John Kerry’s shot that those who don’t study will end up in Iraq betrays one of the central problems we have in this country: those from its upper reaches don’t end up in the military any more.When we had Selective Service, people from all walks of life ended up in the military and in combat. My father, coming from a privileged background, did his Coast Guard stint in World War II. Others did also. With the end of the Vietnam War and the draft, we basically ended up with an all volunteer army that is drawn largely from the less privileged parts of society. The military, to use the expressive phrase of one NPR correspondent, reflects lower middle class values, and it does so because that’s where its people come from.
Now liberals are whacking these people from both sides. One the one side, they moan and groan about how they need all of these new programmes to rescue people from backgrounds where their families are broken, they’re poor, etc. When our glorious public school system–the most imporant agent in helping upward social mobility–fails them and they turn to the military to fix the problem, they’re taken pot shots at by the likes of John Kerry.
Years later, my father, in one of his riper moods, observed that only rednecks would work in the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Department. My response to that was simple: “Who else wants the job?” We need military people, police people and firefighters to protect us, irrespective of whether you think that Iraq is the way to do that most effectively or not. I’m glad to be associated with groups like the Church of God Chaplains Commission, who help to minister and support these people with trained and spiritually vibrant chaplains.
Kind of reminds me of a line from Jethro Tull’s Thick as a Brick: “I’ve come from the upper class to mend your rotten ways…”
Subsequent to the above, we have been reminded that John Kerry “prophesied” the problem he alluded to above: in 1972, he feared that an all-volunteer army “would be an army of the poor and the black and the brown…We must not repeat the travesty of the inequities present during Vietnam. I also fear having a professional army that views the perpetuation of war crimes as simply ‘doing its job.'” Not a high view of people not of his own “kind,” if you please. But, as G.K. Chesterton used to say, the rich have already been bribed…