Put your money where your mouth is
June 23, 2005 11:04 PM   Subscribe

Operation Yellow Elephant is an attempt to shame young Republicans into enlisting in order to prove their commitment to their leaders' military objectives.
posted by cbrody (97 comments total)
 
I think this is great. What better way to turn a Republican into a radical-left Democrat than to send them to Iraq?
posted by mek at 11:13 PM on June 23, 2005


A better way would be to put the draft back into action. That'll kick the sleeping pacificsts into action. Short-term pain, long-term gain, for America and the world.
posted by randomstriker at 11:19 PM on June 23, 2005


Somebody punched out Joan Jett?
posted by dreamsign at 11:33 PM on June 23, 2005


This is retarded. Just because you support a certain opinion doesn't mean you should have to personally be involved.

This is like the pro-lifer's demanding that every single person who is pro-choice personally goes and works in an abortion clininc.
posted by PenDevil at 12:24 AM on June 24, 2005


Dunno, PenDevil

W has stated he supported the Vietnam war, but when the time came to use his government training flying those interceptors overseas, he checked the "no thanks" box.

Cheney of course had "other priorities" for those years.

There is a certain amount of consistency to be expected wrt being willing to bear the burdens of your preferred policies, eg. if you are willing for our government to spend $200B+ to remove Saddam and deal with the ensuing chaos, then don't come bitching to us when your taxes jump 10% sometime this decade (though fat chance that's going to happen, the current radical leadership apparently intends to use the approaching budget crisis to gut the surviving Great Society entitlements -- 'sorry folks, no mo' money!').

We DO have a shortage of 11-bravos right now, but I admit the argument is kinda silly since being a good infantryman is something of a specific skillset that takes a lot of athleticism.
(My granddad was 31 when he joined the marines in 1943, and that was relatively old, and the physical stress on infantry hasn't gotten any less over the years.)

But on the other hand, I do think a litmus test for sending someone involuntarily to do any job is being willing to also do that job, at least theoretically.

Wingers bring up the firefighters as an example of requiring people to do dangerous jobs for us, but I don't think that is very useful.

The NYFD didn't have to rush up those buildings on 9/11, and had they known there were going to collapse as they did they wouldn't have. From 1995-2005, excluding 9/11, the data shows firefighters are almost as likely to die from cardiac arrest as from anything else. Excluding cardiac cases, roughly one firefighter a week dies in the line of duty in the US, out of a million+ firefighters (though I guess this statistic avoids burn cases).

With those odds, we'd get a lot more volunteers for PKO duty in Iraq.

But, on the other hand, in the absence of draft game-theory says that only suckers will volunteer for these hazardous missions, just like only suckers would pay taxes if taxes were voluntary.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 12:51 AM on June 24, 2005


But, on the other hand, in the absence of draft game-theory says that only suckers will volunteer for these hazardous missions, just like only suckers would pay taxes if taxes were voluntary.

Not always true. There is competition to get INTO combat units in Israel. As there is in the US with the more specops type forces. I don't think they're suckers.
posted by PenDevil at 1:09 AM on June 24, 2005



This is retarded. Just because you support a certain opinion doesn't mean you should have to personally be involved.



Yeah, I agree. Especially when there is danger involved and other people are willing to face it, why should I get personally involved?
posted by sic at 1:23 AM on June 24, 2005


PenDevil: uhh, doesn't EVERYONE have to serve in Israel? Obviously, if there are a fixed number of slots in the military, people are going to fight over their favorite jobs. That was dumb.

that definitely notwithstanding, I don't think they're always suckers, either.

more often than not, i would say that they are more screwed than suckers. sometimes it is a gamble that it might even make sense to make. it depends on what your experience is.

or, you might not be a sucker, but just suck. i'm sure there are some soliders who never got over G.I Joe.
posted by Embryo at 2:05 AM on June 24, 2005


sic: other people [i]aren't[/i] willing to face it. That's the point. And because of that fact, combined with Republicans' short-sighted hypocrisy, we have military recruiters essentially tricking poor and vulnerable people into carrying out [i]your[/i] idiotic suicide missions.
posted by Embryo at 2:06 AM on June 24, 2005


[i][/i]

ack, i have been spending too much time on the non-prophets board.
posted by Embryo at 2:08 AM on June 24, 2005


As there is in the US with the more specops type forces. I don't think they're suckers.

Special forces units by definition come with benefits like specialized training and elite status. These units can afford to be selective, and that selectivity is also part of their attraction.

I was thinking more of the thankless cannon fodder roles we've got thousands of servicemen performing for us in Iraq; a trained monkey could ride shotgun on a convoy security mission.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 2:15 AM on June 24, 2005


a trained monkey could ride shotgun on a convoy security mission

So why not train up some monkeys and ship them out? Then, I guess, the most dangerous job in Iraq would go from being the guy that rides shotgun on a convoy security mission, to being the guy that hands the monkey the loaded weapon.
posted by veedubya at 2:26 AM on June 24, 2005


This is like the pro-lifer's demanding that every single person who is pro-choice personally goes and works in an abortion [clinic].
No, it's like pro-lifers going to a political gathering of Young Democrats and recruiting some of the pro-choice YDs - people who are writing letters/articles/blogs, going to rallies, or working for candidates in support of choice - to do volunteer work in understaffed abortion clinics. They'd get plenty of volunteers, enough to fill any clinic staff shortages; I don't think OYE will get enough recruits to fill the manpower shortage in Iraq.
posted by mistersix at 2:32 AM on June 24, 2005


heh, just read they raised the enlistment age for Army Reserve from 34 to 39, so I've got one more year to get into shape and join up.

Oddly, the thought of serving in Iraq does NOT repel me, since I do believe the mission is important and I do think, provided we fight the war smarter, might be able to actually prevail (the mistakes we made during the first year of occupation were pretty fucking serious, the combat actions of 2004 were counterproductive, but recent pronouncements from the brass in Baghdad indicate that they might actually be getting on the same page as I).

Over a year-long deployment, assuming I'd have an average-risk assignment, and given 7 serious casualties/day, that's a ~97.4% chance of getting thru it in one piece.

I'm a big war nerd so I almost think I should do this. One of my college buds joined the USAR in 2002, went through some pretty cool advanced training, has already made sergeant, and is slotted to go later this year...
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 2:35 AM on June 24, 2005


" Just because you support a certain opinion doesn't mean you should have to personally be involved."

Yep, that's absolutely true. There are people who fight for other's right to be a coward.
posted by raaka at 3:13 AM on June 24, 2005


Embryo: "PenDevil: uhh, doesn't EVERYONE have to serve in Israel? Obviously, ifthere are a fixed number of slots in the military, people are going tofight over their favorite jobs. That was dumb.


Conscription is mandatory but the conscripts compete and have to actually apply to be put into combat units, the ones where they'll have more chance of dying. You'd think that conscripts, being drafted into the army and not entering voluntarily, would not be so keen to see combat. These are not 'favourite' jobs, they're ones where your chance of being a casualty increases greatly.

mistersix:"No, it's like pro-lifers going to a political gathering of YoungDemocrats and recruiting some of the pro-choice YDs - people who arewriting letters/articles/blogs, going to rallies, or working forcandidates in support of choice - to do volunteer work in understaffedabortion clinics. They'd get plenty of volunteers, enough to fill anyclinic staff shortages; I don't think OYE will get enough recruits tofill the manpower shortage in Iraq."

If you asked young Republicans to volunteer in army bases folding parachutes and visiting wounded servicemen you'd get plenty of volunteers as well.

The personal requirements of the volunteering job you described for young democrats is more like that than actually seeing combat duty (or performing an abortion).
posted by PenDevil at 4:51 AM on June 24, 2005


If you will not send your child to die in Iraq, you do not support the war.

No matter how many stupid magnetic ribbons you affix to your SUV, in reality you oppose the war.

Preachers in churches supporting the war : ask your congregation to enlist.

Mothers driving like mad to and from the spa : tell your 18 year old daughter to skip college, and enlist.

Right wing talk show hosts, snorting and wheezing throughout the AM : insist that your listeners must enlist.

If you cannot do these things, you are as fake as your magnetic support, ready to fall off at the first change in polarity.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 9:26 AM on June 24, 2005 [1 favorite]


President Bush is an a-hole for sending people off to die in Iraq.

Therefore, in order to show him what an a-hole he is, we propose to send more people, people who don't want to go, people who the military don't want to go, people who are not combat inclined, to die in addition to that first batch.

The logic there mystifies me, but may explain some of why the middle of America thinks that the "Left" is deranged.

Proposing you send people off to their death is usually not a winning political strategy in America.

Usually.
posted by swerdloff at 9:28 AM on June 24, 2005


I forgot to add:

We also think it's a good idea to insult anyone who supports the war but doesn't want to go. Because you can't support a cause without being involved. Much like Nascar dads can't support NASCAR without actually driving the cars. If they watch on TV? They're hypocrites.

It's a shame. Democrats are right on so many things - social security, abortion, gun control, flag burning... But we've become the party of name calling, whining, and patriotism questioning. It'd be funny if it wasn't so godawful depressing.
posted by swerdloff at 9:37 AM on June 24, 2005


The Jesse Helms gets it right.

If you are not willing to personally shed blood in Iraq, or the blood of your loved one, you don't support the war.

It's time to quit playing games. The reality is, the vast majority of Americans don't support the war, including Republicans. So let's drop the bullshit and start talking honestly about it. You don't want to risk dying there, you don't want risk your son or daughter to dying there, so what the hell are we going to do about it?

Americans are dying in Iraq, right now, because we don't have enough troops to properly re-build a nation (well, that and because of the colossal fuck-ups Bush's crack crew have made). If America doesn't want to get its ass over there, then it should get its ass out. The "left" is trying to get that point through thick skull of the American public, swerdloff.

Either way, we should do the right thing, and pick one of the two options: get in, or get out. We shouldn't just shrug our shoulders and continue to let people die because we're really to buys to care.
posted by teece at 9:38 AM on June 24, 2005


We also think it's a good idea to insult anyone who supports the war but doesn't want to go. Because you can't support a cause without being involved. Much like Nascar dads can't support NASCAR without actually driving the cars. If they watch on TV? They're hypocrites.

NASCAR is a spectator sport. Democracy is not. End of story.
posted by leftcoastbob at 10:00 AM on June 24, 2005


Here's the nut:

1) We're experiencing serious troop shortages.

2) Adequate numbers of troops are required to remain in Iraq.

3) Those who are of age and support the invasion and occupation of Iraq need to step up now and volunteer in order to maintian or admit we need to withdraw.

4) Those who have influence and support the war need to use that influence to encourage enlistment or admit we need to withdraw.

5) Cowards talk big but can't deliver when called upon. Especially the 101st Fighting Keyboarders shrilly blaming "liberals" for the current mess per Rove's marching orders. Bigger cowards the world has never seen, thus they are the fearfully pissing their pants Yellow Republicans.
posted by nofundy at 10:00 AM on June 24, 2005


The "Left" is doing a worse job than a retarded monkey would do at getting the idea across, Teece.

Suggesting that if you're not willing to die for a cause you don't support it is just stupid. And it's an insult to those who support that cause. And for that reason, right there, John Kerry lost the election.

It wasn't Rove working magic. It was insulting the very voter base which would have elected him.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

The point that the "Left" is trying to make is that they disagree with this war and want it over. This is not the way to do so. I would suggest something constructive instead of name calling. Like, offering a viable plan for withdrawing the troops that are in there. Or working with the much-vaunted international community to find a solution. Don't like what Bush is doing? Provide an alternative.

Clearly, that's too much to ask. Instead, we get insults of those who disagree with you and patriotism questioning. This is not how to win elections. This is not how to win popular opinion. It feels good to scream and whine like a four year old, but then you get treated like one as well.

LeftCoastBob - we're not talking about democracy here (and if we were, where the hell were the registered Democrats who didn't "get out the vote" in the last election, hmm?) rather we're talking compulsory military service based on your political leanings. That's not democracy, that's evil wishful thinking. Calling for the death of your political opponents doesn't get you very far.
posted by swerdloff at 10:05 AM on June 24, 2005


Jesus, people, what is with you? What part of this callow, cowardly republican posturing about the Iraq war do you not see?

If Republicans, especially young Republicans, are all so hot to trot about keeping up the pressure on Iraq, well, now is the time to prove their resolve.

Weird, isn't it -- they are all gung-ho to get their war on, that is until you mention the little fact that a bunch of poor schmucks and schmuckettes needs to actually enlist, train, deploy, get shot at, and possibly die for the cause.

Jesus, people. What is with you, I ask again? Are you simply dense? Don't you see the issue? Or are you willfully denying the truth of it.

If you can't see the cowardice of the Republican supporters of the Iraq war who won't sign up to fight, you are a dolt. Plain and simple.
posted by mooncrow at 10:05 AM on June 24, 2005


Democrats... we've become the party of name calling, whining, and patriotism questioning.
No, the Reublicans are WAY ahead of the Dems on that, and it's been a winning formula for them.

Heywood Mogroot, you may say you might sign up, but it's obvious you won't, because of one phrase in your statement: provided we fight the war smarter, which we all know the neoconmen in charge are NEVER gonna do.

The reality is, the vast majority of Americans don't support the war, including Republicans.
But in his joint audio-op* with the Iraqi PM, Bush said unequivocably he's not going to respect the poll numbers. And, based on past behavior, will ignore the needs of the military in the decisions to use the military. So the only way to stop his on-going fuck up in the name of Democracy (which if he really believed in, he wouldn't have taken the job in 2000) is to elect a veto-proof anti-war majority in Congress in '06. Iraq is doomed, and so is the American economy. Now, I begin to understand why people want to watch news about Michael Jackson and the Runaway Bride.

*why bother even calling them "press conferences" anymore
posted by wendell at 10:06 AM on June 24, 2005


This is ridiculous in its premise. Only a democrat or one so minded would be so concerned with the whims of his fellows, in fact in their desires regarding him and his career choices, to be so swayed to put himself into harm's way for such nebulous reasons.

A Republican, on the other hand, charts his own course through life, and places his faculties of direction above the sphere of public discussion.
posted by nervousfritz at 10:08 AM on June 24, 2005


This is a good way to get rid of young republicans, at least.
posted by puke & cry at 10:09 AM on June 24, 2005 [1 favorite]


Therefore, in order to show him what an a-hole he is, we propose to send more people, people who don't want to go, people who the military don't want to go, people who are not combat inclined, to die in addition to that first batch.

Dude, the war is currently going on. Right now. People are going to die in addition to "that first batch." We're actually several batches in, now.

If only the "combat inclined" volunteer, we're pretty much done.
posted by hackly_fracture at 10:11 AM on June 24, 2005


McClellan At White House Briefing Asked If Any Bushes are in Military

"QUESTION: Is the President concerned about the recruitment being down in his home country, he can't get -- you know, some day you may give a war and no one will come? And, also, the second part of the question, is there any member of the Bush clan who is in the military service now, that you know of?

MR. McCLELLAN: I'd have to go check; that's a pretty large clan, as you --

QUESTION: Would you do that?

MR. McCLELLAN: -- as you referred to. In terms of -- and certainly there are members of the family that have served and served very admirably in the Armed Forces.

QUESTION: I'm not talking about the past, I'm talking about now."
posted by ericb at 10:11 AM on June 24, 2005


A Republican, on the other hand, charts his own course through life, and places his faculties of direction above the sphere of public discussion.

That's some pretty amazing horseshit, right there.
posted by hackly_fracture at 10:14 AM on June 24, 2005


seconded.
posted by puke & cry at 10:16 AM on June 24, 2005 [1 favorite]


My oh my, 2008 is looking pretty good...
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 10:17 AM on June 24, 2005


Instead, we get insults of those who disagree with you and patriotism questioning. This is not how to win elections. This is not how to win popular opinion.
swerdloff, I'm going to say it again, it works wonders for the Republicans, otherwise Karl Rove wouldn't have made his "offer therapy and understanding for our attackers" quote. This is the kind of thing Kerry did NOT do, and that is a majotreason he lost.

As for the "get out the vote" factor, it's a little easier for the GOP when you realize that Terry Schiavo has voted a straight Republican ticket every election since 1990...
posted by wendell at 10:17 AM on June 24, 2005


The "Left" is doing a worse job than a retarded monkey would do at getting the idea across, Teece.

Suggesting that if you're not willing to die for a cause you don't support it is just stupid. And it's an insult to those who support that cause. And for that reason, right there, John Kerry lost the election.


I'm glad you dropped the R-bomb, because now I can reciprocate.

Wrap your retarded brain around this:

You do not need to be willing to die for a cause to "support it."

You do need to be willing to die for a cause if you will vote to send countless others to their deaths to further that cause.
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:20 AM on June 24, 2005


If you support a war then you should be prepared to send your own kids. If you don't feel strongly enough that your own kids should go then how can you justify sending someones elses?

People were happy to send their kids to war when their country and way of life were genuinely threatened - if their children died they could feel they died for a good reason, for a noble cause. I guess people who support the Iraq war just don't feel that strongly about it.
posted by dodgygeezer at 10:23 AM on June 24, 2005


Dude, the war is currently going on. Right now. People are going to die in addition to "that first batch." We're actually several batches in, now.

Exactly!

"American casualties from bomb attacks in Iraq have reached new heights in the last two months as insurgents have begun to deploy devices that leave armored vehicles increasingly vulnerable, according to military records.

Last month there were about 700 attacks against American forces using so-called improvised explosive devices, or I.E.D.'s, the highest number since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, according to the American military command in Iraq and a senior Pentagon military official. Attacks on Iraqis also reached unprecedented levels, Lt. Gen. John Vines, a senior American ground commander in Iraq, told reporters on Tuesday." [New York Times | June 22, 2005]
posted by ericb at 10:24 AM on June 24, 2005




Suggesting that if you're not willing to die for a cause you don't support it is just stupid.

Well that's interesting. What's actually being suggested is that people sign up for the army, not commit suicide. If you see those as being one and the same thing then maybe you need to reconsider the wisdom of this war.
posted by dodgygeezer at 10:27 AM on June 24, 2005


2008 is looking pretty good...

Sweet, because I'm preparing for 2006.
posted by drezdn at 10:32 AM on June 24, 2005


Harris Poll
June 7-12 (April 5-10 results)
Margin of Error - 3
Do you favor keeping a large number of U.S. troops in Iraq until there is a stable government there OR bringing most of our troops home in the next year?

Wait for stable government - 33% (40%)
Bring home in next year - 63% (60%)

Do you think the invasion of Iraq strengthened or weakened the war on terrorism?

Strengthened 43% (49%)
Weakened 44% (47%)
Gallup Poll
June 16-19 (March 18-20 results)
Margin of Error - 3
Do you favor or oppose the U.S. war with Iraq?

Favor 39% (47%)
Oppose 59% (47%)
posted by ericb at 10:35 AM on June 24, 2005


seriously, screw them. I have two friends currently looking at their second rotations through Iraq. Both of them had their previous stints increased by 4 months at the end because of troop shortages. One's having to get a rush wedding in the middle of the week in august that a lot of us might not get to because they just told him he was going back for another year. And you pansies sit here and say we can support this operation without putting anything on the line? If you all truly believed this was a cause worth fighting for you'd see young republicans around the block volunteering.

During world war II people were asked to make sacrifices by their country. People went without and courageously signed up to defend their country. Now we're asked to shop and ignore the mounting numbers of poor americans dieing in Iraq. If some little yuppie pricks have to be shamed to show them the actual cost of the policies they promote, then I say all the better.

This is not like supporting tax cuts or abortion. This is saying you suport putting your fellow americans in harms way for your own benefit. That you would not do the same for them shows the kind of character you have.
posted by slapshot57 at 10:37 AM on June 24, 2005


slapshot57 - well said!
posted by ericb at 10:40 AM on June 24, 2005


LeftCoastBob - we're not talking about democracy here (and if we were, where the hell were the registered Democrats who didn't "get out the vote" in the last election, hmm?) rather we're talking compulsory military service based on your political leanings. That's not democracy, that's evil wishful thinking. Calling for the death of your political opponents doesn't get you very far.
posted by swerdloff at 10:05 AM PST on June 24


No, we are not talking about "compulsory military service based on your political leanings." We are talking about voluntarily signing up (or encouraging your kids to do so) for an endeavor that you believe in so strongly. I'm not calling for the death of my political opponents, for heavens sake. There's a good chance you'll come out of it alive.

Bon voyage.
posted by leftcoastbob at 10:44 AM on June 24, 2005


an attempt to shame young Republicans into enlisting in order to prove their commitment to their leaders' military objectives

It's a bullshit attempt to make people you don't agree with look bad, IOW. Just the sort of constructive criticism this country needs in troubled times like these. :P
posted by alumshubby at 10:44 AM on June 24, 2005


If you support a war then you should be prepared to send your own kids.

Enlistment age is 18, at which point you are a legal adult, and your parents can't "send" you to war.

If someone doesn't want to go and fight, I'm fine with that. However I do like rhetorical games like this because they do expose the fact that many of the most blood thirsty people are the most cowardly and selfish.

To me this war is all about selfishness, so it doesn't surprise me in the least that the most selfish people support it vocally but not with their bodies and minds, or that they don't mind at all that others go in their place.

Most soldiers that I know have a million different reasons for enlisting, and none of them enlisted to go fight in Iraq. They didn't enlist to be part of a neocon fantasy either.

I just like the (stupid but fun) point of "put your money where your mouth is".... recruitment is down, and young, strong smart people are in high demand.
posted by chaz at 10:46 AM on June 24, 2005


It's a bullshit attempt to make people you don't agree with look bad, IOW.

It's calling on those who support the invasion of Iraq and the Bush administration for a second term to demonstrate the courage of their convictions beyond being willing to let their neighbor's son or daughter do the heavy lifting (and, yeah, dying). Don't like war and the thought of the maiming and killing that it entails? Then don't boost and vote for someone who has no qualms against invading foreign countries on specious reasons with no exit plan.
posted by jperkins at 10:55 AM on June 24, 2005


U.S. Military Hires Marketing Firm To Help Find Recruits .
"The U.S. Department of Defense has enlisted a marketing firm to help identify potential recruits by compiling a database of millions of high school and college students across the country.

Social Security numbers, home addresses, e-mail addresses, grade-point averages, ethnicity and even the subjects the students are taking in school will all be included in the records, according to the Washington Post."
posted by ericb at 10:56 AM on June 24, 2005




I'm surprised nobody linked the ad they tried to put in the Official Program of the Young Republican National Convention. It was yanked because it was "too negative."
posted by fungible at 10:57 AM on June 24, 2005


http://www.casualty-maps.com
posted by jperkins at 10:58 AM on June 24, 2005


SEMPER TI!


posted by fandango_matt at 10:59 AM on June 24, 2005


Much like Nascar dads can't support NASCAR without actually driving the cars.

What a stupid "analogy." This isn't spectator sports, this is war, though I realize it can be hard for Americans to tell the difference between games and life/death. The point is not to force individual Republicans to go off to war, it's to raise the issue that hardly any of the oh-so-patriotic folk currently pimping the war are willing to put their own lives on the line or encourage their kids to do so. Contrast with WWII, as slapshot57 said. This war is neither popular nor "good," and the people promoting it aren't even trying very hard to pretend it is—they're just trying to get bodies out there to kill and die for their selfish, brutal policies. Other peoples' bodies. They're cowards, and they need to be called on it.

NASCAR? Have you left no sense of decency?
posted by languagehat at 11:01 AM on June 24, 2005


This stunt is just like MM's F911 Congress gimmick. It would be very interesting if it were real.

That said, I think Jesse Helms, sorry, The Jesse Helms, hit it on the head. (I think mistersix got it too.)

The conflict in Iraq is no longer a short-term military campaign. It is an extended war that is projected to last 7-13 more years. Any able-bodied American who believes in this country should step up and do their duty.

My oh my, 2008 is looking pretty good...

I know it will be brushed off, but this attitude is the most disconcerting. Every ethical and moral atrocity can be written off as "worth it" because they win elections. Disgusting. (I'm also not sure how 2008 can look good for Republicans right now.)
posted by mrgrimm at 11:01 AM on June 24, 2005


pissing elephants are a clear violation of my copyrights.
posted by quonsar at 11:03 AM on June 24, 2005


Bush responds to the polls (noted upthread; please excuse the derail):
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Declining public support for the mission in Iraq and the lack of progress on some of your domestic priorities has prompted suggestions that you're in something of a second term slump. Do you worry --

PRESIDENT BUSH: A quagmire, perhaps. (Laughter.)

Q You can choose the word, sir. Do you worry at all about losing some of your ability to drive the agenda, both internationally and domestically?

(after several paragraphs rambling on about Social Security: "I'm not surprised that there is a, kind of a reaction, the do-nothing reaction in Congress toward Social Security, and I'm not surprised the American people are saying, I wonder why nothing is getting done" and his Energy Bill: "diversify away from hydrocarbons and develop technologies that will enable us to burn coal cleanly, for example" and Suicide bombers: "It's hard to stop suicide bombers, and it's hard to stop these people that, in many cases, are being smuggled into Iraq from outside Iraq. It's hard to stop them. And yet they're able to do incredible damage")

In other words, they figure if they can shake our will and affect public opinion, then politicians will give up on the mission. I'm not giving up on the mission. We're doing the right thing, which is to set the foundation for peace and freedom. And I understand why the al Qaeda network, for example, is to terrified about democracy, because democracy is the opposite of what they believe. Their ideology is one of oppression and hate. Democracy is one that lifts up people and is based upon hope.

I think I said at this press conference here in the East Room, you know, it's like -- following polls is like a dog chasing his tail. I'm not sure how that translates. But my job is to set an agenda and to lead toward that agenda. And we're laying the foundation for peace around the world.
Democracy: it's not about following the people, it's about giving them hope.
posted by wendell at 11:05 AM on June 24, 2005


Oh, and I'm not upset by Steve_at's "2008 is looking pretty good..." comment, for two reasons:

It is the unstated goal of right-wing pundits to discourage Liberals from taking actions that will lead to success. Never take your enemy's advice on how to fight him. (Toward that end, I must encourage Bush and Company to hunker down, stand firm and say "Bring 'em on".)

The kind of smugness and complacency he's expressing has led many an empire to crumble.
posted by wendell at 11:11 AM on June 24, 2005


Now that I've had some more time to think about it, I think what I really like about this silly campaign is that it counteracts the incredibly overblown rhetoric alot of these online (and offline) war boosters are using.

If they said, hey Iraq's got oil, the middle east is a mess, and I think we should go in there and control it since we're the boss and we've got the biggest guns, I'd be fine with that. I wouldn't agree, but I'd be fine with that level of honesty.

Instead we hear about how Islamo-facists are trying to take over the world, and how the most important mission in the history of the world is in Iraq, how the "War on Terrrorism" has its heart in Iraq, the future of Western Civilization is at stake, and how America's strong moral fortitude and lack of relativism will shake the terrorists to their bones, blah blah blah, with all the WWII comparisons et al. It's that rhetoric that deserves stuff like this thrown back in their annoying faces.
posted by chaz at 11:12 AM on June 24, 2005


This FPP represents just about every stereotpye that I've heard about Democrats in the last couple of years. Lame and retarded, indeed.

Jeez, I'm about as left as it comes, and I'm ashamed of that link.
posted by shawnj at 11:13 AM on June 24, 2005


"Apparently, the new line of attack on the insurgents from the White House is that that they know how to manipulate the media via the Washington Post:
'They try to kill and they do kill innocent Iraqi people, women and children because they know that the carnage that they reap will be on TV and they know that it bothers people to see death.' "
[AMERICAblog | June 24, 2005]
posted by ericb at 11:15 AM on June 24, 2005


It's a bullshit attempt to make people you don't agree with look bad, IOW. Just the sort of constructive criticism this country needs in troubled times like these. :P

If this applies to me (for instance), then I already "look bad," because I am bad. It is bad to shove the responsibility for your own choices onto others' shoulders.

What looks worse? Crying when it's called out.
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:18 AM on June 24, 2005


jperkins, I understand that's the ostensible idea behind this, but I doubt OYE's sincerity.

The underlying motivation for OYE seems not to be that that "we" need to win the war -- it's that "they" need to share in the consequences of "their" enthusiasms. The whole tone of the website on which it's presented is one of mocking and derision. There's no serious attempt to engage anyone's interest in joining the military; certainly, there are no links to any military recruiting web sites. It's an exercise in cynicsm, not civic virtue. If you oppose the war in Iraq, this seems to me like an dishonest way to go about it.

So...Is OYE meant as a joke and I'm making the mistake of taking it seriously? Maybe I'm not getting the joke because, with 1600+ dead and even more wounded (not to mention Iraqi casualties), I don't think this is much of a cause for levity.
posted by alumshubby at 11:21 AM on June 24, 2005


"troubled times like these"

BWAHAHAHAHA!

tell, when were the untroubled times?
posted by quonsar at 11:22 AM on June 24, 2005


Not sure...maybe sometime during the Eisenhower Administration?
posted by alumshubby at 11:27 AM on June 24, 2005


I don't see what's so wrong with a "Put up or shut up" line in the sand? Its tiring listening to the warhawks comment on the war's progress when they have nothing on the line. Encourage your children to enlist if you're so sure its the right thing to do.

Cowards send others into danger that they are not willing to face themselves, leaders lead their soldiers into battle. Bush is a coward.

quonsar, the untroubled times were before the internets when people could, you know, find out the truth behind the propoganda coming from the White House. Ignorance was bliss, baby!
posted by fenriq at 11:29 AM on June 24, 2005


I'm solidly in support of this. If you wholeheartedly support this war, are able to go, and don't, you are a gutless selfish coward.
It is not simply being pro-whatever and working directly for a cause. It is a matter of supporting one's values. One expects someone who is pro-life to not have or condone an abortion. It is a matter or principle.
In this case, it is clear, that you Republican cowards in "charting your own course" or "placing your faculties above the sphere of public discussion" are in fact subverting the principles of democracy. The constitution by intent establishes common principles to limit and control the impulses of a party - all parties - but you sissy cowardly miscreants look entirely to party and instead of principle governing party, party governs principle.

You demand this victory be cheap and easy. The leaders of your party told us all how easy it would come, because they too do not desire to make their own sacrifices. They too are valueless monsters who's only true principle is to grab whatever they can for themselves and to hell with anyone else, even if it means the world dies with them.

You have issues with the war? You're unsure? Fine. Your exempt.

With many other issues and in any other place perhaps this "you don't have to be personally involved to have an opinion" shit works fine.

But we are Americans, not mamalukes, we don't fight simply for money. Our troops don't fight just because they're paid to. We fight for principles. When we are wrong as a country it is because those principles are subverted.

You think the Iraq war is right? You pick up a weapon and make the sacrifice in time, effort, and if necessary, blood.

Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must undergo the fatigue of supporting it.

If you're not willing to do that than you should re-fucking-think the underlying reasons for this war and your own reasons for supporting it.

Just as some talent scout from Hollywood isn't going to drive by and see you and make you a star, neither will holding certain opinions ensure your success among those who are the wealthy or elite or the self-reliant individuals.
(and you should question why you want to be one of those as well).

Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving; it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe.

I'm not a democrat or a liberal (before the labels start to fly thick), and I've done more than my share of duty.
I am mildly in favor of the war as a way to secure our energy and thus safegarding our independance on foreign powers and maintaining our self-interests, one of which is the principle of democracy.

But I am not so sure that - given for example our energy policy - our leaders have not simply engaged in this enterprise to monopolize power and profit.
Otherwise I'd re-up tomorrow.
But even then I'd need more than a nice pat on the head to go off to war while some of you jack off to Fox news. Lots of people aren't joining up, and I can't say I blame them. You need more than just an opinion to be part of something.

*posted with multiple thanks to Tom Paine.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:29 AM on June 24, 2005


swerdloff: Suggesting that if you're not willing to die for a cause you don't support it is just stupid. And it's an insult to those who support that cause.

I don't think that's so, and I have a few reasons:

1) Even given the higher-than-expected casualty rate in Iraq, serving in the military is hardly a sure-fire death sentence. Most of the soldiers who served there will come home without serious injuries, and the overwhelming majority of them will come home alive.

2) Even given the military's heavy commitment of forces to Iraq, joining the military isn't a guarantee that one will be sent to Iraq at all.

It's clear that there's a world of difference between a person being willing to enlist to support the war and being willing to die to support the war. Enlisting will result in some risk of death or serious injury. So does driving a car.

Further, war is clearly a life-and-death enterprise. Some number of deaths is an unavoidable consequence of going to war. Someone will have to risk his/her life to make the undertaking possible at all. I think asking a person to put themselves at risk in support of a war is fundamentally different from asking a person to put themselves at risk for their baseball team or a school levy, where personal risk isn't normally an issue. When one campaigns for a school levy, one asks supporters to share the cost; when one campaigns for a risky activity like war, is it so inappropriate to ask supporters to share the risk?

swerdloff: I would suggest something constructive instead of name calling. Like, offering a viable plan for withdrawing the troops that are in there. Or working with the much-vaunted international community to find a solution. Don't like what Bush is doing? Provide an alternative.

A workable exit plan would be great, but changing people's attitudes about war is important too. I don't think this is about name-calling and insults; it's an attempt to get some war-supporters to do a little honest soul-searching. Some war-supporters will just become angrier, but there's always some group that gets angrier no matter what one does.

If this campaign could change the minds of even 10% of those who support the forcible installation of American-style caucus-based democracy around the world, it could have a real impact on the future. Iraq, after all, isn't the only "dangerous rogue state" out there. Bush has years in office yet; there's really no reason to think that he wouldn't like to "improve" other countries in exactly the same way.
posted by Western Infidels at 11:32 AM on June 24, 2005


So, by the logic of the people in this thread, if someone is for the death penalty, they should be willing to execute someone themselves? Isn't that the same kind of binary reasoning that is oft vilified on this site?
posted by shawnj at 11:52 AM on June 24, 2005


No.
posted by fandango_matt at 12:00 PM on June 24, 2005


No, shawnj, that isn't the same thing at all. A person who is for the death penalty should be willing to serve on a jury where the death penalty may be an option, however.
posted by leftcoastbob at 12:02 PM on June 24, 2005


"So, by the logic of the people in this thread, if someone is for the death penalty, they should be willing to execute someone themselves? "

I don't think that is what many people are saying. In fact in the case of many posts here that's clearly an apples and oranges comparison.

The target is more one of infidelity. What one truly believes. In my pro-life example, if you are wholeheartedly pro-life, but your own daughter makes a "mistake" and you help her or support her having an abortion, that would pretty much make you a hypocrite.
This example of privilege - in the old term "private law" means that you are in some sense above what you espouse for others.
This should be an abomination to any citizen of a republic. It threatens the very fabric of society. It precisely defines what oppression is.
The king may have your life if he wishes because his rule is based not on a law common to all men, but on a private law, his privilege.

No man is, or should be above the law. One can therefore support the death penalty if one is willing to allow for oneself or one own's child or other relation to die under such a law.
You don't, in that case, have to pull the trigger yourself.

I'd personally support that concept though. If I wanted someone dead, I'd volunteer to do it. As it is I oppose the death penalty for several reasons, one of course is I'm unwilling to allow someone I care for to die at the hands of the state (particularly if they are innocent).

This is assuming your comment wasn't spurious.
(No offense meant, given my emotional state on this topic I'm having a hard time not being obtuse)
posted by Smedleyman at 12:08 PM on June 24, 2005


So, by the logic of the people in this thread, if someone is for the death penalty, they should be willing to execute someone themselves? Isn't that the same kind of binary reasoning that is oft vilified on this site?

No, if you support the death penalty, and you're on a jury trying someone whose crime warrants a death sentence, you should be willing to support that conviction and sentencing. That's what it means to support the death penalty.

You should also have no qualms about being put to death by the state if you're convicted of a crime and sentenced to death. (which, by the way, is why I'm fundamentally against the death penalty - because human error exists, especially in our court system)

The entire idea is that if you support a war, you must also support sending troops to win that war, otherwise, your support is false. Furthermore, if you aren't willing to be one of those troops yourself, you are by definition a coward. Just like in the civil war, where the rich could pay $300 instead of fighting, they were cowards, and their opinion on the war itself was useless, since they had no stake in it personally.
posted by odinsdream at 12:14 PM on June 24, 2005


Don't like what Bush is doing? Provide an alternative.

Our elected representatives are trying...

Bipartisan effort urges Bush for Iraq withdrawal
posted by ericb at 12:15 PM on June 24, 2005


Look, becoming a Young Republican in not a political decision, it is a career decision.

YRs on college campuses are willing to become socially ostracized from most on campus (to the point they can only hang with each other) so that they can move onto careers in politics, lobbying, the military-industrial complex, and think tanks.

They do not have to believe any of the right wing talking points they espouse. All they need to demonstrate is their skills at employing them.

Enlisting in the armed forces does nothing for the career path, while working for contractors in Baghdad may.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 12:22 PM on June 24, 2005


They do not have to believe any of the right wing talking points they espouse.

In other words, they're willing to lie about their position on very important issues, issues that literally contribute to increasing the risk of death to other Americans, in order to advance their own career.

Well, that makes me feel a whole lot better. Thanks for explaining why it's all okay.
posted by odinsdream at 12:26 PM on June 24, 2005


So, by the logic of people on this thread, if someone is for a cleaner environment, they should engage in action that reduces their impact on the environment?

Oh how absurd! I'm for a cleaner environment but I'm not giving up my gas guzzler.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 12:27 PM on June 24, 2005


Er, also, many of them... do believe what they say, by the way.
posted by odinsdream at 12:27 PM on June 24, 2005


Much like the Vietnam War, this war is souring a generation of the military on the Republican Party. I don't know if it will have the same sweeping cultural impact as the post-Vietnam era, but it certainly is going to erode the Republican Party's domination of the military.
posted by srt19170 at 12:28 PM on June 24, 2005


So, by the logic of the people in this thread, if someone is for the death penalty, they should be willing to execute someone themselves?

Actually, that's not a bad idea. If you're willing for a life to be taken in your name, you should be willing to pull the lever. What, you're too good/gentle/delicate/sensitive? And that brute in the uniform is a lower form of life who can deal with it better? I don't think so. I think it would be an excellent idea for the job of hangman to be distributed by lottery. Support for the death penalty would go down even faster than support for the Vietnam War.
posted by languagehat at 12:29 PM on June 24, 2005


posted by srt19170 Much like the Vietnam War, this war is souring a generation of the military on the Republican Party. I don't know if it will have the same sweeping cultural impact as the post-Vietnam era, but it certainly is going to erode the Republican Party's domination of the military.

Dare to dream.
posted by fandango_matt at 12:38 PM on June 24, 2005


So, by the logic of the people in this thread, if someone is for the death penalty, they should be willing to execute someone themselves?

well, that seems reasonable to me (and likewise, if you eat meat, be up for killing it, etc) but there is a significant difference, which is that war relies on large numbers of ordinary citizens, while other accepted forms of death can be handled by a limited number of specialists. We do not have a shortage of executioners, in other words. If we did, absolutely, the pro-death penalty folks should not be uncomfortable taking their impact seriously.

The problem with this to me is that it's done in a mocking way. Its point is decidedly that these people would never enlist and that, ha ha, we don't have to enlist to avoid hypocrisy, nya-nya nya-nya boo-boo.

But of course, we might support sending money to help fight AIDS in africa, without intending to ever go to africa ourselves. We might support helping people in starving and disease ridden locations without risking our own health, and radically altering our lives, by actually physically going there.

The risk of death in going to Iraq is not overwhelming. There are plenty of other reasons that a person might not be choosing to go other than plain fear of dying - the same sorts of reasons that you or I are not heading off to volunteer in 3rd world medical clinics, even though we support them.

I agree that this is a more intense issue, since it involves a killing and risking death, and it is certainly possible that many war supporters do not take this seriously enough. But it is also possible that anti-war activists don't take seriously enough the situation in pre-war iraq, or the current situation. I think we were poorly prepared and questionably motivated to go in to start with, but now that we're there, I hope we can make things better. I feel like way too many people on the left actually kinda hope things go irrecovably and obviously to shit just so they can say "I told you so"...

This is another example of that. If this project were done with honest intentions of involving supportive people because soldiers were needed, it'd be a good thing. But it's done with the intent of making fun of people and nothing else. That just seems kinda lame.
posted by mdn at 12:40 PM on June 24, 2005


"But it's done with the intent of making fun of people and nothing else. "
Satire has always been a potent catalyst for change and to get people to think.

The point is not to honestly get people to join, but to expose the hypocracy behind espousing certain values for others but not oneself.

This I told you so thing reminds me of the Homer Simpson-ism "First you didn't want me to get it, now you want me to get rid of it, make up your mind."

Things won't go to shit just because people on the left hoped or said they would.
It was shit in the first place and people have been saying it for a while.

I respect where your coming from, compassion and the desire for productive good is never a wrong thing. But we are not truly "there". Our troops are physically there, but they could physically not be there with little or no change in what is 'good' for the Iraqi people.
I think it's a bit condescending that they can't do without us. This is a complex issue, certainly and it goes back a long way.
The issue of being "there" is predicated on our goals.

So far I see no actual goals, beyond the nebulous "stable government" and "war on terror" concepts.
If our goal is energy security than we certainly need to foster the creation of a government there we can ally with.
We could have done that with special ops and the offshore approach we had in place.
If our goal is to maximize profits and monopolize the energy in that area (and creating insecurity for others, such as China) than certainly we need boots on the ground for that since the government in place has to be our puppet.

So....what is it that's happening now?

"the same sorts of reasons that you or I are not heading off to volunteer in 3rd world medical clinics, even though we support them. "
That's simply not true mdn. This is a particiapatory democratic republic.
I am against the draft for that very reason. Certainly one does not HAVE to enlist if one supports the war and is able to go. But that fact doesn't change that one is then a cowardly hypocrite and indeed is not a patriot because one is so clearly only serving oneself.
No one will reap profits from charitable acts such as donating money to help 3rd world medical clinics. It has no bearing on the common wealth of the country. This is a political principle not a personal charitable act.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:15 PM on June 24, 2005


Does anyone read previous posts?
posted by Smedleyman at 1:15 PM on June 24, 2005


But of course, we might support sending money to help fight AIDS in africa, without intending to ever go to africa ourselves. We might support helping people in starving and disease ridden locations without risking our own health, and radically altering our lives, by actually physically going there.

Because fighting AIDS does not require troops on the ground, whereas a war, necessarily and by definition, does require this. It is absolutely necessary for people to march in and fight a war for there to Be a war. So, to say you support the troops, but wouldn't be willing to become a troop yourself, is doubletalk. The troops don't need your money, they need you, personally.

I'm reminded of David Cross speaking about the country singer who wrote the song with the line "And I'd surely stand UP... NEXT to you... and DEFEND her still TODAY...":

"Okay buddy, well, here's your Second Chance..."
posted by odinsdream at 1:21 PM on June 24, 2005


And I'm reminded of General George Patton, who said: "Wars are not won by dying for your country. They are won by making some other bastard die for his country."

Only now the "other bastard" is named Oswaldo or Jamal, and he comes from the parts of town only Michael Moore visits.

Greater love no man has than to allow some other bastard die for him and "his own course through life."
posted by rdone at 3:32 PM on June 24, 2005


If you are so gung ho about the guy who started the war that you'd attend the Young Republican Conventions, then I'd expect that you'd be thrilled - utterly thrilled - to be asked to be in Iraq, on the ground, sweating it out. I mean - of course. It is a righteous and just war, according to El Leader, and as an enthusiastic, military aged Republican, whatever could be the problem with signing up pronto? What a wonderful idea to solve the recruitment problem. I can hardly wait to see the fresh faced recruits doing their thing in Iraq. How proudly they serve. Right? I mean - of course they will. Love Bush, love his war. Naturally.
posted by trii at 4:38 PM on June 24, 2005


Robert Heinlein, in his posthumously published first novel, suggested the following: that, except to defend against invasion, the nation only go to war based on a majority vote, a vote limited to those physically able to fight.

  • Those voting in favor of war be the first drafted, for the duration of the conflict, with instructions on the ballot where to report for induction the following morning
  • Those eligible to vote but not voting to be drafted next, if necessary
  • and finally, if the war required it, those voting against the war would be drafted
Sound workable?
posted by orthogonality at 5:17 PM on June 24, 2005


Those who support this war from the safety of their living rooms are contemptible.

And the dimwits who mistakenly think the "Left" is on the wrong track here better fucking look at the way public opinion polls have tracked over time on the issue. The "Left" continues to convince Americans that they were wrong to support this silly little war.

It's you stay-at-home warriors who are out of touch with America....but then, you have been, all along.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 5:23 PM on June 24, 2005


orthogonality, that really brings it home - it would be a great idea, and would serve to fully emphasize the reality and gravity of voting for, or supporting, such a war.
posted by odinsdream at 5:56 PM on June 24, 2005


orthogonality, Heinlein also advocated only letting veterans have a vote. You DON'T serve (even if it's only makework) you don't vote. At all.

You SURE you want to go down that road? I sure don't. Because I saw somewhere that most soldiers are conservatives. Could be self-selection, but I don't want a system where only veterans have the franchise.

J.
posted by JB71 at 7:18 PM on June 24, 2005


JB71: I don't really understand the point of bringing up a completely different Heinlein proposal in order to criticize the one that orthogonality suggested as a possibility. Can't the voting-on-war idea stand on its own? Or do we have to reject everything Heinlein ever said and thought because of the idea you don't like?
posted by languagehat at 6:06 AM on June 25, 2005


You need to look at the entire scenario in his last book - there was essentially no outside threat to the US any more, because Europe (and by extension, the rest of the world, I don't recall China, Africa or South America being mentioned) was pretty well a depopulated wilderness.

That's about the only way I could see that system working, when there ISN'T any possibility of an organized outside threat. That's not what we're dealing with today, or in any realistic future that I can scope out. I mean, we're already dealing with a culture that would kill us for allowing gays to go unstoned - and the mass invasions which were a hallmark of previous wars don't seem to be in the cards for future conflicts (except maybe China/Taiwan).

JB
posted by JB71 at 7:26 AM on June 25, 2005


...Just like our soldiers are dying in Iraq, campus conservatives are stapling flyers for an Ann Coulter speech to a kiosk. Basically the same thing.--ThinkProgress

And related: I've been hearing a lot that the reason we never made a post-war plan is because we're never leaving at all--the permanent bases seem to bear that out.
posted by amberglow at 11:09 AM on June 25, 2005


It's time to quit playing games. The reality is, the vast majority of Americans don't support the war, including Republicans. So let's drop the bullshit and start talking honestly about it. You don't want to risk dying there, you don't want risk your son or daughter to dying there, so what the hell are we going to do about it?

The war--or veterans: The Bush administration, already accused by veterans groups of seeking inadequate funds for health care next year, acknowledged yesterday that it is short $1 billion for covering current needs at the Department of Veterans Affairs this year.

The disclosure of the shortfall angered Senate Republicans who have been voting down Democratic proposals to boost VA programs...

posted by amberglow at 11:28 AM on June 25, 2005


orthogonality, that really brings it home

Well, it feels dramatic, but is it really so different from the situation we currently have? There has been no draft at all so far. All the soldiers who are serving are technically volunteers. Sure, there are undoubtedly some people who joined the army at a time when they didn't expect to actually get sent somewhere, but it does pretty much go with the territory that they were signing themselves up to be "the first drafted" for any war that happened during that time. Additionally, we already have the "conscientious objector" status available for people who truly do not think the war should be fought. So far - and I'm not saying this will last forever - but so far we should not have people dying for this cause who were not at least at some point supportive of the cause (& even in Heinlein's scenario, people could vote for the war & then change their minds).

One important point / question is why people join in the army in the first place - an argument can be made that it's more due to a lack of options available for low income americans than a true interest or desire to serve. I agree this should be counterbalanced by increases in other scholarship programs and perhaps skilled tradesman internship type things. But if people join the army because they want to be soldiers, then this war is thus far staffed by the willing.
posted by mdn at 1:17 PM on June 25, 2005


Heinlein had some interesting ideas, but he was not a statesman, he was a science fiction writer. While of course he had his own strong political opinions, his political theorizing was confined to the context of whatever given story that he was writing at the time. He did serve in the military and spoke from a position of experience in that respect, but he was writing stories to entertain people.

Please don't look at the ideas that fiction writers fold into their story fabric as serious offerings on human governance. Look what's been done with Ayn Rand's opinions. Human interaction is far more nuanced than a 200- or 300-page novel can properly address, and any ideas expressed in them must be simplified down rather drastically - which makes them applicable and appropriate only to the story arc.

(I am a huge Heinlein fan, BTW. But I can't take his words and opinions as solid political theory, rather I take them as interesting jumping-off points for further ruminations.)

WRT the topic, I don't think it's unreasonable to feel that the most vocal proponents of this war, who believe that it is just and right, should be not only willing to enlist if they are of military age and healthy, but also, since there is clearly a pressing need for new recruits with "fighting enthusiasm," obligated to sign up to help the fight for a cause in which they believe strongly - whether in a direct combat or (as is far more likely) in a support role.

Remember that about 80% or more of our military personnel are in positions of logistical support for the actual combat units; for every combatant (infantry, tanker, pilot, ship gunner, etc.) there are 7-10 more people involved in making sure that combatant receives all his/her "necessities of war," such as meals, water, shelter, medical attention, clothing, boots, ammunition, fuel, etc. etc. Quite simply, someone needs to run the warehouse, schedule the shipments, load the planes and ships, drive the trucks, maintain the turbines, and all the other myriad tasks of supply and maintenance.

As was said above by more than one poster, you're overwhelmingly likely to come back without a scratch - and having performed important duty supporting what you believe is a proper and just war. So it certainly doesn't seem reasonable for ardent supporters who are of the right age, health status and mindset to shy away from such an appropriate means of support.

And if you're intelligent enough to be able to have a political think tank career, as another poster mentioned as being a reason for not enlisting and staying in the College Republicans so you can graduate and move into the political elite... why, since most likely you'll come back without injury, and, since your support is desperately needed and could tip the balance between success and failure in Iraq, have a fair chance of coming back with some heroic glory attached should the mission truly succeed the way you believe it must, well then you can go right back to college (and save your parents some cash with your GI Bill tuition money, how nice) and graduate and get your think tank or party job with all the extra respect and glory that courageously and directly supporting and executing the policy you espouse by lending your brains and brawn - and risking life and limb.

Chevrons, bars, stripes, leaves, birds or stars look mighty good on a political resume.
posted by zoogleplex at 2:05 PM on June 25, 2005


Well, it feels dramatic, but is it really so different from the situation we currently have?

Of course it is! In the current situation, the President decided that we should attack Iraq. Where normally congress is the body to declare war, in this case, it was the president. He directed the country into an invasion and used the troops in a volunteer (defensive, if you ask me) army to make it happen.

Whereas, in the scenario proposed by orthogonality, it would go something like this:

President says he wants to attack Iraq. Instead of asking congress, a vote is automatically started. To be eligible to vote (for the war, not vote in general*), you must be eligible to fight (this would include those already serving). So, the vote occurs, and without 51% of the active troops and eligible civilian support, the war doesn't happen.

In your scenario, you're taking the fact that someone signed up for military service as an automatic vote for any military action. I respect this position, but I disagree with it. If someone's in the military, they're in it for a variety of reasons - we cannot simply assume they're in it for all wars that could be fought at all.

So, yes, I do think it's different than the scenario we have now, because it puts the control where it belongs - in the hands of those who will actually be fighting the war, not in the hands of the president, no matter who that person is, or congress, no matter who makes up that body.

* I would never advocate that general voting rights only be extended to those willing to serve in the military. Our society's purpose is not to wage wars, hence military service is no measure of citizenship. Joining the military should be entirely voluntary at all times.
posted by odinsdream at 2:34 PM on June 25, 2005


odinsdream, an invasion will never actually need 51% of the fighting age population. If the US population is around 300 million, perhaps 100 million would be capable of going to war? So far, about 1 million soldiers have gone to Iraq. So, if 1% of those voting were to vote yes, then we'd have enough people to do exactly what we've done so far. even if only a half or a tenth as many people were eligible than I suggested above, that would only mean 2%, or 10%, would have to vote in favor in order to pull it off. So then requiring a majority seems not to be about making sure those going to war are actually willing to put themselves at risk for the cause, but rather to give some portion of the population the right to make a decision which does in some way matter to all citizens, even those incapable of serving.

If the purpose is merely to assure the former, then I maintain that the current situation is already reasonably fair about that, as I said above. CO status is available and all soldiers are voluntary members of the army.

I do agree that if there is a shortage of voluntary servicemen, the vocal supporters of the war should be pressured to join the army, though. I just think it should be done in a less mocking tone, i.e., with the actual intent of recruiting people. That seems like it would naturally be the next stage, before a draft, if the regular reserves were depleted.

Because fighting AIDS does not require troops on the ground, whereas a war, necessarily and by definition, does require this.

Missed this earlier - what do you mean? fighting AIDS absolutely does require "troops on the ground" - with syringes rather than guns, but all foreign aid stuff is implemented by actual human bodies. There may not be a shortage of volunteers, but it certainly can't be done without people making big changes and taking on challenges that many of us just "don't have time" to get around to...
posted by mdn at 3:52 PM on June 25, 2005


With stop-loss, there's no such thing as volunteers anymore.
The contracts they signed were broken by our government.

The Pentagon says more than 5,500 servicemen have deserted since the war started in Iraq. ... (and that was back in Dec.04--i'm sure the numbers are much higher now)
posted by amberglow at 4:30 PM on June 25, 2005


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