By lex, on January 4th, 2011
The WaPo’s Richard Cohen – who spent a couple of months in the army as a reservist, and is therefore counted among his peers as a military expert – is apparently longing for the good old days, when the Vietnam era draft caused patriotic liberal elites to burn their draft cards and the country to lose a war:
The all-volunteer military has enabled America to fight two wars while many of its citizens do not know of a single fatality or even of anyone who has fought overseas. This is a military conscripted by culture and class – induced, not coerced, indoctrinated in all the proper cliches about serving one’s country, honored and romanticized by those of us who would not, for a moment, think of doing the same. You get the picture.
Talking about the picture, what exactly is wrong with it? A couple of things. First, this distant Army enables us to fight wars about which the general public is largely indifferent. Had there been a draft, the war in Iraq might never have been fought – or would have produced the civil protests of the Vietnam War era. The Iraq debacle was made possible by a professional military and by going into debt. George W. Bush didn’t need your body or, in the short run, your money. Southerners would fight, and foreigners would buy the bonds. For understandable reasons, no great songs have come out of the war in Iraq.
I’m am sure that last sentence means something to Mr. Cohen. I just haven’t got the foggiest notion what it might be.
What is understandable is that, safely ensconced in his beltway cocoon, taking the taxi to all of the better cocktail parties in Georgetown, Mr. Cohen may not personally meet many people who have skin in the game. Not soldiers, sailors, airmen or Marines. Not their families. Whose “proper cliches” he condescends to as they sacrifice their youth, and sometimes their lives, in the service of something larger than themselves.
He should get out more.