Saturday, July 02, 2005

THIS IS ASTOUNDING. This is beyond outrageous. Reuters reports that some Senate Republicans are blaming the news media, Democrats, and war critics in general for the Army's recruiting problems.

Families are discouraging young men and women from enlisting "because of all the negative media that's out there," Sen. James Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican, said at a U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

All the negative media? What is the press supposed to do, write that Iraq and Afghanistan are Never-Never-Land, and life there is one big tea party? Is it negative media that's put almost 1,800 American men and women in their graves? Should the media pretend that thousands of young people barely out of their teens have not lost limbs, hands, feet, the ability to walk, eat or relieve themselves on their own, in this wonderful adventure in the land of Aladdin and the Magic Lamp? I'd like to ask Sen. Inhofe: When returning soldiers wake up every night screaming from nightmares, or live every day tormented by the memories of what they have seen, and what some have done; whose conscience should be hurting: the reporters who have written about it, or the antiwar activists who have spoken out about it? Or should it be men like Sen. Inhofe, who wants the news media to help the Army lure more young men into this hell from which there is no real return, who should be tossing and turning at night, unable to sleep?

And how dare Inhofe imply that if parents don't want their child to DIE or be permanently maimed in body and mind, they are brainwashed by the media? He's disgusting! Sen. Inhofe needs to hear this: The young people of this country do not belong to the government. They belong to themselves and to their families, and their loved ones have every right to encourage them to find ways of serving that do not require them to kill and be killed.

Perhaps, too, Sen. Inhofe has forgotten that we have an all-volunteer Army. In my dictionary, it's not volunteering if you're pressured and pushed into doing something and made to feel that you are an ungrateful wretch or a cowardly dog if you decline.

Inhofe also said that other senators' criticism of the war contributed to the propaganda of U.S. enemies. He did not name the senators.

Oh, okay, I get it. The Senate's job is to let the president do anything he wants in the world. Heaven forbid that any senator should get the foolish notion that "checks and balances" implies a responsibility to question or rebuke the Executive Branch of government if a policy is deemed to be harmful or its justification unclear or deceptive.

The Reuters piece goes on:

Army Chief of Staff Peter Schoomaker urged members of Congress to use "your considerable influence to explain to the American people and to those that are influencers out there how important it is for our young people to serve this nation at a time like this."

Excuse me, but WHY should members of Congress "explain" this if they are not in agreement with the assumptions in Schoomaker's statement? And even when they are in agreement, just how did Schoomaker come up with the bizarre idea that part of Congress's job is to tell any American what she or he should or should not do with their lives?

And there is this:

"With the deluge of negative news that we get daily, it's just amazing to me that anybody would want to sign up," said Sen. Pat Roberts, a Kansas Republican.

Dear Sen. Roberts: War IS negative, by definition. War is hell. Remember? William T. Sherman said that.

Here are some other statements about war made by well-known public figures, of the type that Sen. Pat Roberts would be likely to respect:

The world has achieved brilliance without wisdom, power without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war that we know about peace, more about killing that we know about living. -- Omar Bradley

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron. -- Dwight D. Eisenhower, speech, American Society of Newspaper Editors, 16 April 1953

War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today. -- John F. Kennedy

If we let people see that kind of thing, there would never again be any war. -- Pentagon official explaining why the U.S. military censored graphic footage from the Gulf War

I couldn't help but say to [Mr. Gorbachev], just think how easy his task and mine might be in these meetings that we held if suddenly there was a threat to this world from another planet. [We'd] find out once and for all that we really are all human beings here on this earth together. -- Ronald Reagan, 1985

All wars are follies, very expensive and very mischievous ones. In my opinion, there never was a good war or a bad peace. When will mankind be convinced and agree to settle their difficulties by arbitration? -- Benjamin Franklin

War is fear cloaked in courage. -- William Westmoreland

The military don't start wars. Politicians start wars. -- William Westmoreland

Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think hard before starting a war. -- Otto Von Bismark

The pioneers of a warless world are the [youth] who refuse military service. -- Albert Einstein

I recoil with horror at the ferociousness of man. Will nations never devise a more rational umpire of differences than force? Are there no means of coercing injustice more gratifying to our nature than a waste of the blood of thousands and of the labor of millions of our fellow creatures? -- Thomas Jefferson

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