7.28.2005

Knapp on the state of empire

Tom Knapp has written something that you ought to read:
Since going back to an all-volunteer force after Vietnam, the military has depended on incentives to get young men and women to enlist. One of those incentives -- unstated but definitely at play -- is that while the kid is building a college fund and learning a skill, there's a limit to the amount of tear-assing around the world on bullshit missions that's acceptable. Yes, every kid who signs on the dotted line knows, or should know, that there's a possibility of war in his or her future. But there's also been a basic trust that America's leaders would only take the country to war under certain conditions (the Soviets rolling their tanks into western Europe circa 1985; "peacekeeping" duty in Bosnia circa 1995). Catastrophic wars, yes. Short-term deployments for realpolitik, fine. Optional forever wars versus endless insurgencies in sandpits which represent no threat to the United States -- not. The GI Bill can buy a high level of dedication, but raw credulity sports a higher price tag.


Knapp's got street cred as a soldier in the first Gulf War and he's not just some anti-war nut (a nut, sure, but a complex and subtle one).

Yours truly,
Mr. X

...keep it real...

3 comments:

Jim said...

As a fellow Gulf War I vet, I have been telling people this for the last couple years. Every time I hear the "They knew what they signed up for" argument, I want to choke someone.

You sign your life and rights away in the expectation that your life will not be thrown away on a whim or for political gain. You expect to be used to defend your country, not to be sent overseas to die fighting for the liberty of people that don't want it enough to rise up themselves.

Jim said...

"Freedom is not a gift to be given, but a prize to be won" -Jim Slattery 2002

Mr. X said...

This is a pretty good follow-up to the "They knew what they signed up for" argument.

Yours truly,
Mr. X

...Knapp's a good egg...