Sunday, March 30, 2003

The Times has an interesting article on the demographic of armed forces. A conservative officer corps, and a working class majority for the rest. The last time we had a force that represented a broad spectrum of America's youth was the last time we fought a war the idea of which was worth defending. Nobody now on active duty has ever fought in such a war.
We need a draft with no college deferment. NYTimes

"I once addressed a group of recruiters and asked them, would you prefer to have your advertising budget tripled or see Chelsea Clinton joining the Army — and they all said Chelsea Clinton joining the Army," he said. "That would be the signal that America was serious about joining the military. Imagine Jenna Bush joining the military — that would be the signal thing saying, this is a cause worth dying for."

There is no such cause right now, but we have a corps of professional soldiers many of whom seem not to know what the fuck they are talking about.

I was not raised to follow orders and do not know what to say to those who were. But I have no respect for those who claim we should always question authority. That too assumes that it rests somewhere else. I don't submit blindly to authority or question it cheaply, because I was raised to be authority, and therefore to understand the responsibility.

The tragedy of this country, and of the greed that drives it, is that in the class of those who follow orders there are many democratic and egalitarian communities, fragile, based in a life that is hard, by American standards, but which is nonetheless living and real. But one step above and that community evaporates and is replaced with an ideology of individual freedom. This non-community includes white house hawks as well as liberals. It's the Libertarian's dream, and my nightmare. I'm as sick of bourgeois self indulgence as my father- a minor hero of the east coast antiwar movement [that's Vietnam war, children]- was sick of hippies. And whether they send the lower class off to war or merely lecture them about why they should oppose it, the condescension is the same. The lower classes don't think its their responsibility to think about these things. [This is the same thing Marx complained about in the British] They just want to be left alone. But they can't have that either.

This is two blocks from my house. The two groups live side by side. Which one has what little respect I can muster? The one that's going to lose.

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