goes into this at great length.

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