Thursday, June 10, 2004

More on the military

In the clarity of the morning, it occurs to me that I might not have gotten the right feeling across about the military. So, lucky readers, I will expand on my thoughts...

I don't hate the military. I certainly don't hate those in uniform (for the record, I don't hate anybody). I hate the idea that we have to have a military. I think the military is too large and has too great a role in our society, our economy, our government, and our culture. I think in some circumstances, we are way too quick to use military options and in others, far too slow. I think we could survive as a nation with a much smaller military than we have now. And I think that there are those in certain circles who are way too prone to use the military who not only never served, but did everything they could -not- to serve when there was a draft (chickenhawks like El Presidente, El Vice Presidente, Wolfowitz, Rush Limbaugh, etc., etc., etc.).

What frustrates me most of all is the propensity of those in the "patriotism police" who call me un-American, traitor, unpatriotic, etc. for questioning the motives of some in the military, for questioning the use of the military at all in certain situations, and the like. Its no secret that I opposed the war in Iraq - I felt it had nothing to do with terrorism and there was no evidence that Sadaam was anything more than a minor annoyance who somehow stuck in the craw of folks on the right. But, I supported getting rid of the Taliban (heck - I was calling for it long before 9/11) in Afghanistan and certainly steps needed to be taken against Al Queda. But its funny how the patriotism police questioned Bill Clinton's motives when he tried to take out Osama bin Laden in 1998 b/c it happened to coincide with impeachment hearings. And its funny that you never hear anything about North Korea, a country that -has- nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons and is a far greater danger to peace than Sadaam ever was.

Moreover, we talk a big game about Sadaam's human rights violations, but where were all these chickenhawks when people on the left were calling for the Clinton Administration to intervene in Bosnia, Rwanda, and Kosovo? Not supporting military action...not hardly. No, they were saying we shouldn't be using the military (the precious military) to engage in nationbuilding and peacekeeping operations, often trumpeting the saying that we were not 'the world's policeman.' Its hypocritical that these same people are the most gungho about nationbuilding in Iraq, a situation that is and has been far less conducive to that cause than the Balkans were.

Where am I going with this? Honestly, I haven't a clue. I suppose I've simply been called 'traitor' by too many people who worship the military and force. Let's face it - not everyone in the military believes in "the American ideal" (for lack of a better phrase). It is a culture based on following orders and discipline and is not a culture which encourages dissent, differing opinions, and the like. I would say that America is more about our ability to differ in opinion and not put the other side in prison (or in coffins) than it is the blind obeyance of orders from superiors.

Just my two cents. There (again) goes my political career...


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