Saturday, April 2, 2005

Ruth Conniff: Chickenhawk Hubris

Ruth Conniff is Political Editor of The Progressive. Here's an excerpt from the most recent post on her blog:
Chickenhawk Hubris

How long can the Bush Administration keep squeezing people in the military before they rebel?

Today's New York Times had a front-page story about foreclosures on homes of active-duty personnel. These soldiers are losing their possessions, their cars, their houses, even as they are risking their lives doing extended tours of duty in Iraq.

The foreclosers are illegal, but the banks and other creditors don't all know it. Many soldiers have lost everything in spite of a law designed to protect them.

It's another reminder of the hollow patriotism of pro-war politicians, just like the cuts for veterans' health care benefits in the President's budget.

Sunday's New York Times had a front-page story on the misery of Army recruiters who are suffering intense pressure to meet impossible goals. Guys like Sgt. Julius Baskerville are also collapsing under the weight of their grief, after persuading healthy young men from their neighborhoods to go to their early deaths in Iraq.

For what?
Well, let's see now. There's oil, there's empire, there's the thrill of being [seen as] a commander-in-chief, there are tremendous political advantages accruing to a "war president", and there's also a huge profit to be made in the creation and use of arms and ammunition... But I think her question was rhetorical. Silly me!

Later she writes:
The military was not such a bad deal for a lot of young people in the 1980s and 1990s. But now it's a different story. Thanks to the incredible hubris of this Administration, run by chickenhawks who dodged service in Vietnam, but don't hesitate to waste the lives of a generation of kids less fortunate than themselves.

Military recruting is down 56 percent across the nation, and even the National Guard is a hard sell these days. Hence all the talk about the prospect of a new draft.
Talk about the prospect of a new draft? You have got to be kidding, don't you? I distinctly remember hearing president Bush during the debates saying there would not be a draft.

You don't suppose he could have been kidding, do you?

While you're thinking about that very tough question, you can read the rest of Ruth Conniff's post here.

Thanks to BuzzFlash for another good link.