In an orgy of self-destruction ordinarily reserved for the eighth inning of a Cubs game, John Kerry blows a punchline and the Republican chickenhawks spend the next week impugning his patriotism. Incurious George, who had been looking a little ragged lately, finds his mojo again, hooting like a blood-crazed mangani at a dum-dum that today's recruits are "plenty smart".
Lost in the noise is the larger issue of whether military recruiters prey on the young and the hapless. Anecdotal evidence suggest that this is so, with friendly video games and friendly recruiters in the high schools. I know two high school seniors already signed with the Marines for a spot "in the Marine Corps band."
There can't be that many slots open, can there? And if they don't make the try-out, I asked?
The Heritage Foundation says no, but they would argue that ice water is good for you while standing on the Titanic. They limit their argument to two years with very different social climates, and by focusing their contempt on the remarks of one individual, Charles Rangel. It looks to me as if they only proved that the middle class is suffering in this war, while the people who made the Iraqi war go unscathed.
The National Priorities Project looks at different years, shows the same picture of a middle class fighting Harvard's war, and draws conclusions that contradict the Heritage Foundation.
If we must send soldiers into harm's way, then in the name of all that's holy, let them not be wasted on a fool's errand. When did it become unpatriotic to object to waste? Was Tennyson a traitor to Britain for objecting to the futility of the charge of the Light Brigade? I must side with Henry Fielding's humanism over the patriotic gore demanded by Cheney, Bush and Rumsfeld: "To die for a cause is a common evil. To die for nonsense is the Devil."