Dark Bilious Vapors

But how could I deny that I possess these hands and this body, and withal escape being classed with persons in a state of insanity, whose brains are so disordered and clouded by dark bilious vapors....
--Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy: Meditation I

Home » Archives » June 2005 » Calling all War Mongers...Uncle Sam Wants YOU...

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06/30/2005: Calling all War Mongers...Uncle Sam Wants YOU...

Had to find the link to this very good piece by Mark Shields (Creators Syndicate): DEFINITION OF SILENCE.

"What is the definition of silence? That would be Vice President Dick Cheney, House Majority Leader Tom Delay, R-Texas, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich getting together to swap war stories, or simply to reminisce about their military service.

Each of these distinguished political leaders -- all three enthusiastic backers of the U.S. war in Vietnam during their youth and forceful advocates of the U.S. war against Iraq in their later years -- had been, as young men, eligible for the nation's military draft, and yet none of them spent a day in uniform.

What brings this up is the news that the U.S. Army has, for four months in a row, failed to reach its recruiting goals. Recruitment for the Army Reserves and the National Guard, which between them constitute nearly half of U.S. troops now deployed in Iraq, are down, respectively, 21 percent and 24 percent.

Even the Marines, who had met their recruitment goals every month for 11 years, have failed to meet recent monthly enlistment quotas. Virtually all of the more than 1,700 Americans killed in Iraq belonged to one of these four service groups.

All of this brings to mind the heroic example of the late Paul H. Douglas, who served three memorable terms in the U.S. Senate as a Democrat from Illinois. Right after Pearl Harbor, Douglas, a Quaker who was already a professor at the University of Chicago and an elected Chicago alderman, enlisted as a private in the Marine Corps. He went through boot camp at Parris Island and fought in combat in Pacific landings at Peleliu and Okinawa. He was wounded so severely that he lost permanently the use of his right arm. He won the Bronze Star. Here is the kicker: When Paul Douglas enlisted in the Marines, he was 50 years old.

Now is the time for President George W. Bush to create by executive order the Paul Douglas Brigade, which would actively seek and welcome the enlistment into today's short-handed military the middle-age members of Congress, card-carrying journalists and captains of commerce who missed the chance to serve in their own youth -- because of their commitments to career or comfort -- and could now help prosecute the war they endorsed.

That single act could simultaneously cure the shortage of military manpower and deplete the surplus of civilian hypocrisy. Not a bad deal.

Karen on 06.30.05 @ 06:42 AM CST

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