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« Learning from Rembrandt | Main | One Man’s Simple Faith »

January 19, 2007

Other people’s job

Our own Anne Morse has a thought-provoking op-ed in yesterday's Seattle Post-Intelligencer about the way "elite America" has come to think about the military:

Our chattering class is fond of pointing out that the U.S. military draws disproportionately from middle- and working-class families. But suggest they help right the imbalance by encouraging their own offspring to serve, and they are aghast. "I want you to know we support you," one upscale mother recently told a military recruiter, "but military service isn't for our kind of people."

Fighting wars, it seems, is a job for somebody else's kid -- the gardener's son or the grocer's daughter. The result is a dangerous disconnect between those who serve in the all-volunteer military and the civilian elites who expect to command it, argue Kathy Roth-Douquet and Frank Schaeffer, who wrote "AWOL: The Unexcused Absence of America's Upper Classes from Military Service -- and How It Hurts Our Country."

The authors are themselves part of elite America who unexpectedly (and unwillingly) joined the military tribe when relatives dragged them into it. Princeton graduate and Democratic activist Roth-Douquet served in President Clinton's White House before marrying Marine officer Greg Douquet. Schaeffer, whose son John joined the Marines in 1999, is a New York novelist. Douquet and Schaeffer admit that, until the military marched into their lives, what they knew about America's armed forces could have fit on a dog tag.

"It was striking to us how enormous our previous ignorance had been, and how entirely comfortable we had been with that ignorance," the authors write.

Read more.

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Comments

Lee Hargrove

Guess I'm not part of the elite crowd! Bummer. I actually encouraged our son to enlist in the military! All of our fine servicemen and women put their lives on the line so that all Americans, even ones with totally off-base values, priorites, and life-styles, can remain FREE to make any stupid comment they want while participating in their useless, self-absorbed activities without fear of being blown to bits by terrorists. God bless and protect all those who fight for all of us.

Robert Kachadourian

Perhaps you can convince the Breakpoint staff to make some commentaries on the Armenian Genocide. I've tried after 33 emails, about a dozen faxes and numerous phone calls!!

Anytime 1.5 million Christians are slaughtered and one-half million become orphans, widowed and crazed because of what they saw, isn't it worth mentioning. Are they any lesser hunan beings!!

Hitler was asked what he was doing when he began the Holocaust. His response was "Who remembers the Armenians today?"

Thank you in advance for your help in the matter.

Regards,

Robert Kachadourian, Ph.D.

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